RSL loses 2 - 1
Late goal lifts Inter Milan past Real Salt Lake in friendly
(by James Edwards deseretnews.com 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)