Monday, April 14, 2008

RSL wins big in First Win of Season

Real Salt Lake, Utah's second professional sports team behind the well-established Utah Jazz, put two-and-two together in their third game of the season, routing defending MLS Supporter's Shield winner D.C. United, 4-0.

Kyle Beckerman, RSL's star midfielder who rose to national fame following Real's blowout trade with the Colorado Rapids last season, had two goals. The first came early, 12 minutes into the game, when Dema Kovalenko sent a ball blazing across the field to Beckerman's magic toe, before finding the net behind D.C. GK Jose Carvallo, who also had two saves.

“Tonight it all came together," Beckerman said after the game, "I don’t think it was our best performance soccer-wise, but as a team we fought and had a good spirit. The team’s spirit was just excellent tonight.”

Newcomer Fabian Espindola of Argentina knotted his first goal with Real Salt Lake, as he broke away in the 19th minute to receive a second pass from Kovalenko and tap the ball into the right corner.

“It was a long pass from Dema [Kovalenko]," Espindola said. "I put it down on the ground, did a little turn and just took a shot. Luckily I was able to get across on it and put it off the goalkeeper’s hands.”

Goalkeeper and team veteran Nick Rimando said this home win was crucial to RSL, hoping it will get fans more behind the team, and show them this year's squad is different from the past.

“It’s always good getting that first victory," Rimando said. "You get a tie and a loss and now you’re fighting to get three points. We knew we had to play well in front of our fans and play well for us because we believed in ourselves and we knew that we were the better team in those two games and tonight we proved it to ourselves.”

Beckerman's second goal came during the 78th minute, with help from D Nat Borchers and F Robbie Findley. Findley tapped in RSL's final goal late, an unassisted blast in the 87th minute that sealed the deal for Real's biggest win yet.

RSL will hit the road for a two consecutive weeks, going north of the border to battle Toronto FC April 19, and then looking for another win over D.C., April 30 in the nation's capital. All games will be broadcast live on KALL 700 AM radio.

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