Tag Archives: Real Salt Lake

I’m Still Here

Ambrosia Tonkovich - Real Salt Lake/mlsfemale
Official Real Salt Lake Reporter

By Ambrosia Tonkovich // @heyambrosia

Wednesday, May 31: 5-1 Loss

Hey, it’s me again. It’s been a while, I’ve been on vacation. I’ll be honest, I’ve been glad I’ve been vacation. My team has… not been very good. We had a couple of wins, sure. But overall, it’s been pretty bad. This last game was a pretty good indicator of our performance.

I didn’t get a chance to watch this game live. I had made plans to go to a friend’s house ahead of time, and right before I was about to leave the house, I got a lovely notification three minutes into the game: Houston Dynamo 1, Real Salt Lake 0. But that’s not all. It was an own goal. Our very own Justin Schmidt scored an own goal to start what turned into what could be described as an embarrassment against RSL 3 minutes into the game.

I’ll be honest, I’m not the only one to label this game as such. Our very own coach, Mike Petke has said it, our player Tony Beltran has said it… we were a mess. I chose that moment to turn off most of the notifications for the game, head over to my friend’s house, and try to finish the evening in as blissful a bubble as I could. I kept checking my watch anyway, updating my friends (who don’t care since they don’t watch the sport), and slowly sinking more and more into the chair and a depression as time went on.

5-1 was the final score, with Houston dominating over RSL. Am I surprised? No. Is that frustrating? YUP. I’m pretty disappointed with the team’s performance this year. With the coach switch out, the younger players, and the slow but steady return of injured players I’ve been secretly hoping for a better, healthier team.

A couple of wins while I was on vacation kept me in light spirits. I didn’t completely want to get my hopes up, but eh, you win some, you lose some. But holy cow, I just finished watching the game just now and man… I heard ambulances going back and forth during the game and I can only imagine it was to help the obviously burned players off the field at the end of the match. 5-1 is just… painful.

Anyway, I do want to focus on a couple of things. Joao Plata did have a gorgeous free kick. Soared right between two Houston players, right over their shoulders, right into the goal. No one could do anything about it. It was his second goal of the season (I’m sad I wasn’t able to report on the first, he’s been obviously hungry for it), and I’m happy for him.

That was beautiful. The unfortunate part about his play this game though was his defense (or lack thereof) on the second goal that Houston scored. I’m not sure what happened, but there was a weird clearing, like the soccer ball was Moses and RSL players were the sea. Everyone just sort of… stopped. Cleared a path for that ball to go right on in the goal. I watched it a couple of times, and I still don’t get it.

The other thing I want to focus on, well, Matt Van Oekel did have a couple of good saves. Obviously that’s weird to type knowing that the scoreline is 5-1, but he did. It wasn’t just him back there, there is a defensive line for a reason, so he came up strong sometimes when they didn’t, and for that I need to give him props.

So… Anyway. All of this sounds like a big bash to my team. It’s not. Am I disappointed? Yep. For sure. Do I love them any less? Hell no. I’ve loved them for God knows how long. I’m not gonna stop now. Yeah, this is frustrating, but hey, way to help me build some thick skin, RSL. I’m still going to go to games, still going to chant, still going to lose my voice every home game, even when we lose.

Events this match:

3’ Goal (own) Schmidt 1-0

15′  Goal Alex 2-0

45′  Goal M. Manotas 3-0

52′  Goal E. Torres 4-0

54′  Yellow Card Sunny

57′  Yellow Card J. Cabezas

62′  Substitution: Out: M. Manotas In: B. García

63′  Goal Joao Plata 4-1

63′  Substitution: Out: Joao Plata In: Luis Silva

66′  Substitution: Out: Albert Rusnak In: José María Hernández

68′  Goal Leonardo 5-1

71′  Substitution: Out: A. Elis In: V. Sánchez

73′  Substitution: Out: Kyle Beckerman In: Omar Holness

79′  Yellow Card B. García

Featured image courtesy: @RealSaltLake

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Insert expletive here.

