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.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Rapids manager decides against taking Mullan to Seattle

(by Nick Thomas 7-15-11)

Brian Mullan won’t be making the trip to Seattle for Saturday’s nationally televised game between the Sounders and the Colorado Rapids (4 pm ET, Fox Soccer) after all.

Rapids head coach Gary Smith, who had intimated Thursday he fully intended to take the wide midfielder, told on Friday that the veteran would be left behind for a variety of reasons.

"It's based on two home games coming up, soreness in his body and the fact we are at full health," Smith said. “It’s totally my choice. Brian was adamant he wanted to go.”

The inclusion of Mullan, who has been struggling with a back injury since his return June 26, would have marked his first match in Seattle since his tackle led to Sounders midfielder Steve Zakuani breaking his leg back on April 22. The 33-year-old midfielder was subsequently suspended for a total of 10 matches.


Comment by The Cup

Good call by the Colorado manager. I think it best Mullan never play in Seattle again for the rest of his career, for his own safety.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

RSL's 2011 US Open Cup

Date - June 28th, 2011
Round - 3rd
Opponent - Wilmington Hammerheads
Stadium - Rio Tinto Stadium
Score - RSL 2 - Wilmington Hammerheads 0

Real Salt Lake takes first step toward Open Cup with win over Wilmington

(by James Edwards 6-29-11)

One down, three to go.

That's the mantra for Real Salt Lake following Tuesday night's routine 2-0 victory over the Wilmington Hammerheads in the third round of the U.S. Open Cup at Rio Tinto Stadium.

"It wasn't a perfect game, it's not a game any of us walk out of here and are ecstatic about it, but we got the job done," said RSL coach Jason Kreis.

Four victories is all RSL needs to win the competition, and it's one step closer after overwhelming the inferior lower-division foe from the USL Pro league.

Lifting the Cup would be a nice consolation prize for RSL after coming up short in the CONCACAF Champions League two months ago. The title would also clinch RSL a berth in the 2012-2013 version of the Champions League, an underrated perk to winner.

"We are a club that wants to win trophies, it doesn't matter which kind. So now we're three games away from a trophy and a championship, and three games away from being back into CONCACAF, so we'll put a tremendous amount of focus on that," said Kreis.

Despite Tuesday's win, getting there won't be easy.

As RSL was going through the motions against Wilmington, FC Dallas was squeaking out a 3-2 victory over Orlando City. Dallas will host Real Salt Lake in the U.S. Open Cup quarterfinals on July 12, just three days after the teams meet in a league game at Rio Tinto Stadium.

RSL's all-time record in Dallas, including last year's playoffs, is 0-9-1. That one draw, however, did come this year so there's a glimmer of hope for the visitors.

"We got to win there sometime, this would be a good time to get our first win down there," said RSL midfielder Will Johnson.

RSL got the competition started off on the right foot Tuesday, scoring twice in the first half and then putting it in cruise control the rest of the way in front of 7,620 fans.

It took RSL a bit longer than expected to break the spirits of the last-place team in the USL Pro American Division, but it eventually did.

Tony Beltran opened the scoring in the 40th minute with his first professional goal in any competition. After receiving a Jean Alexandre ball in space at the right edge of the penalty area, Beltran took a few touches and then hammered the ball just inside the near post.

"It's great, I've been wanting to score for a long time and I feel like I've been getting closer and closer and getting more and more confident every game," said Beltran. "Glad I was able to contribute personally, but I'm even more happy we got the win."

After doing a decent job defending with numbers up until that point, the goal was a dagger for the visiting Hammerheads. Four minutes later they found themselves down 2-0 as Alexandre doubled the advantage on an easy finish near the penalty area.

"Those early goals really helped us kill off the game a little bit," said Johnson.

To Wilmington's credit it kept fighting in the second half and didn't concede again.

