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 30, 2016

Landon at this week's MLS All-Star game

This is the saddest photo I've ever seen, Landy looks so hurt, almost fragile.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

SportsCenter on the Road visits Portland

(by Benjamin Baer 7-23-16)

The Portland Timbers and LA Galaxy have played in some big games over the years and Saturday's match-up is no different, except for one thing.

For the first time, SportsCenter on the Road will originate from the site of a Major League Soccer match-up on Saturday at 2:30 pm ET, live from Providence Park where the Timbers will host face the Galaxy on ESPN and ESPN Deportes. Canadian viewers can see the match on TSN.

Max Bretos and Dianna Russini will co-anchor the 75-minute program from inside Providence Park. SportsCenter on the Road in Portland will lead into the match telecast. There are many special features to be shown during the program including an interview with Timbers owner Merritt Paulson and a profile of LA Galaxy forward Giovani dos Santos.

Some other highlights of SportsCenter on the Road in Portland include:
  • Timber Joey, the unofficial mascot of the Portland Timbers will be interviewed on SportsCenter on the Road;
  • ESPN’s lead soccer match analyst Taylor Twellman will join Bretos and Russini on the set;
  • A look at Darlington Nagbe's journey from Liberia to becoming a MLS star and US national team player;
  • Sit-down interviews with one player from either team in the MLS Soccer Sunday matchup;
  • A video essay – an ode to the City of Portland – by weekday 1 am ET SportsCenter anchor and native of Portland Neil Everett.
ESPN’s SportsCenter on the Road initiative, which takes the program out of the studio to events and fans, began in 2015.
SportsCenter on the Road has originated from pro and college football and basketball games, the NBA Finals, the Super Bowl and NFL Draft, the College Football Playoff, the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight, the Little League World Series, the Indianapolis 500, the World Series, MLB Playoffs, MLB All-Star Game and more.



My take:

Well, it only took ESPN 20 years to get on board.

This reminds me of the old days when I sent emails to ESPN suggesting to them that they help MLS grow by doing a "MLS Minute" at the end of each Sportscenter on Saturdays and Sundays. Of course there was now way in hell they were going to do that but it made me feel better, kind of.

Actually all it did was aggravate me more and more.

It also reminds me of when the Commissioner Doug Logan ripped ESPN a new one after the failed to even mention DC United beating Vasco De Gama to take the 1998 Inter-American Cup which in my mind is still the greatest achievement by any US soccer team, club or national team.

Anyway, it's pretty much a mute point, soccer is a little too "Millennial" for me now.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

July 19th, 2016 RSL vs Inter Milan

RSL loses 2 - 1

Late goal lifts Inter Milan past Real Salt Lake in friendly

(by James Edwards 7-19-16)

Over a 60-second span late in the second half on Tuesday, Inter Milan’s Stevan Jovetic missed a sitter and then hit the post on a chipped shot attempt from about 12 yards out.

He made up for the squandered opportunities with a goal worth the price of admission for the international friendly at Rio Tinto Stadium.

In second-half stoppage time, and with his back to goal, Jovetic back-heeled a shot between the legs of RSL backup keeper Lalo Fernandez to punctuate Inter Milan’s 2-1 victory over Real Salt Lake in the international friendly.

After scoring first in the match, it was a discouraging loss for RSL, but one coach Jeff Cassar said everyone can learn from — particularly Fernandez.

“Myself being a goalkeeper, it happens. But to make the next step for him, it can’t happen. It’s just something to learn from,” said Cassar. “I thought he handled himself when he was in there, but that’s the time where you’ve got to recognize we need that solid save that keeps us in it. It didn’t happen tonight, but I still have confidence in him."

Fernandez was one of 28 Real Salt Lake or Real Monarchs players Cassar utilized in the first international friendly against a European team at Rio Tinto Stadium since it opened in 2008.
Inter Milan is currently in the United States as part of its preseason tour, where it will play four matches over a two-week period against a combination of European and MLS teams.

Real Salt Lake opened the scoring in the 18th minute on an opportunistic finish from Jordan Allen, one of five starters in Tuesday’s match who didn’t start last Saturday against New England.

Joao Plata’s looping corner kick sailed over the heads of everyone but Inter’s Geoffrey Kondogbia and RSL’s Justen Glad. Kondogbia had inside position on Glad, but when the ball landed at his feet he redirected it straight toward goal and right in the path of Allen, whose simple touch found the back of the net for the 1-0 lead.

“It’s somebody that’s prepared to score … that’s what you want from players on attacking set plays to be ready at any moment,” Cassar said.

Allen started at attacking midfield in place of Javier Morales, who needed extra rest after getting kicked a few times last weekend against New England. He offered a different look for RSL.

