Tag Archives: Real Salt Lake

Revolution Road Trip: Five Things We Learned

By Kevin Koczwara


The New England Revolution has lost four of the last five games, but the  team continues to show light and impress the eye despite not getting the deserved results. An impressive mid-week win over the Colorado Rapids set the stage for a highly anticipated match at Rio Tinto Stadium in Salt Lake City with Western Conference powerhouse Real Salt Lake.  The Revolution took the lead but ended up falling to RSL, 2-1. The game was an open affair, the kind of game New England will have the upper-hand on for the most part with its talented midfield.

Here are five things to take away from the busy week/weekend.

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MLS MVP Candidates

By Kevin Koczwara

The MLS Season is coming to a close, which means it’s time to start sorting out annual end of the year awards. The biggest award, and often most misunderstood award, is the Most Valuable Player Award. The award tends to go to goalscorers with gaudy stats rather than player who may be more integral to his team’s success. Well, this year, two of my three picks are holding midfielders because Major League Soccer hasn’t had a real stand-out forward all year.

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New England Revolution in sad state of affairs

Marko Perovic was the New England Revolution's one attacking bright spot last season. He was let go by the team after it chose not to renew his contract at the midpoint of the season. His season ending injury and subsiquent release have clouded an already dismal season for New England. (Courtesy the New England Revolution)

By Ryan Fleming

Folks, you are witnessing the lowest of the low when it comes to the New England Revolution. Monday night’s 3-3 tie to Real Salt Lake simply highlighted what the small crowds at Gillette turn up to see. Some say the players are half-hearted, yielding up to tackles, not finishing runs or just plain giving up. Whatever the reason is, the Revs (3-8-7, 16 pts. and last in the Eastern Conference) aren’t getting it done on the field.

A week after the “Fortgate” incident at Gillette, supporters will surely be up in arms again, but instead this time complaining that the product being tested, and often defeated on the field, just simply isn’t good enough. Even acquisition of Benny Feilhaber isn’t enough. Luck isn’t enough — last night’s early straight red card to Nate Borchers, a 2-0 lead and apparently going ahead two times to a team playing with 10 men wasn’t enough.

The Revs gave silly balls away, turning over possession to a RSL side that is nearly impossible to beat at home and not to mention the team got an extra lift as it was retiring manager Jason Kreis’s No. 9 jersey after the game. To be up a man, the Revs surely didn’t play like it, owning only 33 percent of possession, and continuously looking as awkward as a teenager on their first date.

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MLS 2011 Season Preview: Western Conference

Major League Soccer's Western Conference outshone the East last season, look for it to do the same this year as many of the teams only got better. (Courtesy Major League Soccer)

By Kevin Koczwara

There’s no disputing that the Western Conference was the better than the East last year. The two MLS Cup finalist teams, FC Dallas and the Colorado Rapids, were both from the West and so was the top two teams in the regular season, the Los Angeles Galaxy and Real Salt Lake. The West had six of the best eight teams in the league last year. This year looks no different. In fact, many of the teams out west have improved this offseason.

There is a major shake-up in the west though. With the addition of teams in Portland and Vancouver, the Western Conference has a true rivalry in the works in the Northwest and potentially two teams looking to follow the Seattle Sounders’s model and come out swinging from the first whistle, upsetting the established balance.

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Emptying out the top-drawer; thoughts on soccer world March 2011

By Kevin Koczwara

This will be a monthly column, I hope, where I dump out the random thoughts I have accrued over the last month. These thoughts are the ones I’ve tried to write columns about and have failed to materialize into anything tangible or readable.

Let’s begin with Arsenal.

Arsenal boggle the mind. The Gunners lose to Birmingham City in the League Cup final on one of the year’s most laughable goals. Then they go on and smash Leyton Orient in what should have been an unneeded FA Cup replay, 5-0, and Nicklas Bendtner scores a hat-trick. Why is the thrashing of Orient a surprise? Well, Bendtner scored a hat-trick. That’s why. It’s an absolute shock he can put together three goals in one game at times. He fumbles over his feet, misplaces passes more often Jake Delhomme, and he isn’t very good int he air despite his height.

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Three things we learned about the Crew and Real Salt Lake

By Ryan Fleming

For the first competitive match of the new season, the CONCACAF Champions League matchup between the Columbus Crew and Real Salt Lake, we saw exactly what many expected and a little of a different color. In a scoreless 0-0 tie, one could still make a fair amount of the play.

1. Columbus showed they came to play. Before the game many were leaning toward a more dominant performance from the away, RSL. The revamped Crew showed it had other plans. More specifically, with Andres Mendoza and Emilio Renteria as up-front options, the Crew don’t only have a bit of skill, but a lot of speed to boot. When midfielder Eddie Gaven and Emmanuel Ekpo begin to get their feet under them, Columbus could prove a few people wrong this season despite losing playmaker Guillermo Barros Schelotto.