Ambrosia Tonkovich - Real Salt Lake/mlsfemale
Official Real Salt Lake Reporter

By Ambrosia Tonkovich // @heyambrosia

Saturday, April 29: 3-0 Loss

Well, I don’t know where to start. For the first time in eight matches against Sporting Kansas City, we finally lost to them. With 7 yellow cards between the two teams, the game ended in the 96th minute with a 3-0 lead from SKC.

With both Kyle Beckerman and Nick Rimando out on injury, I want to say it started off promising for Real Salt Lake fans, but I’ll be honest, it didn’t look that great from the beginning. SKC scored their first goal in the 17th minute (Benny Feilhaber) and boy was it pretty. I have to give credit where credit is due, I know I would’ve been proud if RSL had scored a goal that looked so good, so I couldn’t even be mad when that happened.

After this goal,  we started to gain a little bit more possession, with Joao Plata making sure to send in anything he could, and Yura Movsisyan almost making a shot that deflected off of Plata in the 29th minute. After a quick discussion, referees made the decision that Plata was in an offsides position and the goal didn’t count. The noise that came out of my mouth during that time was… something inhuman. I laughed at the whole thing, but it was understandable. But man it would’ve been nice to at least have one goal.

We still continued our theme of incomplete passes during the rest of the second half and finished the 45th with a 1.0 lead from SKC and a sad, but hopeful halftime gave me time to grieve.

Alas, our second half started off quick for SKC, they gained their second goal in the 52nd minute, courtesy of Dom Dwyer. Soon after that, Movsisyan signaled that he needed to be taken off at the 60th minute due to an injury, and Coach Mike Petke was forced to sub him out but brought in Luis Silva up front for the attack.

At the 90th minute they announced 5 minutes of stoppage time, and I groaned, but hoped that it would go quick. I was wrong. Right toward the end of stoppage, Gerso Fernandez was able to run past Matt Van Oekel who went out to get the ball but missed. There it was, 3-0 and just at the end of stoppage time. As soon as the whistle rang I turned off the TV.

Am I disappointed? Sure. There have been numerous players who have all agreed, everyone needs to step up. However, I continue to stick by our team during these growing pains with new players and 11 players of ours out on injury (the most in the league). Hopefully, we continue some conditional training to keep our current players around and out of injury trouble.

Match Events:

(SKC) 17′  Goal Benny Feilhaber 1-0

(RSL) 39′  Yellow Card Luke Mulholland

(SKC) 49′  Yellow Card Benny Feilhaber

(SKC) 51′  Goal Dominic Dwyer 2-0

(RSL) 51′  Yellow Card Demar Phillips

(SKC) 55′  Yellow Card R. Espinoza

(RSL) 55′  Yellow Card Yura Movsisyan

(RSL) 60′  Substitution: Out: Yura Movsisyan In: Luis Silva

(SKC) 69′  Yellow Card Graham Zusi

(SKC) 70′  Substitution: Out: R. Espinoza  In: Sony Mustivar

(RSL) 71′  Substitution: Out: Danilo Acosta  In S. Saucedo

(SKC) 79′  Substitution: Out J. Medranda In Daniel Salloi

(SKC) 84′  Yellow Card Gerso Fernandes

(RSL) 85′  Substitution: Out: Luke Mulholland In: José María Hernández

(SKC) 90′ + 1′  Substitution: Out: Dominic Dwyer In: Soony Saad

(SKC) 90′ + 5′  Goal Gerso Fernandes 3-0

Featured image courtesy: @RealSaltLake

Follow and chat with me on twitter // @heyambrosia

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Tie Games Are Our Specialty

Official Real Salt Lake Reporter

By Ambrosia Tonkovich @heyambrosia

Saturday, March 25: 0-0 draw

With interim coach Daryl Shore taking over after Jeff Cassar was fired after three games this season (and no games won since August last season) Real Salt Lake takes it on the road to New York to take on the Red Bulls, finishing with a 0-0 draw and their first road shutout since April 2015 against SportingKC.

RSL had 9 players out on either injury (Horst/Glad/Barrett –knee, Plata – hip, Beltran – back, Allen – quad), international duty (Rimando for USA & Rusnak for Slovakia) or from suspension (Beckerman). For RSL fans this game was a nail biter before it even began.

