Despite playing down a man for over an hour of play, RSL pulled out what has to be one of their biggest wins of the season. A ridiculous mistake by the Chivas defense gave Saborio a cake walk of a goal. An equally ridiculous first touch by Borchers setup his ejection. In the end, the Sabo goal proved just enough and RSL walked out of the Home Depot Center with 3 points they desperately needed.This game was setup to be one of the more attractive matches of the weekend. Both sides like to posses the ball and build their attack through multiple passes. Early on, this was just the case. RSL would build an attack, Chivas would counter with their own. It was, for those first 15 or so minutes, some really nice soccer. Then came a sequence that will have Robin Fraser just shaking his head for the next full week. The outside left back for Chivas took the ball up the line, had no option, so decided to play a back pass. Instead of looking up, finding his center back, and playing a crisp ball on the ground, however, he played a no look driven ball back to where he thought his center back would be. Saborio was also in the area and, through some lucky bounces and an awful whiff by the Chivas center back, he was in on goal all by himself. A simple hesitation and side step past the keeper put him in and RSL up 1-0. It was a bit of luck that RSL had been missing quite a bit lately and was very much welcomed, and taken advantage of, by the squad.
Chivas came firing back and on two occasions nearly got an equalizer. A close range shot from their left wing was smothered by Rimando and Juan Pablo Angel saw his volley from the 18 just hit off the cross bar. The moment that defined the match, though, came shortly thereafter. Beckerman, under pressure, passed the ball back to Borchers. The ball must have had a lot more pace on it than Nat had expected because his first touch not only went into the middle of the pitch, but went roughly 10 yards away from him, right to the feet of Labrocca. Nat was the last man back and sprinted to make up for his mistake. He cut across the back of Labrocca while grabbing his jersey and dragged him down just outside the 18. Labrocca made sure to make the most of the contact, but there was indeed enough contact to constitute a foul. Stott, the center ref, really had no choice but to go to his back pocket and send of Borchers. A huge blow for the side that just got its other starting CB, Olave, back in action. RSL was now in a situation of defend first and look to counter.
To their credit, RSL did something that typically they aren't very capable of: defending for long stretches of time. For over an hour of play, RSL was able to stop Chivas from mounting anything serious. There were a few chances for Chivas, but ultimately nothing truly spectacular was required of Rimando or the back line to keep the clean sheet and the win. In the end, RSL worked as a unit incredibly well and got three points they most desperately needed.
Man of the Match: Jamison OlaveIn his first match back since picking up an injury at the all-star game, Olave showed why he is (in my opinion) the most important piece of our defense. Lots of players for RSL were deserving of this reward: Espindola, Saborio, Beltran, and Johnson just to name a few. The key difference between this match and the one in Houston, however, was the presence of "The Verb". With Olave, our defense goes from decent to really good.
Wankers of the Match: Chivas USA
It seems all the hard work this club has put together over the past couple of months went to waste in two matches in the same week. At Portland they couldn't defend properly on a set piece or finish a host of chances to at least get a point. Against RSL, at home, they couldn't find a way to score against a team playing a man down for over an hour. Fraser had this unit moving in the right direction, but it seems these last two games could really be what separates them from a wild card spot and watching the playoffs from home.
Looking Forward: Big Weekend
Despite getting the full 3 points in this game, RSL finds themselves in a position in which they really need to get the full 3 points in any game at the RioT. When they host Philly this weekend, that task will be even more difficult than it typically would. RSL will be missing, due to international duty, the following players: Will Johnson, Alvaro Saborio, Arturo Alvarez, and Jean Alexandre. Three of those players were starters in the last match and the other, Jean, was slated as a super sub. Beckerman was originally on this list, but Kreis made a phone call to Klinnsman essentially begging him to let Kyle stay home for this game - thus missing the US game vs Costa Rica. Interestingly enough, Saborio, who was called up by Costa Rica, wasn't asked to stay back. To get the full 3 points, some bench players will really have to step it up for RSL. Philly is a decent side and is in need of points to keep a spot in the East. I think the guys are capable of doing it, but it will take an even better effort than they put in down at LA to do so.
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