February 16, 2013 - Major League Soccer (MLS) - Real Salt Lake
TUCSON, Ariz. (Saturday, Feb. 16, 2013) - Real Salt Lake lost 1-2 to Seattle Sounders FC on Saturday afternoon in a FC Tucson Desert Diamond Cup match at Kino Veterans Memorial Stadium.
RSL Head Coach Jason Kreis wasn't too bothered by the result, indicating after the match that he was pleased by the team's performance in some difficult conditions.
"We've been working our guys extremely hard," Kreis said. "Our training session [Friday] was like a normal training session and we don't ever do that going into a real match. We were asking a lot of our players tonight and I think we saw some things that led to some chances and goals against us, but that's o.k. because now we can talk about how to not allow those chances and those goals."
Kreis trotted out his best available lineup, beginning the match with nine expected opening day starters on the field. Seattle also ran out a strong First XI, starting regulars FW Eddie Johnson, MF Osvaldo Alonso and GK Michael Gspurning, amongst others.
The Claret-and-Cobalt had the first chance of the game, nearly going ahead in the 13th minute. MF Kyle Beckerman hit a corner kick to DF Kwame Watson-Siriboe, who headed just over the bar from the top of the six-yard-box.
RSL had a decent look in the 24th minute. FW Joao Plata had the chance, collecting a layoff 25 yards from goal and ripping a shot just wide of the left post.
Sounders FC had the next chance, getting a good look at goal in the 39th minute. Substitute DF DeAndre Yedlin hit a low cross from the right wing to FW David Estrada, who fired wide of the far post from the right side of the area.
Real Salt Lake made just one substitution at halftime, bringing on trialist MF Khari Stephenson for MF Yordany Alvarez. Seattle made a litany of changes at the break, bringing off all but four players who finished the first half on the field.
RSL nearly scored against Seattle's reserve-laden lineup in the 63rd minute. Beckerman played FW Alvaro Saborio through in the left side of the box, allowing the Costa Rican international to turn and fire a shot just wide of the top-left corner.
Seattle took the lead in the 65th minute. MF Mario Martinez had the goal, collecting a RSL clearance just outside the top of the area before smashing a beautiful left-footed half volley inside the right post. The strike was a near carbon copy of Martinez's goal that eliminated RSL from the 2012 MLS Cup Playoffs last November.
Sounders FC doubled its advantage just six minutes later. RSL GK Nick Rimando did well to get a hand to a hard Seattle shot, but could only parry the rebound into the center of the box. Seattle trialist FW Phillip Lund took full advantage, running onto the loose ball and slotting his shot home from 10 yards out.
RSL made nine changes shortly after Seattle's second goal. The reserves sparked the Claret-and-Cobalt, quickly creating a few decent opportunities before pulling a goal back through rookie MF John Stertzer in the 86th. Stephenson started the chance, hitting a deflected shot that Stertzer collected at the penalty spot before slotting home inside the left post. It was Stertzer's first professional goal.
Stertzer nearly equalized in the 89th minute, heading MF Cole Grossman's cross just over the bar from the left side of the area.
RSL is now 0-1-1 in the FC Tucson Desert Diamond Cup. The Claret-and-Cobalt will play its final DDC Group Stage match on Wednesday, when it will take on the New England Revolution at 5:00 p.m. MT at Kino Veterans Memorial Stadium. RSL will play in the DDC Final or 3rd Place match next Saturday, Feb. 23.