The Week That Was
The undefeated streak is no more. Before the match even began, we learned that the team would be resting Javier Morales for a groin injury. With Luis Gil starting in his spot, we assumed that we would be getting a look at how the future would look with Gil dictating the midfield. Then minutes prior to the kick off, Chris Schuler left to go to the locker room. Elias Vasquez was asked to start on a minute’s notice and didn’t disappoint.
Early in the match, Alvaro Saborio was given a one on one chance with the goalie but skyed the ball over the net. That would be the closest Real Salt Lake would get in the first half. Before the end of the first half, Vancouver’s Russell Teibert (foul) and RSL’s Jamison Olave (Dissent) were shown yellow cards. The cards would carry to the second half.
In the 64′ Sebastian Saucedo made his appearance to the game but it was short lived as he was given a red card 8 minutes later in the 76′ for a serious foul. Vancouver was able to quickly capitalize as Darren Mattocks was able to get his head on a Russell Teibert cross in the 80′ minute.
Playing down a man, RSL continued to press on but was unable to find the back of the net. The final nail in the coffin came in the 89′ when Jamison Olave was shown a second yellow card and sent off the field. RSL played the rest of the game down two men.
The Week Ahead
Real Salt Lake will be on the road this weekend, as they travel to Foxborough, Massachusetts to do battle with the New England Revolution in Gillette Stadium. The big story going in is how RSL will approach the game. With Sebastian Jaime, Joao Plata, Javier Morales and Chris Schuler all with injuries plus the fact that Jamison Olave and Sebastian Saucedo will be forced to stay home due to red card suspensions, the depth will be tested this game.
New England Revolution is a clone of RSL in all respects though. The team has a starting, four headed attack, monster in Charlie Davies, Juan Agudelo, Lee Nguyen, and Kelyn Rowe. Add in the fact they have a player like Teal Bunbury coming off the bench and its a scary situation for a depleted RSL defense.
Sizing Up The West
Vancouver Whitecaps FC – 16 points (5-2-1)
FC Dallas – 13 points (4-2-1)
LA Galaxy – 11 points (3-2-2)
Seattle Sounders FC – 10 points (3-2-1)
San Jose Earthquakes – 9 points (3-4-0)
Houston Dynamo – 9 points (2-2-3)
Real Salt Lake – 9 points (2-1-3)
Portland Timbers – 9 points (2-2-3)
Sporting Kansas City – 9 points (2-2-3)
Colorado Rapids – 6 points (1-2-3)
Center Back Position – This week, I am not spotlighting one single player but a handful of players. Going into the Vancouver game, we had Chris Schuler and Jamison Olave starting with Elias Vasquez available off the bench. Before the game started, Vasquez was thrusted into the starting spot with the Schuler injury. With Schuler scheduled to missed 4-6 weeks after knee surgery and Olave forced to miss the next game due to the red card, we take a look at who else is there to play at the center back position.
Elias Vasquez – In his two first-team appearances, has been outstanding. After a shaky opening 15 minutes in his first game, he settled right in and played great. In the second game, he seemed to carry that confidence over. The Guatemalan International will obviously be a starter this weekend.
Phanuel Kavita – Kavita has never played an MLS game but the Salt Lake City native came out of the RSL-AZ Academy before going on to play for Clemson. After a four year career for the Clemson Tigers, he has returned to RSL on a Homegrown Contract. He has been getting plenty of minutes for the Real Monarchs as a center back. A call up seems a likely choice for Kavita.
Aaron Maund – While he has been on the team for a while, Maund hasn’t been able to get some minutes. Since 2013, Maund has made 9 appearances for the team as he continues to struggle to stand out and provide a unique player for RSL. To his credit though, in his six matches in 2014, RSL did go 4-1-1.
Justen Glad – While we would love to play Glad this weekend, his recent call up to the U-18s will force the RSL Faithful to have to wait on Glad’s debut. He has been getting a ton of minutes in the Real Monarchs though, playing all over the defensive line.
Fun Fact of the Week
A big missing factor this weekend was Javier Morales. Javier has scored or assisted on nearly 25% of the club’s all-time 441 goals scored. Javier himself has scored 39 goals and tallied 68 assists. What makes that even more impressive, is that Morales missed out on almost 5 months of the 2011 season, so those totals should be even higher if he didn’t suffer his fracture-dislocation in his left ankle.