Playoff Bound! RSL clinches birth in 2014 MLS Playoffs!

Utah Sporting NewsSandy, UT –  Playoff Bound! Real Salt Lake clinches birth in 2014 MLS Playoffs tonight with a 2-0 victory over San Jose.  With several key player missing tonight, including Nick Rimando, Joao Plata out on international duty players who don’t see as many minutes stepped up and ensured that the season will go on after next week.

Real Salt Lake vs San Jose Quakes (10-11-2014)

Ned Grabavoy (20) shoots and scores in the 24th minute.

Ned Grabavoy gave RSL the lead in the 24th minute, with a shot from outside the box slipping by the Quakes keeper Jon Busch into the bottom right side of the net. Shortly after Sebastian Velasquez used his knee to direct a corner kick from Luke Mulholland’s in traffic to put RSL up 2-0 in the 28th minute. With the win, RSL now joins Seattle Sounders FC and LA Galaxy as Western Conference clubs that have officially qualified for the 2014 MLS Cup Playoffs.

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San Jose Goalkeeper Jon Busch dives for a shot from RSL midfielder Ned Grabavoy

Quotes from Real Salt Lake Head Coach Jeff Caesar

On clinching a playoff berth in his first year as head coach:

“Wow. It’s been a learning experience all the way around for myself, but I’m so blessed to lead these men. They are an unbelievable group of men. They are competitors, they are excellent people, so it’s been a pleasure. It’s been a learning year for me, personally, and I’m so pleased for the guys in the locker room to have qualified. If you would have said ‘would you take 52 points’ at the beginning of the year, I would have jumped at it. Super pleased where we are at. We have some business to finish up at the end of the year, we have a lot to play for still, and now it’s getting ourselves ready to head into the playoffs and position ourselves right.”

On wanting to make the opposition wilt:

“I do [feel like we did that after the first two goals]. Obviously, extremely pleased with getting a shutout. Jeff [Attinella] wasn’t extremely busy tonight, but had a huge performance for us. He suffered an ankle injury yesterday in training, very painful, stepped up huge for us, and it was really important for us to get that shutout. I think that’s a big thing with us moving forward, especially heading into Portland.”

On five consecutive seasons with 50-plus points:

“It’s not easy. It starts all the way in preseason and preparing. Every game is important in this league. No game is easy. Obviously, last week was a tough week for us. That just shows that you have to bring your A game every week. I thought our intensity and focus and pressure today was off the charts. San Jose did a great job of hanging in there, but we stayed on top of them and really played the whole game in their half.”

On MF Sebastian Velasquez starting: 

“I go back to the Sacramento game and he was fantastic. Very bright in the attack, putting it in on the defensive, making good choices, and he’s been training well since that game. So I felt very comfortable putting him into that position because he has been playing well. Super proud of him. It’s not easy to step in to Javier Morales’ shoes but I thought Sebastian [Velasquez] did an excellent job of that.”

On the quick start:

“It was something that we talked about after the Chivas game. We were moving the ball but not penetrating, not being aggressive, not forcing their goalkeeper to make any saves. We definitely wanted to not come out like that at home. Jon Busch made a few very good saves to make his team in it, and we just kept our foot on the gas. We knew that if we stayed aggressive, that their dam would break, and give credit to the players.”

On traveling to Portland Timbers on Friday and using this momentum:

“[Portland needs a win] without a doubt. They’ve been playing some good soccer as of late. They are very attacking with their front four especially. We know what they are about, we know what we need to do. Obviously, we want to finish in a certain spot to make sure we head into the playoffs in the right way. We’re going to be aggressive but extremely mindful and organized.”

On the effect of RSL’s international call-ups:

“They come back sometime on the 15th and then we travel on the 16th. As we’ve heard Nick Rimando is going to be playing. We hope he plays fantastic and comes out healthy. The rest we have to see what kind of minutes that they are logging. Extremely pleased with the guys we had on the field tonight and when they return it’s only going to make us stronger.”

Pictures from the match

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Lineups:

Real Salt Lake: Jeff Attinella; Tony Beltran; Nat Borchers; Carlos Salcedo; Chris Wingert; Kyle Beckerman; Luke Mulholland; Ned Grabavoy; Sebastian Velasquez (Luis Gil, 77′); Robbie Findley; Sebastian Jaime (Olmes Garcia, 63′)

San Jose Earthquakes: Jon Busch; Jordan Steward; Ty Harden; JJ Koval; Pablo Pintos; Shea Salinas; Khari Stephenson; Jean-Baptiste Pierazzi; Tommy Thompson (Billy Schuler, 77′); Yannick Djalo (Michael Fucito, 80′); Adam Jahn

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