RSL still had plenty of chances in the second half, including a pair of shots off the woodwork. Johnson was denied by the post in the 76th minute and then Andy Williams was denied by the crossbar in the 81st minute. RSL outshot Wilmington 18-6 and 7-3 with shots on goal.

RSL will now have five days off before jumping back into league play when it hosts New England at 6:30 p.m. on Monday.


Date - July 13th
Round - 4th
Opponent - FC Dallas
Stadium - Pizza Hut Park, Frisco TX
Score - FC Dallas 2 - RSL 1

Real Salt Lake bows out of Open Cup with 2-0 loss

(by Steve Hunt 7-13-11)

Just three days after beating FC Dallas at Rio Tinto Stadium, Real Salt Lake looked like a completely different club in a 2-0 loss to FCD in a U.S. Open Cup quarterfinal match at Pizza Hut Park.

Dallas got goals from Jair Benitez in the 18th minute and another from Jackson Goncalves in the 54th to advance.

That first goal definitely set an ominous tone for RSL.

"Giving up the first goal against a good team like Dallas is always tough," Salt Lake defender Nate Borchers said. "After that, we were just under it and I don't think we responded as well as we wanted to."

Salt Lake finished with just six total shots, but none of those were on goal.

Tonight's performance clearly didn't sit well with RSL head coach Jason Kreis, who saw a marked difference in how his side performed tonight compared to how they fared on Saturday night in Sandy.

"I think just the energy level [was the biggest difference]," Kreis said. "We've seen it lots and lots of times here in Dallas where we can't just seem to get the energy level right."

That energy he speaks of was only present to start the second half, when Salt Lake was able to muster several quality chances. One of those opportunities came in the 47th minute when Tony Beltran found some room inside the Dallas area but saw his shot deflected by George John.

And once Dallas added a second goal nine minutes into the final frame, any momentum they had evaporated.

"If we don't have the right energy and the right mentality for games, we oftentimes don't get results," Kreis said. "When we do have the right mentality and energy level for games, we oftentimes do get results."

Despite finishing the first half with only one shot, RSL trailed by only a goal at the break. One reason the game was only 1-0 was because midfielder Ned Grabavoy denied a header by John at the right post one minute before halftime.

But the nail in the coffin for Salt Lake in tonight's defeat was a lack of possession. Other than the early stages of the second half, they didn't control the flow of the game at all.

"I think a big factor for us tonight was our possession game," Borchers said. "I don't think we were as good as we normally are with our possession."

At opening kick, the thermometer read 97 degrees, nine degrees hotter than it was in Saturday's contest at Rio Tinto, and the hotter weather was definitely a factor.

"It was a tough game. It was hot," Salt Lake midfielder Kyle Beckerman said. "They played great and scored two great goals."

RSL had one final chance in the 74th minute when Collen Warner took a shot from 20 yards but his attempt instead struck the crossbar and it remained a two-goal affair.

However, they will have to put this result behind them quickly and refocus their efforts toward league play, which resumes in four days.

"Open Cup's done now and we have to wash our hands and get over that," Borchers said.

And even though Salt Lake is now eliminated from the Open Cup, Beckerman couldn't resist taking a shot at the Dallas crowd, something that goes back to his days in Colorado.

"It's a shame. It seemed like a high school match tonight, with how many in the crowd? 3000? Ha, good one," he said. "It wasn't the greatest atmosphere, which is a shame."

Kreis' team returns to MLS action on Saturday night in Vancouver against the Whitecaps.

"We have a big test in front of us with Vancouver," Borchers said. "It's a tough place to play. We have to make sure we bring our 'A game' on Saturday."

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

How can they top this one?!

MLS has come a long way. Portland, the King of Clubs.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The Coach and The Cup

Kreis honored, number retired after RSL Independence Day match

(by Kira Terry 7-5-11)

Following a 3-3 draw with MLS opponent the New England Revolution, Real Salt Lake Head Coach Jason Kreis was honored and his No. 9 RSL number was retired.

