The Week That Was
That was, possibly, the strangest match I have ever seen. Ever. I have seen a lot of soccer – Mexican, Italian, Norwegian, Brazilian, you name it. I have even watched soccer matches from the Middle East. This was the strangest – EVER.
RSL started out strong, attacking the goal. After getting awarded a free kick, Javier Morales put RSL up in the 29′ and RSL continued the strong offensive attack. Then things got very ugly and very weird very quickly. Fernando Aristeguieta leveled the match after Nick Rimando parried a shot right to him. Jamison Olave was out of position the entire time and Aristeguieta just had to barely do anything for the goal.
Then, in the 38′, Schuler failed to clear a ball away from the goal and gave Aristeguieta a chance to put a shot in the far post, away from Rimando. In a span of 4 minutes, RSL went from up 1-0 to being down 2-1. Then, we entered the Twilight Zone. The 55′ had Javier Morales send in a free kick. The ball bounces off of Olmes Garcia’s thigh and right into the head of Olave. The ball is just out of reach for the keeper. One of the strangest goals I have ever seen.
With the match leveled at 2-2, Olave goes from hero to villain 3 minutes later. After a ball is sent into the box, Olave tries to clear it out in a very unorthodox method. In doing so, Olave allows the first own goal for RSL since 2012. With the match winding down, and RSL down 3-2, Luke Mulholland was headed into Philadelphia’s goalie box with the ball. As a group of Union defenders braced down, Mulholland seemed to lose control of the ball. Mulholland looked to slide to regain control of the ball and the ref called for a penalty kick.
Without a doubt in my mind, there was no foul on the ball. Luke Mulholland didn’t look to be flopping or anything of that sort. Mulholland looked to be losing control of the ball and attempted to slide to get it. Álvaro Saborio buried the penalty kick in the 86′ and the game ended in a 3-3 draw.
The Week Ahead
This week, Real Salt Lake is on a bye week. This couldn’t come at a better time for RSL, as their defense seems to be showing some signs of life but made very crucial mistakes. Team chemistry seems to be the issue, as various members of the club have come out and claimed that adjusting to new players needs time. Patience is key.
Sizing Up The West
FC Dallas – 6 points (2-0-0)
LA Galaxy – 4 points (1-0-1)
Seattle Sounders FC – 4 points (1-0-1)
Houston Dynamo – 3 points (1-1-0)
San Jose Earthquakes – 3 points (1-1-0)
Vancouver Whitecaps FC – 3 points (1-1-0)
Portland Timbers – 2 point (0-0-2)
Real Salt Lake – 2 point (0-0-2)
Colorado Rapids – 1 point (0-1-1)
Sporting Kansas City – 1 point (0-1-1)
Javier Morales – The Maestro of the Midfield seems to have hit the second wind of his career. The 34 year old played one of his best games this past week, netting a goal and an assist. I, for one, was worried about how the shift to the 4-3-3 would benefit or hurt Javier Morales. I was wrong.
Javier was a playmaker all over the field, touching the ball a total of 109 times. The formation seems to have helped the midfielder, as he now has the ball more at his feet and given better chances to dictate the offense. While the four man diamond midfielder seemed to limit Javier, the new look three man midfield has given Javier a chance to free roam the field.
Fun Fact of the Week
They say that soccer is the World’s Sport. Against the Philadelphia Union, 14 players played for Real Salt Lake. Those 14 players came from 7 different countries, and nine of those players have played for their national teams in some aspects, including the U-20s or U-17s.
At their respective national team levels; Alvaro Saborio leads the group with 96 appearances for the Costa Rica Men’s National Team. Demar Phillips is the next man up with 62 appearances for Jamaica and Kyle Beckerman finishes in the top three with 62 appearances for the United States. Kyle Beckerman was the only Real Salt Lake player to play in this last World Cup.