SANDY, Utah – The Real Salt Lake Reserves (5-3-3, 18 points) played fellow MLS side Portland Timbers Saturday morning, earning a 1-0 victory courtesy of a Devon Sandoval goal late in the first half in MLS Reserve League action at America First Field. The University of New Mexico rookie has scored five goals in seven starts in MLS and Open Cup play in 2013 for RSL, while today’s reserve goal was his third in eight reserve games.
After several chances by the home side were turned away in spectacular fashion by veteran MLS ‘keeper Milos Kocic for the Timbers, Sandoval found the back of the net in the 38th minute, set up by teammate Sebastian Velasquez. Following steady possession play from Cole Grossman, Khari Stephenson and Yordany Alvarez in the middle of the park, Velasquez received the ball on the left wing and dribbled into the penalty box, taking Portland’s Sal Zizzo to the line before a cut-back pass near post found Sandoval, who tapped it home past Kocic for the game’s only goal.
Kocic was certainly the most active player for either side in the first stanza, making seven saves and keeping RSL at bay on seven other corner kick opportunities. A free kick from Alvarez and a long-range blast at a sharp angle from right back Aaron Maund were both tipped over the bar by a game Kocic, who also exhibited his spry skill set on distance bombs from Stephenson and came off his line to deny Sandoval on an early breakaway.
Saturday’s reserve match marked the return of DF Chris Schuler to game action, as the center back who played the full 990 minutes in the club’s first 11 games of 2013 culminated a month’s worth of training with a 70-minute performance after being hobbled by a stress fracture response in his foot for most of May, June and July.
RSL-Arizona Academy products Brooks Lennon, Fito Ovalle and Jose Hernandez each saw time in the final 20 minutes for RSL, while a fourth RSL-AZ man – Nicky Jackson – entered for the final few minutes. Recent RSL homegrown signing Benji Lopez came on for the final 45’ in place of Robbie Findley, who looked dangerous from a playmaking standpoint as a deep-lying forward in the first half.
The Claret-and-Cobalt will return to MLS regular season action on Friday, Sept. 13 in a nationally-televised battle at Century Link Field in Seattle, as NBC Sports Network showcases RSL’s Supporters Shield-leading style against the surging Sounders. USMNT Captain Clint Dempsey will join Seattle teammates Eddie Johnson and Brad Evans in squaring off against RSL’s Kyle Beckerman and Nick Rimando directly from the U.S. v Mexico World Cup Qualifier in Columbus earlier in the week.
RSL next hosts a game at Rio Tinto Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 21, when it welcomes Western Conference rival San Jose Earthquakes at 7:00 p.m. MT at Rio Tinto Stadium. A limited number of tickets are still available to Saturday’s match and can be purchased at the Rio Tinto Stadium box office, online at www.RealSaltLake.com/Tickets or over the phone at 801-727-2700.
The Real Salt Lake Reserves play again next Sunday, Sept. 8 at Jeld-Wen Field in Portland against the Timbers reserves at 7:00 p.m. MT.
REAL SALT LAKE RESERVES 1-0 PORTLAND TIMBERS
SATURDAY, AUGUST 31, 2013
AMERICA FIRST FIELD
Goals by Period 1 2 F
Real Salt Lake 1 0 1
Portland Timbers 0 0 0
RSL – Devon Sandoval (Sebastian Velasquez) – 38’
Real Salt Lake Reserves (4-1-2-1-2) – Lalo Fernandez; Aaron Maund, Chris Schuler (Fito Ovalle, 69’*), Brandon McDonald, Ricardo Gardner (Abdoulie Mansally, 60’*); Yordany Alvarez; Cole Grossman, Khari Stephenson (Jose Hernandez, 80’*); Sebastian Velasquez (Brooks Lennon, 57’*); Devon Sandoval (Nicky Jackson, 89’*), Robbie Findley (Benji Lopez, 46’)
*Real Salt Lake-Arizona Academy player
Portland Timbers Reserves (4-3-3) – Milos Kocic (Jake Gleeson, 46’); Sal Zizzo (Alvas Powell, 46’), Pa Modou Kah, Futty Danso (David Horst, 71’), Steven Evans; Jacob Kempf*, Foster Langsdorf*, Bright Dike (Alex Segovia*, 78’), Sebastian Rincon, Anthony Machionne*
*Portland Timbers Academy player