Friday, September 26, 2008

A View From the Other Side: RSL vs San Jose

A View From the Other Side
Real Salt Lake -vs- San Jose Earthquakes
Courtesy of TyffaneeSue
Quakes fan, soccer mom, and referee whose enthusiastic screams are likely to blast your eardrums if you stand next to her on Saturday night.
Congress is debating a $700 billion bailout, your stocks have tanked, your mortgage is under water, and a nervous ennui permeates both the San Jose and Salt Lake boards. The SJ thread about our upcoming match devotes more pixels to the recently lengthened field and proposed stadium than to Saturday’s game, while the RSL thread spends way too much time debating the merits of watering the pitch. Both teams’ fans seem to be engaging in collective nail-biting, hoping our teams can pound out a few points in the handful of remaining games so that we can roll into the playoffs.

SJ fans all remember when RSL was the new kid in town and we felt kind of protective, watching you taking your baby steps. Now our roles are reversed, and you have given us a drubbing twice this season. But our boys have had two weeks to rest since the brutal Dynamo tie, and should be raring to show your guys what they can achieve when they aren’t playing on green concrete.

My friend guamster (posting on your board, no less) has predicted the following line-up:
Joe Cannon
Jason Hernandez, Nick Garcia, Ryan Cochrane, Eric Denton
Ronnie O'Brien, Ned Grabavoy, Francisco Lima, Darren Huckerby
Arturo Alvarez, Scott Sealy
I have to agree with him, given that our squad doesn’t have a lot of depth and we’ll be missing regular defenders Ramiro Corrales (injured) and James Riley (yellow cards). Expect to see forwards Ryan Johnson and Shea Salinas come off the bench when it’s time for some fresh legs or Ronnie’s ankle starts acting up. If our back line starts to fade a little, Kelly Gray may make an appearance, and you might also get a glimpse of the formidable Jovan Kirovski before the last whistle blows.

Players to watch: the amazing Huckerby, ever-wily RO’B, and the stopper to stop all stoppers, defender Garcia. Scott Sealy, Arturo Alvarez, and Francisco Lima – all players that have joined the Quakes since the last time our teams met – will be poised to take advantage of any momentary RSL lapses.

Those of you journeying to Santa Clara should be aware that Buck Shaw, our temporary home, is a kick-butt place to watch a game. Small, cozy, intense, oozing soccer mojo. Email me at and I’ll give you some insider parking tips. (Since my family parked for free at Rice-Eccles, I owe you.) Forecast says the temps will be in the 80s, but it cools down fast at night so bring a sweatshirt.

As for the game forecast: I’m not even going to pretend to guess what’s going to happen, but instead will quote the immortal words of your own keeptheslinrsl, who said: “So here is to us both making the playoffs and leaving teams like LA and Colorado wishing they weren't douche bags.”

Amen to that.