Real Salt Lake defeats the Sounders 2-1 to take over first place

Real Salt Lake vs Seattle Sounders (8-16-2014)Real Salt Lake takes over first place in the western division with a 2-1 win over the Seattle Sounders.  The match held in front of 20,483 wild fans at Rio Tinto Stadium Saturday.

Real Salt Lake scored two goals in the second half to take a 2 – 0 lead on goals by Joao Plata and Luke Mulholland.  Seattle made a strong run scoring a goal by Chad Barrett in the 72nd minute.

Real Salt Lake vs Seattle Sounders (8-16-2014) Real Salt Lake vs Seattle Sounders (8-16-2014)

Lineups for the game:

Real Salt Lake (4-1-2-1-2): Nick Rimando;, Tony Beltran, Chris Schuler, Nat Borchers, Chris Wingert (Carlos Salcedo, 89’); Kyle Beckerman (C), Luke Mulholland, Ned Grabavoy, Luis Gil; Olmes Garcia (Robbie Findley, 60’), Joao Plata (Cole Grossman, 80’)

Substitutes not used: Jeff Attinella; Abdoulie Mansally; Sebastian Velasquez, Devon Sandoval, Robbie Sandoval

Seattle Sounders FC (4-4-2): Stefan Frei; DeAndre Yedlin, Zach Scott, Leo Gonzalez (Aaron Kovar, 88’), Chad Marshall; Brad Evans (Andy Rose, 45’), Osvaldo Alonso, Gonzalo Pineda, Lama Neagle (Chad Barrett, 62’); Clint Dempsey, Kenny Cooper

Substitutes not used: Marcus Hahnemann; Jalil Anibaba, Micahel Azira, Djimi Traore

Real Salt Lake vs Seattle Sounders (8-16-2014) Real Salt Lake vs Seattle Sounders (8-16-2014) Real Salt Lake vs Seattle Sounders (8-16-2014) Real Salt Lake vs Seattle Sounders (8-16-2014) Real Salt Lake vs Seattle Sounders (8-16-2014) Real Salt Lake vs Seattle Sounders (8-16-2014) Real Salt Lake vs Seattle Sounders (8-16-2014) Real Salt Lake vs Seattle Sounders (8-16-2014) Real Salt Lake vs Seattle Sounders (8-16-2014) Real Salt Lake vs Seattle Sounders (8-16-2014) Real Salt Lake vs Seattle Sounders (8-16-2014) Real Salt Lake vs Seattle Sounders (8-16-2014) Real Salt Lake vs Seattle Sounders (8-16-2014) Real Salt Lake vs Seattle Sounders (8-16-2014) Real Salt Lake vs Seattle Sounders (8-16-2014) Real Salt Lake vs Seattle Sounders (8-16-2014) IMG_0690 Real Salt Lake vs Seattle Sounders (8-16-2014)

Quotes from the Match

Real Salt Lake Head Coach Jeff Cassar

On where the club would be without FW Joao Plata:

“I think the team would be in a similar position.  Obviously, it’s not about one individual, for sure, but Joao [Plata] is playing at an extremely high level every game.  He’s being consistent.  Obviously, I love balls going in the back of the net, but I appreciate his work on the defensive side as well.  Whether it’s helping out a defensive midfielder or chasing an outside back, he’s playing at an extremely high level right now.”

On whether MF Luke Mulholland has exceeded expectations (as the coach who scouted him):

“It’s never an exact science, that’s for sure.  You just put in the man-hours watching someone play, you know the system that you play, and you factor in character.  Luke [Mulholland] has it all.  He’s got that fight in him, spirit, he’s a perfect two-way midfielder.  Even though he played pretty much attacking midfielder for [the Tampa Bay Rowdies], he had all the characteristics to be a two-way midfielder.  You never know, but it’s a credit to him – it’s a credit to his teammates for welcoming him to the team – and he’s really adapted amazingly.”

On Real Salt Lake’s offensive outburst in the beginning of the second half, including FW Joao Plata’s goal:

“That’s what we talked about at halftime: the quality of the final ball.  That’s what’s going to lead to a better finish by our forwards.  It was an excellent ball from Luke [Mulholland], and an excellent finish from Joao [Plata].  We were knocking on the door, and we felt that we were going to get stronger as the game went on, and we did.”

