TUCSON – Real Salt Lake picked up a point in its FC Tucson Desert Diamond Cup opener on Wednesday night, turning in a solid defensive performance to draw New England Revolution 0-0 at North Stadium at Kino Sports Complex.
RSL currently sits in a four-way tie for second in the Desert Diamond Cup standings with one point. Chicago Fire lead the DDC after Wednesday’s opening matches with three points, RSL, New England, Chivas USA and FC Tucson are all tied on one point, while Colorado Rapids sit in sixth with no points. RSL will take on Colorado in its second DDC group stage game on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. MT. Saturday’s match will be streamed live on RealSaltLake.com and MLSsoccer.com.
New England had the first chance of Wednesday’s affair in the fifth minute. Rookie MF Steve Neumann collected a bouncing ball behind the RSL backline for a 1-v-1 with Claret-and-Cobalt GK Jeff Attinella, but couldn’t keep his shot on frame, hitting it high from just inside the penalty spot.
RSL hit back with a chance of its own in the 20th minute. MF Javier Morales rolled a corner kick from the right side to DF Tony Beltran at the top of the box, with Beltran curling a first-time right-footer toward the left post that New England GK Brad Knighton tipped over the bar.
The sides battled it out in the midfield for the remainder of the half, with neither club able to register much in the way of chances prior to the break.
New England switched nine of 11 players at halftime, with the Revs’ new group registering the first chance of the second half in the 57th minute. FW Marvin Ogunjimi collected a long ball just outside the box on the right side, turned and fired a half-volley that Attinella held with a dive at the near post.
Real Salt Lake made wholesale changes of its own a couple of minutes after New England’s chance, with Head Coach Jeff Cassar changing all 11 of his players in the 60th minute. RSL’s new lineup notched its first opportunity in the 71st minute. FW Joao Plata curled a free kick in from the right flank, finding strike partner FW Alvaro Saborio in the center of the box. The Costa Rican international directed his header on frame, but couldn’t beat Knighton, who held the 10-yard effort at the near post.
The Revolution had a good look in the 72nd. Unnamed trialist “Player X” had the look for the Revs, playing a neat give-and-go down the left side before half-volleying just wide of the left post from 18 yards out.
RSL had its best chance of the match in the 76th minute. Plata started the play, slaloming through several New England defenders on the right side before slipping a ball to MF John Stertzer in the area. Stertzer collected and immediately turned to goal, chipping a six-yard shot toward the far post that was smothered by the onrushing Knighton.
Claret-and-Cobalt GK Lalo Fernandez preserved RSL’s point with a big save in the 90th minute. New England MF Donnie Smith got on the end of a dead ball at the top-left corner of the six, powering a free header toward the near post. The ball looked ticketed for the back of the net, but Fernandez came up big, reacting quickly to paw Smith’s header away and keep the clean sheet.
Real Salt Lake will resume Desert Diamond Cup action on Saturday, when it will take on Rocky Mountain Cup rival Colorado Rapids at 3:30 p.m. MT at North Stadium at Kino Sports Complex. Saturday’s match will be streamed live on RealSaltLake.com and MLSsoccer.com.
REAL SALT LAKE 0-0 NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION
WEDNESDAY, FEB. 19, 2014
NORTH STADIUM – KINO SPORTS COMPLEX
Goals by Period 1 2 F
Real Salt Lake 0 0 0
New England Revolution 0 0 0
Real Salt Lake (4-1-2-1-2): Jeff Attinella (Lalo Fernandez, 60’); Tony Beltran (Ryan Neil, 30’; Rich Balchan, 60’), Nat Borchers (Chris Schuler, 60’), Aaron Maund (Carlos Salcedo, 60’), Abdoulie Mansally (Chris Wingert, 60’); Cole Grossman (Joey Dillon, 60’), Sebastian Velasquez (Ned Grabavoy, 60’), Luke Mulholland (John Stertzer, 60’); Javier Morales (C) (Jordan Allen, 60’); Olmes Garcia (Joao Plata, 60’), Devon Sandoval (Alvaro Saborio, 60’)
Substitutes not used: Nick Rimando (GK), Kyle Beckerman, Benji Lopez, Kwame Watson-Siriboe, Justen Glad*
*RSL-AZ Academy Player
New England Revolution (4-4-2): Brad Knighton; Kevin Alston (Donnie Smith, 46’), A.J. Soares (C) (Jose Goncalves, 46’), Stephen McCarthy (Darrius Barnes, 46’), O’Brian Woodbine (Jossimar Sanchez, 46’); Andy Dorman (Zach Herivaux, 30’; Scott Caldwell, 46’), Dimitry Imbongo, Steve Neumann (Alec Sundly, 46’), Lee Nguyen (Player X, 46’); Pierre Omanga (Patrick Mullins, 46’), Jerry Bengtson (Marvin Ogunjimi, 46’)
Substitutes Not Used: Paolo DelPiccolo, Luis Soffner
Referee: Baldomero Toledo
Referee's Assistants: Frank Anderson, Jonathan Johnson
4th Official: Juan Guzman