RSL gets a break in split

Published September 7, 2008 3:46 am
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2008, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

CARSON, Calif. - Real Salt Lake managed a rare point on the road Saturday night with a 2-2 draw over the Los Angeles Galaxy, but pardon RSL if nobody was doing any flips over this one.

Not after blowing a second-half lead against a star-less Galaxy, and certainly not after the aerial acrobatics of forward Fabian Espindola, which may have cost RSL its best offensive weapon for the rest of the season.

Los Angeles' Edson Buddle put home the tying-goal in the 69th minute, but the tone for the evening was set early when Espindola used his head to redirect a shot by Kyle Beckerman into the net in the sixth minute. When no flag came up from the linesman, Espindola ran to midfield and did a somersault. But he stuck his landing, his right leg crumpling.

A moment later, there was a knot in his stomach, when the referee disallowed the goal.

Espindola tried to continue, but came out after another minute. He later left the field on crutches. RSL coach Jason Kreis said afterward that he's ``fearful'' Espindola suffered a fractured right leg and expects him to be out six weeks.

``It's a little mind-boggling,'' Kreis said.

Espindola, his right foot and ankle wrapped in bandages, sat stunned at his locker afterward.

``I'm embarrassed,'' said Espindola, who celebrated goals with a flip since his days as a youth player in Argentina. ``I'm never going to do that again. I don't know what happened. I've done it a million times. If I would have known I never would have done it.''

After Espindola's gaffe, Los Angeles midfielder Bryan Jordan made his first career start a memorable one by knocking home a shot that RSL goalkeeper Nick Rimando had pushed wide. Jordan celebrated by executing a flip Ð without injuring himself. Jordan, whose quickness gave the RSL backline fits, also set up Buddle's equalizer with a pass across the goalmouth.

In between, Yura Movsisyan Ð who replaced Espindola Ð scored a goal and set up another for RSL, working a give-and-go with midfielder Will Johnson, who fired a shot past Wicks that kicked off the far post and into the net in the 52nd minute. But 17 minutes later, RSL gave the lead up.

``In our locker room, we're a bit disappointed,'' Kreis said. ``We knew they were missing a lot of important players and we were confident enough that we thought we could take three points.''

For one night, Movsisyan's play mitigated the loss of Espindola, who after an injury-marred season, appeared to be giving RSL an offensive spark. Espindola, who has started 13 of RSL's 23 league games, made his first start last week since May 31 due to a knee injury. He scored both goals in a 2-0 win over Colorado and drew effusive praise from Kreis.

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