On MF Luis Gil’s performance in place of the injured MF Javier Morales:

“It was a really solid performance.  He played 90 minutes on Tuesday, turned around and played 90 again, and it shows that he’s being able to contribute for the entire game.  I thought [Seattle] did a good job of closing him off with [Osvaldo] Alonso and Gonzalo [Pineda], but he kept moving and kept plugging.  It was a beautiful ball from him on the goal, and he’s really starting to turn up his game.”

On FW Joao Plata with a header goal for the second consecutive week:

“We’re doing a really good job of getting excellent service.  We’re getting excellent, committed runs.  Sometimes there’s a little element of surprise, with people showing up in different spots.  It was a great finish.”

On whether the 4-0 loss to Seattle in May played into today’s performance:

“We really weren’t concentrated on that, we were just concentrated on getting the three points at home.  Obviously, throughout the year, you want to win each series that you play with teams.  You want to come out ahead.  We’re playing Seattle twice [in Seattle], once [in Salt Lake], and right now it’s tied up.  We want to make sure we go in there and get a result, or possibly win – hopefully win – but if you win every series, you’re going to be doing pretty good at the end of the year.  It was a great way for us to get three points, get in the hunt of the Supporters’ Shield and be in first place for a little while.”

On how the forwards are learning to play off each other:

“I think they are getting accustomed to each other.  They’re starting to recognize that, when one does one thing, the other is going to be doing something else.  All four of them, right now, are creating nice partnerships with each other.  I hope that continues.  The spirit of the team – the forwards and midfielders – is fantastic.  We want to continue that.”

On how past late-game collapses prepared them to withstand Seattle’s late charge:

“Without a doubt.  We always are learning from our mistakes – even from doing things positive.  What are we doing well, what are we doing wrong, how we start games.’  I thought the first half was very workman-like on both sides.  We were kind of feeling each other out.  We knew we were going to get stronger.  We wanted to keep pressing them, keep staying on top of them, and try to punish them when we had those chances.  As far as finishing out the game, people like Cole Grossman can slide next to Kyle [Beckerman] and kind of change shape and lessen the load on him a bit towards the end of the game.  Then Robbie Findley comes on and puts in a tremendous amount of work.  It’s all coming together right now.  We are learning from our mistakes and are getting stronger.”

On what has contributed to the team’s current six-game unbeaten streak:

“I think it’s just commitment to both sides of the ball.  We obviously want to get back to getting shutouts, after we had a stretch when we didn’t have a few.  That game against Colorado really helped out, because we could just buckle down and just play defense.  From that, we’re building offensively.  Right now, it’s clicking.”

On whether Javier Morales was truly a ‘game time decision:’

“I had a feeling [Friday] that he wasn’t going to play.  He made several efforts to try, but something just wasn’t right.  He was improving, but he just wasn’t improving greatly. This week, he’s going to take off and we’ll re-evaluate him on Monday or Tuesday.  I know he’s gutted not to be out there.  It’s great that we got the three points without him.  I’d anticipate he’s going to be more involved next week, and I sure hope so, but I’m not sure.”

On how his team will approach the final couple of months of the regular season:

“These game really are six-pointers the rest of the way.  You can really start putting some distance from other teams.  Right now, we are six points ahead of Dallas – that’s an important game.  It’s a massive game.  There are less and less available games to play.  I think guys are starting to smell it, and feel it.  Right now, it’s about getting our bodies right and making sure we’ve recovered as best as we can – it’s going to be a hot game in Dallas – and making sure we refreshed and focused on a very dangerous team.”

On the team’s response after conceding the goal to bring the game to a 2-1 score:

“I’m definitely pleased with them not getting a second goal.  There are coaching points on that goal they scored.  At that point, they weren’t really penetrating on us, they weren’t bringing too much danger to our goal.  We can’t give them that goal – I felt that goal was gifted a little bit – so there were a few errors on that.  After that, the guys regrouped, which I’m really pleased with, and they gutted it out.”

Real Salt Lake MF Kyle Beckerman

On taking three points from Seattle today:

“We earned the right to have a home game. We were nine points away from Seattle not too long ago, and now we’re here and we have a home game where we can overtake them. We were really up for it. We felt that this was an opportunity that we earned.”

On seeing another header from Joao Plata:

“I couldn’t believe it was him again.  He can score goals from any way and he has shown that this year. Left foot, right foot, and now with his head. He’s a special player. We’ve been leaning on him for goals this year and we’re going to continue to lean on him. I think he’s got a couple more in him, with his head or with his feet, it doesn’t matter. He’ll find a way to get it in. They’re going to have to put Chad Marshall on Joao next time we play.”