While we came out strong in the first half, we could not complete passes (5 players on the team had less than 50% pass success rate), nor could we seem to hit the back of the net, although we did have a fantastic debut from Matt VanOekel who had 3 very big saves during this game and became Man of the Match.

Our defense stepped up as well, with Aaron Maund clearing the ball 13 times alone (returning for the first time since August of last year, being out due to injury), and with a couple of great tackles by Chris Schuler. All in all we had 5 shots on target though they fell short of the back of the net, and we continued our card collecting with 5 cards collected this game from referee Chris Penso. Yellow cards were given to the following: Luke Mulholland (57’), Luis Silva (66’), Sunny (68’), Aaron Maund (70’), and Ricardo Velazco (87’).

We did see another debut for MLS Homegrown players, with Jose Hernandez coming in at the 73rd minute of play. This makes him the 7th player to make a club debut in the first 4 games of the season for RSL. With our team looking more and more to homegrown academy players, we are starting to play younger players, but also ones who have proven themselves over the years as they’ve worked their way up to RSL status.

All in all, I think RSL fans were expecting worse with the number of players out and the odds stacked against us. We retained a tight defense, even when things seemed to get a little hot headed up in front while scrambling for the ball between our own players. We did, however, need to work on our possession with us only having a 36% possession for the entire game.

Takeaways:

Brooks Lennon is FAST. Freaky fast. He and Saucedo showed their talents tonight with fancy footwork and constantly keeping up with a very talented Bradley Wright-Phillips. When Plata comes back he is going to have some very talented and fast teammates to work with.

-Matt VanOekel came out strong for his first RSL debut. He did our team, and Nick Rimando proud.

-We still dominate when it comes to collecting cards. This is not a good thing.

-Fans are getting tired of saying “At least we didn’t lose?” to people after games. We need to pull together against Minnesota United who have let 18 goals past them in the first four games of this season alone.

Featured image courtesy: Noah K. Murray/USA TODAY Sports

Follow and chat with me on twitter: @heyambrosia

Check us out on instagram! @mlsfemale

Subscribe + get caught up: Weekly Dispatch 2017

I Love This Game

Official Real Salt Lake Reporter
Official Real Salt Lake Reporter

By Ambrosia Tonkovich @heyambrosia

(February 7) – I’m sitting in my front room trying to put into words how it felt to go to my first game. How it felt to get into this sport for the first time.

As an American, obviously the sport wasn’t a primary sport like football or baseball was expected to be in my life. Let me paint you a picture of me, right this very second, as I write this.

I am a (late) 20-something female, sitting in front of my computer. A wall of Real Salt Lake scarves (8 to be exact) covers the wall to my left, a RSL tank top draped over me, and in front of me, various RSL memorabilia. Nick Rimando and Javier Morales (sigh) bobble heads, past season ticket holder gifts decorating bookshelves from previous years, and me with a tab open hoping that I get the RSL 2017 kit reveal soon.

I think I may be a little obsessed. Like a weird crush you can’t quite shake that texts you ‘what are you doing’ 7 times a day.

I’m the fan that talks about the team as “we”. “We” just acquired Brooks Lennon. I hope “we” are going to have a better year. “Our” season is almost here. I am part of the team at this point.

Come say 'Hi' if you see me at a game
Come say ‘Hi’ if you see me at a game

Of course I don’t play. No way I could, I am NOT that active, or talented. But I sweat and bleed Claret and Cobalt at this point. I go to the games on Saturday nights and watch them live, get in the car on the way home and watch the highlights, and Sunday morning I rack the game back up again and replay it again to see what I missed.

I love this game.

There is a reason they call this the beautiful game. This is a magical place to be. The people I have met here, the fellow fans, including ones from other teams… the passion that we all share; it has been incredible. So how do I portray how I feel about this game?

I can’t. You have to show up to a game. You have to watch the fans faces when we score, or when we miss a goal (see how I say “we” again?). You have to see the feeling of completion or heartbreak or devastation. You have to feel how magic it is.

It’s what makes me have a huge grin on my face as I type this with less than 3 weeks away before opening day. I can’t wait.

Come chat with me on twitter: @heyambrosia