REAL SALT LAKE’S PERFECT START TO 2012 ENDS WITH 0-1 LOSS TO CHIVAS USA
Chivas USA FW Casey Townsend’s 72nd Minute Tally Stands Tall, Sending RSL to Defeat in Front of Sold Out Crowd of 20,415 in Sandy
SANDY, Utah (Saturday, March 24, 2012) – Real Salt Lake saw its perfect start to the 2012 MLS campaign come to a crashing halt Saturday night, as previously winless Chivas USA used a second half tally from FW Casey Townsend to send the home side to a 0-1 defeat in front of a sold out crowd of 20,415 at Rio Tinto Stadium. Despite holding a 61%-39% advantage in possession and 13-6 margin in shots, Real Salt Lake (2-1-0, 6 pts.) could not manage to get anything past Chivas USA (1-2-0, 3 pts.) and their goalkeeper Dan Kennedy, who made three big saves to keep the high-octane RSL attack off the board.
The game saw controversy early on, as an apparent goal by RSL defender Chris Schuler in the 11th minute was pulled off the board after a quick restart by the Utah side was nullified by referee Mark Kadlecik. A few minutes later, RSL goalkeeper Nick Rimando stepped up to make back-to-back saves, stopping chances deep inside the penalty area by both MF Peter Vagenas and former RSL’er DF Rauwshan McKenzie. FW Fabián Espíndola’s right-footed shot from a near angle in the 22nd minute marked RSL’s best chance of the opening half, but Kennedy was on the spot to protect his left post and keep the match scoreless.
Real Salt Lake’s halftime insertion of MF Javier Morales and FW Álvaro Saborío would cause more work for the Chivas USA defense in the second half, but it was Townsend that would make the difference in the 72nd minute. The rookie striker did well to rise over Schuler and reach MF Nick LaBrocca’s cross with his head at the same time Rimando tried to punch it clear before poking the subsequent loose ball home at the top of the six, giving the visitors their first goal of the campaign and a 1-0 lead.
Saborío had a golden opportunity to equalize five minutes later off of a Morales free kick, but, after losing his mark, the Costa Rican international sent his header from six yards just wide left. After a handful more dead ball opportunities went fruitless for RSL down the stretch, it was Espíndola nearly getting the equalizer in stoppage time, but his far-post effort from 15 yards would be pushed aside by Kennedy to preserve the shock result for Chivas USA.
Real Salt Lake Match Notes
- The loss for Real Salt Lake was just its eighth defeat across all competitions at home since the beginning of 2008 (49-8-17) and just the fifth in regular season play at Rio Tinto Stadium (32-5-14).
- The 20,415 in attendance at Rio Tinto Stadium marked the 4th largest audience to attend an RSL contest at its Sandy home.
- After using the same XI in back-to-back games for only the second time in 65 games during RSL’s opening two games, Head Coach Jason Kreis trotted out the same XI for a third consecutive match this evening.
- The 45 minute runs by MF Javier Morales (R quadriceps strain) and FW Alvaro Saborio (R knee surgery in offseason) marked the pair’s longest stints yet for the first team in 2012 while working themselves back from injuries that sidelined them for most of the preseason. Saborio also went the full 90 minutes in Tuesday’s MLS Reserve League contest against Sporting KC, a game Morales had an excused absence for after the birth of his second son took place earlier that morning.
- Another player returning from injury is DF Nat Borchers, who was listed on the 18-man gameday roster for the first time this season. The veteran center back also featured prominently in the midweek Reserve League game, playing 67 minutes against the Sporting KC Reserves on Tuesday.
- After making his debut last Saturday against New York with a six-minute cameo, MF Jonny Steele would see his minutes increase with tonight’s 19-minute appearance in place of MF Luis Gil.
- While tonight’s affair was the second game for RSL in a stretch of four-out-of-five at home, next Saturday, March 31, will mark the Utah side’s lone road contest in said run at the Portland Timbers (1-1-1, 4 pts.). Kickoff from the intimidating confines of JELD-WEN Field in Portland is set for 8:00 p.m. MT and can be seen live on ABC4, whose coverage will also include a 30-minute post-game show starting at 10:00 p.m.
REAL SALT LAKE 0 : 1 CHIVAS USA
SATURDAY, MARCH 24, 2012
RIO TINTO STADIUM – SANDY, UT
Goals by Period 1 2 F
Real Salt Lake 0 0 0
Chivas USA 0 1 1
CHV – Casey Townsend (unassisted) 72
RSL – Chris Schuler (caution) 12
CHV – Oswaldo Minda (caution) 46
CHV – Peter Vagenas (caution) 55
CHV – Casey Townsend (caution) 86
CHV – Dan Kennedy (caution) 93+
Real Salt Lake (4-1-3-2) -- Nick Rimando; Tony Beltran, Jamison Olave, Chris Schuler, Chris Wingert; Kyle Beckerman (c); Ned Grabavoy, Luis Gil (Jonny Steele 71), Sebastian Velasquez (Javier Morales 45); Paulo Junior (Álvaro Saborío 45), Fabián Espíndola
Substitutes Not Used: Kyle Reynish (GK), Yordany Alvarez, Emiliano Bonfigli, Nat Borchers
Chivas USA (4-2-3-1) – Dan Kennedy; James Riley, Rauwshan McKenzie, Hearth Pearce, Ante Jazic; Oswaldo Minda, Peter Vagenas (Ben Zemanski 67); Ryan Smith (Scott Gordon 74), Nick LaBrocca (c), Laurent Courtois (Cesar Romero 81); Casey Townsend
Substitutes Not Used: Tim Melia (GK), Miller Bolanos, Alejandro Moreno, John Valencia
Referee: Mark Kadlecik
Referee's Assistants: Anthony Vasoli, James Conlee
4th Official: Michael Kennedy
Attendance: 20,415 (sellout)
Time of Game: 2:00
Weather: Partly cloudy and 70 degrees