On the Supporters’ Shield race:

“This win puts us in a good position.  We had to climb back into it because we had fallen behind. Seattle went on a nice run to put themselves up there. We had to put in some work to get into a position to at least get in the talk. It’s not finished by any means, but today we took a good step forward to be in the talk when there are four or five games left.”

Real Salt Lake GK Nick Rimando

On winning a quality team:

“It’s a good win for sure. It’s a six-point game first off in the west coast and it’s very tight right now up top, so we wanted to come out and get three points and the guys commitment was great, although in my opinion we let in a very weak goal. We hung out there in the end was able to get the three points.”

On trying to win the Supporters’ Shield:

“It’s a game that we wanted to win, but not a must win. There’s lots of games left. I think we’re striving at the right time and we focused on this game and kind of just improving from the last.”

On not having any goals scored in the first half:

“We knew it was going to come. The way we were playing we were pressing and defending, and how organized we were. Everything was clicking for us in the first half. It was only a matter of time for us to get one to the back of the net.  The guys were consistent on pressing, and [the goals] came.”

On the back line containing Clint Dempsey:

“Whenever he got on the ball we get somebody in his face.  Someone is stepping on his toes, and making sure if he’s playing, he’s playing backwards. But everybody did well in the back. Obviously they got one goal, but with the firepower they have, usually they’re knocking a couple in the game, so it was good to get the victory especially in front of our fans.”

Real Salt Lake DF Chris Wingert

On the race for the Supporters’ Shield:

“I’m going to be surprised if Kansas City doesn’t win it, because I think they’re a very good team, and I think that the West is better, so every game here on out I’m pretty sure is against the West. And I’m assuming that is going to be the case with a lot of teams a lot of their schedule. So I think it’s going to be tough for somebody in the West to win. Who knows? We can’t worry about what’s going on in the East. So with a few games to go for up there, of course it’s going to be a huge accomplishment. I won the Supporters’ Shield my rookie year, and I haven’t won it since. We’ve been close with this team a few times. A lot of ways I think that team deserves to win a trophy.  In our league it’s a little different, because we’re not playing everybody the same amount of times, but in some ways I think it shows who the best team is for the year. So I think it’s a huge accomplishment, and we will certainly be gunning for it if we’re in that position, but as cheesy as it sounds, or as cliché as it sounds, we just keep taking it week by week. There’s a lot of games to worry about.”

On FW Joao Plata and where RSL would be without him:

“It’s not just the goal scoring, which of course is the name of the game, but he is an animal of a competitor. I mean, I just love the way he competes. Like everything, his attitude. He’s on fire just as soon as we get into the huddle – he’s even like that with ping pong. But he’s an absolute monster. I mean he’s scoring on headers now. He’s holding the ball up against Chad Marshall. I mean, that is incredible at times. He’s running these guys into the corner against guys who are playing it fast. Guys like [DeAndre] Yedlin and whatever. Even if he doesn’t actually win the ball, just that effort makes such a big difference. I know as a defender sometimes you just have to kick it out of bounds, or we win the second ball or whatever. I don’t know where we would be. That’s a great position. We certainly wouldn’t be in the same position. As good as it is to score multiple goals in a game, which can be awesome, I think you have to say that it’s more important to be consistently scoring in numerous games because of that fact. And again today he gets one in a game and we win by a goal.  I would have to check, but I bet he’s done that in over half the games he’s scored for us.”

On watching Plata score his first header last week:

“I was actually up in Garth [Lagerwey]’s box when that happened. Obviously I missed the last game, and he said, that was a pretty great ball by Luke [Mulholland]. I said, let’s be honest. It’s got to be a great ball if it finds [Joao] Plata’s head in the box, but I mean some of that is goal scoring. [Chris] Wondolowski is unbelievable with his head. He’s not a real physically imposing guy, but he’s got great timing, but he gets in your blind spot, and he knows how to move the ball, and [Joao] Plata is the same way. I told my dad this last year; he only had a few goals, and I said, I’m telling you – this guy is a finisher. We see him at practice every day. And of course there is a difference between finishing in games and finishing in practice, but you can see how he strikes the ball, so to be honest it was a huge surprise for me.”

On the miscommunication on Seattle’s goal:

“It was my fault. What happened was the ball was played in behind [Chris] Schuler a little bit, so I was afraid. I should have just told him to get it, obviously they scored, but what happened was I was afraid he was going to have to clear it out for a corner, and I had a better angle on it. I didn’t realize that [Andy] Rose was right on me, so I tried to swing it up the field thinking that I had the better angle, so I called him off and then [Andy] Rose, I’d have to watch it again, but I think he just reached in and blocked it and it kind of went in. That’s what it was. A miscommunication.”