“I thought he did a really good job. When he plays that position, he does things different than our other No. 10s that we have. We’re able to get in behind a little bit more with those runs out of the midfield,” said Cassar.

In the 31st minute, RSL subbed off six of its starters, with Yura Movsisyan, Juan Manuel Martinez, Plata, Tony Beltran, Kyle Beckerman and Glad all leaving the match.

With the friendly sandwiched between two league games, Cassar said before the match that his regulars would play limited minutes.

Inter Milan trotted out a mix of first-choice and second-choice players to start the match. Of its top 16 players in appearances last season, five were in the starting 11 on Tuesday. They played the entire first half.

Shortly before halftime, Inter Milan leveled the score at 1-1 in the 42nd minute as Danilo D’Ambrosio drilled home a powerful volley off a corner kick. RSL substitute Ricardo Velasco, who plays for the Real Monarchs, tried to clear it off the line, but the shot was hit with too much pace as his clearance went straight up into the top of the net.

“We gave up a set play goal in the 42nd minute. It’s unacceptable,” said Cassar. “I can accept it because we didn’t work on it, we had guys that hadn’t been with us, but it’s more of a mentality. I just want our group going forward to be tougher, to be sharper in certain moments of the game, and I think when we do that we’re going to be a very, very good team.”

Inter Milan made three changes at halftime, including subbing off top striker Mauro Emanuel Icardi. RSL made three more changes at the half, and ultimately played all 28 players on the roster.

Chris Schuler was one of those subs in the 59th minute as he came on for Jamison Olave, and he was greeted by a warm reception for the Rio Tinto Stadium faithful. The former RSL regular has played in three matches with the Real Monarchs this season as he tries to work his way back into full fitness.



(RSL's Tony Beltran and Inter's Caner Erik)

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

No MLS Super Cup winner for 2016

New York Red Bulls and Portland Timbers scrap to 0-0 draw

(by Daniel Feuerstein 7-10-16)

The New York Red Bulls' first game since parting company with Lloyd Sam was a welcome return to home ground after a grueling and dispiriting winless, four-game road trip. The injury-riddled Portland Timbers couldn't put anything past Luis Robles or the backline, but the Red Bulls couldn't get anything past Jake Gleeson and this match ended in a scoreless draw.

In Sam's absence, there has been a lot of talk of Gonzalo Veron, one of two Designated Players on the RBNY roster, stepping up to claim the regular start we've been assuming he'd get almost from the day he signed. Veron did get the start, and while these was some miscommunication out there, he made dangerous runs and found his teammates with some threatening crosses on a few occasions.
Unexpectedly, Felipe was the Red Bulls' most consistent threat on goal. Veron, Mike Grella and Bradley Wright-Phillips - nominally RBNY's front three - combined for four shots, none on target. Felipe had four of his own, and three were on frame. But Gleeson stood up to everything the Red Bulls threw at him.
So both sides got a point, which was better for Portland than for the Red Bulls. For some, the question is whether RBNY has lost confidence after the Copa America Centenario Break, because its form has dipped precipitously over the last few weeks.
"Overall on the day we have a lot of half chances, we have a lot of chances and created a lot of opportunities and it wasn't quite good enough on the day," said Jesse Marsch, "Talking to some of the guys in the locker room, was it a confidence issue, was it a lack of sharpness or a little bit of both? We got to still have a lot of belief on this team so at the end of the day we can push hard and get a result. Towards the end we did, but I thought we could've done more at the start of the second half."
On another day, whatever issues are affecting the Red Bulls up front might have been compounded by the team's misfortune at the back. The luckless Gideon Baah went to the ground in the first half, apparently aggravating the same injury that hobbled in RBNY's match in Columbus two weeks ago. This signaled the return of French center back Damien Perrinelle to MLS. He has played in a couple of USL games for NYRB II and in the friendly win against Club America as part of a gentle reintroduction to the first team. Called off the bench more abruptly than had been planned, he looked like he hadn't lost a step.
"It's an amazing feeling. First of all I want to thank all my teammates, to all the Red Bulls Staff. It's a very good feeling and I wasn't expecting to play this game, but it was nice," said Perrinelle, "Not so many minutes but, I thought I was going to play five in the back at the end of the game.
I was ready from the start [when Gideon Baah went down with the injury], because I expect this kind of thing, this wasn't the first time it happened with me, when I am on the bench I expect to be ready."
The best of Perrinelle was on display in the 85th minute when he made a fantastic tackle on Fanendo Adi. But the center back made several timely interventions that suggested he has not lost anything but time to injury.
But the result extends a troubling streak for the Red Bulls: winless in their last five with just two points and two goals scored in that stretch. They will try to turn it around on Wednesday, July 13, when they host Orlando City - an opponent dealing with a little turmoil of its own, having just fired head coach Adrian Heath. Maybe RBNY's luck will change.