Real Salt Lake: Set pieces an area of focus
Revs’ goal reminder to Real players: “We’ve obviously not been good enough.”
By Christopher Kamrani
| The Salt Lake Tribune
First Published Jul 08 2014 01:45 pm
Last Updated Jul 09 2014 05:36 pm
Sandy • Ninety minutes of incredible soccer can be undone by one momentary lapse of focus. That’s what Real Salt Lake must continue to realize, coach Jeff Cassar reiterates, that outplaying a team doesn’t always guarantee three points if it continues to struggle marking on set-piece situations. Difficulties in that realm have cost RSL the opportunity of securing three points throughout the year.
"It’s just winning your individual battles," Cassar said. "We stress it every single day when we go over it … you’re already in a crazy defensive posture. Collectively, we’re going over everything, we’re studying and now it’s just going out there and doing it."
In the club’s 2-1 win Friday, the Revolution pulled even when Darrius Barnes sent a screaming header by Nick Rimando to equalize. It was an early-season bugaboo for the club when the San Jose Earthquakes scored twice on March 15 to earn a draw. The Philadelphia Union did the same in stoppage time when Maurice Edu’s header stole a win from visiting RSL on April 12.
"We’ve obviously not been good enough on set pieces this year as a group," defender Nat Borchers said. "I think it does come down to really deciding as an individual what you need to do to make sure your guy doesn’t score."
Morales’ big day
It’s been 24 years since Argentina was in the final four of a World Cup tournament. On the feet of megastar Lionel Messi, the country is one match away from a final. The Argentinians face the Netherlands in Wednesday’s semifinal, so naturally Javier Morales is giddy as can be.
The 34-year-old RSL midfielder has been recruiting players to root for Argentina, the lone representing country on the club.
"After 24 years, we play a semifinal again, so I’ve been waiting for that moment and now I hope we can go through to the final," Morales said.
Garza on trial
Cassar has known Sam Garza since the forward was 14 years old when he coached Garza on an Olympic Development Team in Texas. On Tuesday, Garza, formerly of the San Jose Earthquakes, was at RSL’s training participating as a trialist. The 24-year-old who was released by San Jose on July 2 was the No. 6 pick in the 2012 MLS SuperDraft.