"He was the first of so many things for our franchise," said RSL Founder Dave Checketts following the match. "He was the first player we ever signed, he scored the first goal, he was the first in the history of the league to score 100 goals and after he had done all that, we asked Jason to abruptly to hang up his boots and to become our new head coach where he quickly demonstrated the will and drive to allow us as a group, as a family, to accomplish further firsts for RSL - our first playoff birth, our first MLS Cup title, and the first professional championship in Utah for 40 years."

With the fans cheering loudly, Checkets continued saying, "We also were the first MLS team to win a CONCACAF group. And I know we believe we're going to get back there and be the first to win the CONCACAF championship."

An emotional Kreis stepped to the podium and before giving thanks to fans, family and many others who have helped him along his journey with RSL, asked fans to stay standing and give a round of applause for the "unbelievable fight" they put up during that game.

Following his comments, Kreis' RSL number was retired and his name and number are now posted above the west side stands within their Fortress, Rio Tinto Stadium.

In their beginnings, RSL owner Dave Checketts chose Kreis as the first player for RSL on Nov. 17, 2004. Kreis retired from RSL and turned in his captain armband to step up as the second head coach of RSL on May 3, 2007 making him the youngest head coach in MLS history at just 34 years and 127 days old.

Kreis finished his professional soccer career with 108 career goals making him the all-time leading scorer for MLS.

Kreis has led RSL to their first ever MLS Cup title in 2009 and then in 2010 led RSL to become the first-ever MLS team to win a CONCACAF group.

Kreis told the media following the presentation and firework celebration that stepping back out onto that field to accept the honor of his number being retired was a difficult thing, because of the draw and frustrating moments and calls within the game, but was just proud of his roster.

"It was a wild and crazy game, said Kreis." "My take away from the match is that I'm really, really, really proud of our guys. I just couldn't be prouder of the fight that they put in to suffer a penalty kick and a red card decision in the first five minutes of the match, to go down two goals and a man and to fight the way they were and to be dominating the game when they were down in that situation was remarkable to say the least."

Kreis was also happier with this result than what could have happened on their home field. "We did manage a draw, which is better than losing at home. I have so much pride in the guys, a lot of anger about some other stuff, but a lot of pride in the guys."

RSL's goals were scored by midfielder Will Johnson (24th), forward Alvaro Saborio (56th) and forward Fabian Espindola (83rd).

RSL will remain at home this weekend as they host FC Dallas on Saturday.


I'm happy to say I was the first fan to welcome Jason Kreis to Salt Lake.

Back in those days I had plenty of free time on my hands and I practically lived on BigSoccer.

Anyway, it turns out the day the announcement came out that they RSL's first player would be presented at the offices across from Trolley Square a post was put up on BigSoccer to try and get some fans there. I posted that I could make it after work (or maybe I was just going to skip out of work perhaps) and that I would represent the Loyalists if nobody else could make it.

Turns out there were three of us that made it, myself "The Cup", Jules "Lizzie Bee", and Eric "Deuce". I was one of the first ones there so I grabbed a front row seat. Out came Kreis, the press snapped pictures, some words were spoken, and all was well.

RSL was off to a great start.

So after the news conference was over I made my way over to Jules and Eric and we started talking. Kreis was shaking hands with the suits, etc. Once all of them had welcomed him I said to Jules and Eric something to the affect, "What should we do? Can we just go up and talk to him?"

They answered with a, "I guess so."

I responded with a, "Oh hell, I'm just going to go talk to him."

So I did. I made my way up to him, shook his hand, welcomed him to Salt Lake and told him that we already had a supporters group going.

Jules and Eric followed and we all had a good chat. Jules was the only one with a camera so I asked her to take a picture of us and as you can see in the above photo history was made. "The Cup meets the Coach".

Anyway, those were good times and I'd like to think I have some distinction as the first RSL fan to welcome Kreis to his new home.

LA Galaxy 3rd uniform

Sunday, July 3, 2011