Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
Kragthorpe: RSL gives home fans another good show

Real looks like a championship contender at Rio Tinto, proving it can take on high-profile teams.



< Previous Page


Sandy

The only trouble with Real Salt Lake’s season-opening victory over the defending champion Los Angeles Galaxy was that by winning so impressively on the road, the team suddenly owed the home fans a similar performance.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

Consider it delivered.

RSL may have failed to match last weekend’s three-goal flurry Saturday night, but nobody could complain too much about a 2-0 victory over the New York Red Bulls at Rio Tinto Stadium.

Here at the Rio, to borrow a phrase from the team’s new song, RSL looked every bit like a Major League Soccer championship contender in an overwhelming effort that should give this team even more believers.

"I wanted to give [the fans] what they deserved," said RSL coach Jason Kreis, "and that was our best."

How’s this for a first impression? Let’s just say another two-goal spread was the least that Real could have produced in this game, judging by its dominance from start to finish.

Real continually threatened to score, while breaking through with Fabian Espindola’s breakaway goal in the first half and Luis Gil’s drilling home a rebound of Espindola’s shot in the second half. Only some nice work by Red Bulls goalkeeper Ryan Meara kept this game from getting totally out of control.

At the other end, Espindola made the toughest save of the night for RSL, racing to catch New York star Thierry Henry on a breakaway and sliding to knock the ball away from him at the side of the net.

Yet if anything, the fact that Kreis was not completely satisfied with the game may say even more about this team’s potential. He figured the Red Bulls deserved to score, failing to take advantage of his team’s defensive failings. Kreis’ overall evaluation: "Certainly nowhere near perfect."


story continues below
story continues below

Those can only be frightening words to the rest of MLS.

The victory at Los Angeles made RSL the biggest story of the league’s opening weekend and created anticipation for the home opener, which was blemished only by the cold, windy conditions. The weather undoubtedly limited the attendance (16,738 announced), but the crowd was as enthusiastic as ever, while being rewarded by Real’s dominating performance.

Real lost some of its home-field aura last season, going 10-3-4 in MLS play at Rio Tinto Stadium. But the atmosphere and the outcome of the 2012 home opener looked a lot like 2010, when RSL was unbeatable at home.

These two victories to kick off the season may come with a bit of a disclaimer, considering how RSL caught the Galaxy in the middle of a Champions League series and the Red Bulls were not at full strength. Then again, Real was missing stalwarts Will Johnson and Nat Borchers, while offensive stars Javier Morales and Alvaro Saborio entered as substitutes midway through the second half.

Asked about the play of their replacements, Kreis said, "We don’t have second-string players; we have players."

The likes of Paulo Araujo Jr. and Ned Grabavoy have responded well to their opportunities, while Espindola, Kyle Beckerman and others have delivered as expected.

So RSL hardly could have asked for a better beginning, beating the league’s two highest-profile, biggest-market teams, one from each coast. Kreis was wary of a slow start, because of his team’s injuries, but just the opposite has occurred.

RSL general manager Garth Lagerwey is basically dismissive of the Supporters Shield competition for the league’s best regular-season record, instead focusing on the playoffs. Yet his team’s showing in the first two games is making it difficult for anyone not to notice the standings, which, actually, is just fine with him.

kkragthorpe@sltrib.com

Twitter: @tribkurt



Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Videos
Jobs
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.