RSL Cup blog taking a long much needed break

I've been a fan of Real Salt Lake since it joined MLS and took to the field in 2005, and I've been a fan of MLS since it began in 1996.

However, over the past couple of years, and especially the last several months, I've began to see the ugly underbelly of this sport. Most likely it has always been there and I was just too naïve to see it, but I cannot not see it anymore.

I'm taking a much needed break from the sport of soccer. I may or may not be back. I may or may not update this blog, I don't know. It would be a shame since I've had it up and running for almost 10 years, but the fun I once had just isn't there any more.

Hopefully you fare better.

Friday, December 24, 2010

RSL's 2007 US Open Cup

Real prevails in OT over Kansas City

(by James Edwards 4-19-07)

It took an extra half hour, but Real Salt Lake bagged its first win of the season — even though it tried blowing it again.

After surrendering an 88th minute equalizer to Kansas City in Wednesday's U.S. Open Cup qualification match, RSL dug deep and prevailed 2-1 in overtime thanks to an electrifying goal by Andy Williams.

It doesn't concern RSL's players and coaches one bit that the win won't count in the league standings.

"It's a confidence booster. You take the wins any way you can," said Real coach John Ellinger. "It's a habit, just like we've found in the past. Losing's a habit; winning's a habit. It's good to find a way to win against a good team."

With the victory, RSL advances to the next round of Open Cup qualification, which means a visit the Colorado Rapids on May 23.

Williams, who entered the game as a 68th-minute substitute, made it all possible.

In the 109th minute, 11 minutes before the single-elimination game would've been decided by shootout, Williams and Cunningham hooked up on a beautiful give-and-go that Williams ultimately finished off with a 15-yard blast.

"Andy and I have this thing," Cunningham said. "It's like a playground, Jamaican-style football. I know where he's going to go, and I know before he gets the ball ... what he's thinking and vice versa."

Williams is no stranger to overtime heroics in a Real uniform. In last year's third-round Open Cup match with Virginia Beach, Williams also scored an overtime goal as Real prevailed, 2-1.

"Andy did exactly what we expected he would do," said Ellinger. "We needed him to hold the ball a little more and he was doing that, and he created some opportunities for us to get additional chances."

In a game at Rice-Eccles Stadium with an announced attendance of 8,147, Cunningham opened the scoring in the 12th minute by burying a penalty kick that was awarded when Wizards' keeper Kevin Hartman clipped Freddy Adu in the box.

By all accounts, Kansas City should've equalized 13 minutes later, but Daniel Torres snuffed it out with one of the best individual defensive moments in franchise history. When Kansas City striker Eddie Johnson touched the ball around Real keeper Chris Seitz just inside the penalty area, it seemed inevitable that he would bury the shot in the vacated net.

Instead, Torres came charging in and knocked Johnson off the ball before he could collect himself and get a shot off.

"That defensive play may have been the play of the year so far, just the fact he had the wherewithal to chase back and just cut him off and win the ball without fouling him," said Ellinger.

Down 1-0 at the half, Kansas City upped its pressure on the ball, which paid off in various ways, most notably a goal by Sasha Victorine in the 88th minute to tie the game at 1-1. Just as impressive, however, was outshooting its opponent 10-1 as RSL struggled to maintain possession after Eddie Pope and Mehdi Ballouchy were replaced in the second half to keep them fresh for this Saturday's league game at Chivas USA.

Two minutes into regulation stoppage time, Kansas City nearly won it when Victorine forced Seitz to make a diving save to his left on a corner kick.

Even though RSL ultimately prevailed in overtime, the fact it allowed another late goal is a bit of a concern. The players, however, believe rallying for an overtime win seemingly cancels out that disappointment.

"It was a workmanlike performance, but that's what we need to create our luck; that's how you get it by working hard," said Real midfielder Kenny Cutler.


Open Cup: Colorado edges Real

(by James Edwards 5-24-07)

In the big picture, Jason Kreis admits that Wednesday's 2-1 loss to the Colorado Rapids isn't all that devastating.