Seattle Sounders FC Head Coach Sigi Schmid

On the match as a whole:

“We knew it was going to be a tough game going in. I thought we managed the game pretty well in the first half. We knew they liked to put teams under a lot of pressure. The first 30 minutes, I thought we sustained that. We had some good counter chances as well. In the second half we made two individual mistakes. A player loses his mark on [Joao] Plata, and he heads it in. Then we have a ball that we can clear, and we don’t clear, so those two individual mistakes cost us.”

On the effect of that second Real Salt Lake goal on the team:

“I think the first goal was more important than the second. The first goal – and obviously there was that little five minute span where we took two goals – but the first goal was the one that, when you’re tired a little bit, having played a game on Wednesday, your third game in six days, that takes the air out of the balloon.”

On the decision to not have Marco Pappa in the 18 and to sub Brad Evans at half:

“[Marco] Pappa had a slight hamstring injury, that’s why we didn’t bring him. Evans came off at halftime for the same reason.”

On the spark and goal Chad Barrett provided:

“I think there were a lot of people involved in the goal. [Clint] Dempsey had a shot, [Nick] Rimando made a big save. Andy [Rose] had a header come off the post, and then Barrett cleaned it up, but that’s the effect we expect of him [Barrett]. I thought [Kenny] Cooper played well also today and did good stuff. We had chances. We had chances in the second half as well. We had a couple of good looks – the one that [Chad] Barrett just puts it across the box and so forth. I think when you consider everything: us having to travel, the amount of games we’ve played, and for us to come back from 2-0 to 2-1 and then continue to put chances forward, I thought it was a good character showing from the team.”

On FW Clint Dempsey’s involvement in the game:

“We need to get him the ball a little bit earlier. There is one pass in my mind, right at the beginning of the game. We play a ball outside and [Clint] Dempsey shows in the middle, and the guy misses the pass by five yards. We can’t do that. That’s something that we’ve got to connect to get ourselves into a good rhythm early and to get Clint [Dempsey] into a good rhythm early. Afterwards, he picked up the ball more in midfield, we changed into a 3-5-2 for like the last six, seven minutes. At the end of the day, today, it just wasn’t enough. I still thought we showed a lot of character out there.”

Seattle Sounders FC MF Lamar Neagle

On if it was difficult to settle into the game with RSL pressing so high:

“They put pressure on us. Obviously they had a run in the game in the first 15. I thought we had our chances as well in the first half.”

On if they can take pride in showing fight down the stretch:

“Obviously [fight and grit] is something that we bring to every single game. Unfortunate on a few things, myself obviously on the first goal. I still think we could have been better offensively. I definitely had chances I could have done better with.”

Seattle Sounders FC MF Andy Rose

On playing on the outside today as opposed to his usual central role:

“It’s very different. The way [RSL] plays, with a diamond midfield, I’m responsible for both the left midfielder pinching in and their left back. Obviously, when they’re winning they’re very good at keeping the ball. That means extra running, but I tried to stay wide, get the ball, and get us moving. I switched the play as much as I could. It was a tough game.”

On the spark Chad Barrett brings into games:

“He’s a brilliant player. He can certainly be a starter in this league, that’s for sure. He brings a wealth of experience and a lot of energy. He’s a really hard worker. He holds the ball up, understands how to bring other players into the game. I think his biggest asset for us is just he’s a great soccer mind really. He can bring other guys in, he can turn, can shoot, can finish. He’s definitely a huge part of the team.”

Seattle Sounders FC FW Clint Dempsey

On how they pushed forward at the end of the game:

“I just think the game, being at 12:30, takes a lot out of both teams. The heat and everything, it’s going to be a slow tempo game. For us, coming here and dealing with the altitude, we tried to manage that first half so we could make a push in the second. Obviously, you don’t want to concede two goals, but we tried to fight back, but at the end of the day, we didn’t have enough to make it happen.”

Real Salt Lake vs Seattle Sounders (8-16-2014) Real Salt Lake vs Seattle Sounders (8-16-2014) Real Salt Lake vs Seattle Sounders (8-16-2014) Real Salt Lake vs Seattle Sounders (8-16-2014) Real Salt Lake vs Seattle Sounders (8-16-2014)

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