By: Jae Groll
RSL beat a 9 man Chivas side 1-0 Saturday afternoon on a beautiful spring day in the Rockies.
The win came with a devastating loss however as RSL midfielder Javi Morales left the game late in the first half with a severe ankle injury that may end his season.
The game started out as most of the affairs between these two expansion sides usually do, with lots of rough play. Will Johnson started things out with a tough tackle that deserved a yellow card but incidentally only garnered a stern warning.
After that the tackles came in hard and fast. It was unfortunate that referee Paul Ward couldn’t get control of the match early. His ineptitude came back to haunt RSL on 37′. After already handing out 2 yellows and a red card to Chivas , Goats midfielder Marcos Mondaini was beaten badly by Morales at the top of the box. Riding in his wake Mondaini lashed out with what can only be described as a horribly cheap tackle from behind that left the RSL talisman writhing on the ground.
RSL team doctor Drew Cooper later described the injury as a fractured dislocation and mentioned that the time frame for recovery on this type of injury would likely mean that Morales’ season is over.
After the game RSL coach Jason Kreis commented on how the injury took an emotional toll on his team. “It’s difficult, difficult to deal with. You could see the emotion on a lot of the players. A lot of difficult things happening to us at the moment.”
With the 2 man advantage, the second half went as expected. Chivas with 8 players stacked on the edge of their own box and RSL having to uncharacteristically play wide balls for crosses. They dominated possession and peppered the Chivas goal with shots but could not find a way through.
As time was getting short so were the nerves of the Real Salt Lake faithful that turned out in their usual manner. Finally in the 87′ Nat Borchers found Will Johnson standing on the doorstep of the Chivas goal for an easy put in.
RSL took the three points to sit at 15 points on 6 games. They next host the Houston Dynamo in a weeks time. Jason Kreis has his work cut out for him.