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Findley needs to improve and impress at Nottingham Forest

By Kevin Koczwara

Robbie Findley had a forgettable season in 2010 for Real Salt Lake. He managed to score just six goals in 36 appearances. English Championship — England’s second-tier professional league — side Nottingham Forest wasn’t deterred from signing the 25-year-old after Findley impressed the team’s staff during a trial. Forest signed the former MLS star to a 2-year contract pending the player’s work permit.

Findley was selected by Major League Soccer expansion side, Portland Timbers, earlier this month during the MLS’s expansion draft in hopes that the speedy forward may forgo interest from European teams and solidify the Timbers as a real threat for the MLS Cup in its first year. Portland knew what it was getting itself into when team executives selected the U.S. Men’s National Team forward, and in all fairness, encouraged the player to explore his options. A move to England has been part of the player’s plans since last season and his inclusion in the U.S.’s World Cup squad this summer only helped Findley get the offers he needed.

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FC Dallas, Colorado Looking to MLS Cup

Kosuke Kimura displays the MLS Eastern Conference Trophy after his Colorado Rapids defeated the San Jose Earthquakes last week. (Photo Courtesy Colorado Rapids/MLS)

By Ryan Fleming

Colorado has been there before. Dallas has not.

Dallas posted an unbeaten streak of 19 (20, if you want to count its 1-1 friendly against Inter Milan). Colorado had a mere streak of five – impressive in its own right, but not as dominating.

Come Sunday, dismiss all the numbers, all the stats, the “should-haves” and “did-nots,” and focus on the Rapids and the Hoops. No more analyzing the past, but hanging on the present as both sides battle for the MLS Cup.
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How the West Will Be Won; MLS Cup Playoffs Continue

By Kevin Koczwara

So far my predictions haven’t played out so well. I thought New York would be able to walk over San Jose on Thursday night. I was wrong. San Jose stormed into New York and got the two goal win the team needed after falling behind, 1-0, in the home leg less then a week earlier.

The Quakes, 3-1, win in New York was astonishing and entertaining as Bobby Convey put on his best Steven Gerrard performance.

Both Gerrard and Convey almost single-handily took their team from the brink of lossing, and put the game on their shoulders.

Gerrard’s second half hat-trick in Liverpool’s 3-1 win at Anfield over Napoli in a UEFA Cup match was just another miracle moment for the 30-year-old. Coming on as a substitute and leading the Reds back from the brink of a loss isn’t anything new for him – check 2005 Champions League Final and the 2006 FA Cup win over West Ham, just for a few.

Convey did similar to Gerrard on Thursday in New York, but with a twist. Convey and the Quakes were down a goal and playing at a raucous Red Bull Arena, yet Convey pulled his team level on aggregate with a 6th minute goal from just inside the box.

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Kyle Beckerman's Journey to the Top of Major League Soccer

Kyle Beckerman celebrates Real Salt Lake's MLS Cup Championship victory in 2009. Beckerman was traded by the Colorado Rapids to RSL in 2007. Courtesy Real Salt Lake

By Kevin Koczwara

The 2009 season was a dream come true for Kyle Beckerman and Real Salt Lake. The team snuck into the MLS Cup playoffs as the last team to qualify. RSL had to go through Supporter’s Shield winners, (awarded to the best team of the regular season) Columbus Crew, to start. The team did that and made it all the way to the MLS Cup final where Beckerman and company had to take on the heavily favored Los Angeles Galaxy with American soccer icon Landon Donovan and English import, and tabloid favorite, David Beckham.

Beckerman lead the charge against the Galaxy as the captain of Salt Lake. Real went onto surprise just about everyone, beating the titanic duo of Beckham and Donovan, claiming the team’s first piece of silverware in club history.

Since the historic win, Real Salt Lake hasn’t looked back. The team finished second to Los Angeles in the MLS regular season with 56 points (15-4-11) and a record for fewest goals allowed in a season with 20 goals allowed in 30 games – a staggering .66 goals against average – and became the first North American soccer team to win its group in the CONCACAF Champions League group stage.

“The biggest thing was it [the playoffs last year] helped us turn the corner for road games. That was our biggest problem in the past few years and is why we struggled to get into the playoffs [last season],” said Beckerman. “It was the road form, once we did that [started winning on the road] we turned a corner. We really grew up in the playoffs last year and we were able to get the results in the playoffs. We have transferred that into this season, and we haven’t stopped. Now, we defend better and we’re more mature as a team.”

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