Sure Real Salt Lake would've preferred to walk away from Dick's Sporting Goods Park victorious, but the bottom line is it was only a U.S. Open Cup qualifying match, and history has proven that Open Cup success only clutters a team's schedule down the road.

"Open Cup's an interesting beast because a lot of times it makes your schedule even tougher, and the end of the day, when you look at it quite realistically, sometimes it's better to get out in this round than the last round," said RSL's head coach.

With that said, considering everything Real has endured this year, it would probably take a win over a youth team if it boosted team moral and confidence. Real Salt Lake is winless in seven league matches thus far, and Wednesday's Open Cup loss to rival Colorado only adds to the misery.

"I'm honesty very sick of losing," said defender Daniel Torres. "I know my whole team is sick of losing."

Considering the way the match unfolded, Wednesday's outcome was just as disheartening as Sunday's loss at Dallas in which it surrendered an 82nd minute goal to fall 2-1. In the third minute of second-half stoppage time, and less than 60 seconds before the game would've needed overtime to decide a winner, Real coughed up possession far too easily in the midfield, and Colorado's Jacob Peterson capitalized by banging a fantastic goal in off the far post.

"We've done so much hard work to get to that point and then we lose a simple ball in possession, a quick counter attack the game's over," said Kreis.

Fresh off Sunday's game in Dallas, and with another league match on tap in Chicago this Sunday, Kreis used a mix or regulars and reserves to fill his starting 11. Under ideal conditions, he would've rested key starters like Colorado did, but his lack of depth right now just didn't make that feasible.

In the first phase of Open Cup qualifying, RSL beat Kansas City 2-1 on an overtime goal by Andy Williams at Rice Eccles Stadium. With a win Wednesday RSL would've become the eighth and final MLS team to officially qualify for the 40-team Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, but instead Colorado gets the nod.

The Rapids opened the scoring just three minutes into the second half as Peterson pounced on weak punched clearance attempt by Chris Seitz and buried his first of two goals. Seitz, who started Real's other Open Cup win, wasn't able to get much on his clearance attempt thanks to an aggressive challenge by Colorado striker Conor Casey.

It took RSL just over 15 minutes to equalize on a great individual effort by Chris Klein who curled a right-footed shot from the top of the box just inside the far post. Klein originally tracked the ball down near the left corner and cut it back toward the box where Mehdi Ballouchy made a simple touch on the ball to free up a little more space for Klein's shot.

Over the course of the second half, RSL replaced starters Freddy Adu, Eddie Pope, Klein and Chris Brown. Kreis hopes it helps with their fitness this Sunday at Chicago, but Torres said it shouldn't be that big a deal.

"It doesn't matter if we have to play every other day, we're supposed to be fit and ready, that's what we do, we're soccer players," he said.

A Chicago Fire 3rd

(I'm not sure of the year on this 3rd jersey, but I like it.)

Crystal Palace Baltimore to Sit Out 2011 Season

( 12-4-10)

Crystal Palace Baltimore announced today that they will not be fielding a team in the North American Soccer League (NASL) during the 2011 season in order to restructure with an intended re-launch for the 2012 NASL season. The re-launch will include a complete re-branding of the club to coincide with opening a soccer facility in downtown Baltimore.

In addition, the club announced that it is ending its four year relationship with Crystal Palace FC of England’s Championship Division. Crystal Palace Baltimore was the first trans-Atlantic partnership of its kind in North America but the relationship between the clubs could not survive the financial struggles that resulted in Crystal Palace FC entering administration in England.

The club is currently working with the City of Baltimore to secure a venue for 2012 and beyond. “We want to be downtown and believe doing so will allow us to better connect to our fans and the City” said Pete Medd, part-owner and President of Crystal Palace Baltimore. “We would like to thank our loyal fans who have stuck with us despite not having a place to call home and we are committed to giving them what they deserve and what all of our future fans in Baltimore deserve; a venue that honors their loyalty and commitment to the club.”

The club looks forward to involving local soccer fans in the process of choosing a new identity and nickname. One thing that has been determined is the Club’s future colors: red, yellow, and black, the proud and historic colors of the City of Baltimore and the state of Maryland.

Thursday, December 2, 2010