Saturday, November 1, 2008

Chivas USA at Real Salt Lake, away leg

It's game time here in Sandy, Utah, as Chivas USA visits Real Salt Lake for the first-ever playoff game in Rio Tinto Stadium history.

The stadium is nice and cozy. The field looks pristine and the supporters who are in the stands seem excited for the game.

I'll be providing a running blog for this game so stay here and keep up with my first-hand perspective of the game.

First things first - starting lineups:

Chivas USA: Zach Thornton; Carey Talley, Jonathan Bornstein, Shavar Thomas, Francisco Mendoza; Alex Zotinca, Jesse Marsch, Paulo Nagamura, Sacha Kljestan; Justin Braun, Ante Razov.

Real Salt Lake: Nick Rimando; Christ Wingert, Nat Borchers, Jamison Olave, Ian Joy; Andy Williams, Kyle Beckerman, Javier Morales, Will Johnson; Clint Mathis, Yura Movsisyan.

Claudio Suarez also did not make the trip to RSL and stayed behind along with Alecko Eskandarian and Atiba Harris, among others. On the bench, Chivas has Bobby Burling, Jim Curtin, Dejair, Jorge Flores, Roberto Nurse and Daniel Paladini.

Right off the bat I wonder why Preki did not start either Curtin or Burling in Suarez's place. I'll have to see for sure once the game starts but it looks like Bornstein is in central defense. Perhaps Thomas will be playing more of a sweeper role. We'll soon find out.

And the teams are walking out to the MLS anthem.

Thurl Bailey sang the national anthem and received a loud ovation before and after. Bailey used to play for the Utah Jazz.

More pre-game stuff. Commissioner Don Garber says a few words.

1 - And we're off. Bornstein is indeed playing alongside Thomas in the middle.

3 - RSL wins free kick about 25 yards out. Javier Morales, Beckerman and Mathis over it. It's Morales who swings the kick just over the goal.

5 - RSL looks very dangerous in the early going. Already the club has had two shots go wide of the goal, along with the free kick. Chivas players had expected this so they just need to settle down and gain some possession.

8 - RSL again with some buildup inside the penalty area but a pass to Will Johnson from Morales winds up out of bounds.

10 - Johnson breaks clear into area but Thomas stops his shot, sends it out for RSL corner.

10 - Morales on corner, cleared by Talley.

11 - Chivas are weathering the storm and it seems only a matter of time before Chivas starts to build up some possession, but they can't let the storm last for too much longer. RSL's got too many dangerous players to continue to allow them to have opportunities.

14 - Sacha Kljestan nearly gets a goal. He fed Braun on a quick counter and Braun raced to corner off box before sliding ball back to Kljestan. From the top of the area, Sacha puts shot just wide.

22 - The game's been mired in the midfield for the last few minutes. Not much going on for either side.

23 - Zotinca could have had Talley alone on the right flank but his pass was too strong.

27 - Beckerman with a shot from distance but sends it well high.

33 - Andy Williams gets booked for a foul on Marsch.

35 - Nagamura takes a hard knock and lays down on the ground for about a minute before getting up.

36 - Some calls going against RSL right now and crowd voicing displeasure. RSL's early-game buzz and energy is gone.

40 - RSL corner lands at Williams' feet, eventually over to Will Johnson who misfires on a bicycle kick. Olave flattens Braun afterward with a shoulder but ref doesn't see it.

42 - Beckerman gets booked for a tackle from behind on Braun. The Utah native is taking a beating thus far but Braun looks pretty composed nonetheless.

45 - Bornstein gets fouled but crowd boos vehemently, wanting the call the other way.

45 - One minute of stoppage time.

HALF TIME, 0-0 score

46 - Not even 30 seconds in and Mathis comes out and nearly scores. Thornton extends and pushes Mathis' shot wide. On ensuing corner, Bornstein clears ball out with a header.

49 - Razov saves Chivas. He clears a ball off the goal line. He hasn't done much offensively - though I'd attribute that to a lack of service - but he still earns his keep with plays like that.

51 - Speaking of earning their keep, Shavar Thomas has been rock solid in the back. He forces Movsisyan into a turnover when Movsisyan had only Thomas to beat inside the penalty area.

52 - Yura fires shot from right side of box but it's not close. Perhaps a bit of frustration as he could have tried to pick out a teammate.

54 - More calls go in Chivas' favor and more boos rain down from the stands.

58 - Mathis with a shot from distance, forces Thornton to make a diving save.

59 - The build-up is not there for Chivas. Dejair for Zotinca would be beneficial.

63 - Ball hits back of net as Yura breaks through but he fouled Talley in order to get to the ball.

63 - First change of game. RSL takes out Ian Joy in favor of Robbie Russell.

66 - Razov yellow for fould on Wingert. Robbie Findley in for Andy Williams. Chivas also getting to make change. Burling is up and ready to go.

68 - Burling in for Talley. I thought Talley was playing well but Preki thinkgs otherwise. Bornstein slides over to the right and Burling goes in central defense.

75 - Dejair getting ready to come in.

79 - Dejair replaces Razov, who moments before had sent a shot wide of the RSL goal. Looks like a 4-5-1 for Chivas with Dejair in there, and it looks as if Preki wants to get out of here with a scoreless draw.

81 - Check that. Roberto Nurse coming in. I'd guess it's for Braun. Nurse is getting out of his warmups and getting some instructions from an assistant.

86 - Nurse in, Braun out. Thomas, meanwhile, continues his domination on Movsisyan, who just can't get past the bulky Jamaican.

88 - Espindola fires on Thornton but Thornton jumps and makes the save.

90 - GOAL! Movsisyan with the goal as RSL takes a 1-0 lead. One too many chances for the hosts.

FULL TIME, Real Salt Lake 1, Chivas USA 0. Thanks for following along.


Zac Lee Rigg said...

What are your thoughts of playing Zotinca in the midfield. I still can't figure out just what Preki was thinking; this may have been a case of over-analyzing it.

L.B. said...

I would rather have seen Mendoza on the left, Bornstein at left back and Curtin at central defense. Zotinca is limited in his skills and in the midfield he was pretty much useless.