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Real Salt Lake: Mathis is making a difference for RSL

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  • Full90
    Nov. 6, 2008 6:19 a.m.

    I admire your attempt at journalistic objectivity, James, but in your heart of hearts you must know the story. Opinion on Mathis is not mixed. Ninety percent of the fans hate him. He did give us 60 good minutes last week, but over the rest of that 11 game span he's been very poor. Yet Kreis is saying he's done everything asked of him? Wasn't the same said of Kenny Cutler earlier in the year, when he was defining mediocrity on the pitch? I'm assuming the following were not asked of Mathis: tackling, closing down opponents, winning balls in the air, running for his teammates, assisting teammates on goal, and scoring. And stop saying we hate Mathis because of his last stint in town. That's ancient history at this club. We hate him because of what he's doing on the pitch this season. Loafing will never win over fans.

  • mathis
    Nov. 6, 2008 6:23 a.m.

    i hope you get a goal this weekend and shut everyone up

  • Runnerboy3118
    Nov. 6, 2008 7:30 a.m.

    Mathis is doing great, it took him only a few games to get going and now he is rolling. Full90 I think you might have tunnel vision. Mathis has been working extremly hard, and it will pay off.

  • sockernut
    Nov. 6, 2008 7:43 a.m.

    His hard work ethic, doing all the 'little things', but just not scoring reminds me of somebody else, The Dr., and you know where he is? THE BENCH! But The Dr. has actually scored a few goals for us. A strikers job is to score goals, period. Midfielders can get away with not scoring goals if they have great possesion, ball handling, etc, etc. but if youre going to play up top you got to put the ball in the back of the net. Until Cleetus does that I'm unconvinced of his ability to help this team.

  • georg
    Nov. 6, 2008 7:46 a.m.

    I have been one of those fans who has been very critical of Mathis. Too Much mouth not enough production, but after watching the game against Chivas on FSC I have to say Mathis is playing much better and was very dangerous in putting the ball at the feet of teamates. Lets hope he continues to produce this weekend and maybe even get a assist or goal. GO RSL!!!!

  • Re:full90
    Nov. 6, 2008 7:55 a.m.

    You're a poor judge of effort and results of a soccer player. I'm in section 36 around row 5 so come sit with me for a game next season and I'll teach you about on and off the ball aspects of being a good soccer player. Goals and assists are great but so is having an undeniably positive impact on a team: see Emile Heskey, England national team.
    He hasn't scored yet but if you try and say he hasn't contributed positively you're just wrong (and I can help b/c I AM a good judge of effort and results of soccer players).

  • Nussdorfer AC
    Nov. 6, 2008 8:27 a.m.

    I still have a slightly critical eye for Mathis, but he did play well last week against Chivas with a bit of criticism coming from the missed "glorious" opportunity which came from Yura's pass. He should have put that one it, it was a better angle than Findley's. It should have be mentioned in the article.

    Also, I do agree with the Heskey comparison (although Heskey has done much much more).

  • Positives
    Nov. 6, 2008 8:29 a.m.

    Talk to a good soccer mind in the state....ANY good soccer mind in the state, and they'll tell you that Mathis isn't getting it done.

    Effort? Yes. Defense? Yes. Possession? Yes. Production? Uuuuh.....not so much.

    It's nice when a striker brings "intangibles" to the game, but in the end, strikers should be measured by one thing: Production. Or put it this way: If RSL had 11 players who did the little things but didn't produce, they wouldn't have won a single game all year.

    And if you want intangibles but no production, why not put Deuchar on the field? Sorry, Mathis isn't doing anything better than Deuchar this year.

    Hopefully Espindola is back soon so we can put this debate to rest, but in the meantime, I'd rather see Deuchar than Mathis.

  • He's Improved
    Nov. 6, 2008 8:33 a.m.

    I think what is frustrating is when Mathis puts out the kind of effort we saw against Chivas last week. His energy and aggression were terrific. Up until last week his effort has been very patchy.

    That being said, if he plays that way again this week I've no problem with him starting.

  • unh
    Nov. 6, 2008 8:47 a.m.

    Have we been watching the same Mathis? He is old and slow, we would have better offense if Findley started. Mathis is washed up.

  • Tut
    Nov. 6, 2008 8:57 a.m.

    I strongly agree. Mathis has improved with each game. And he looked great against Chivas. His experience and the will to win is coming out even more in the playoffs. I hope to see him continue this trend on Saturday.

  • Mathis isn't worth defending
    Nov. 6, 2008 8:57 a.m.

    He isn't going to be the savior of this team. He isn't good enough, young enough or smart enough. A whole article on him? Come on. The only thing that explains Mathis' starting position is the coach's man crush on him. He has great legs, right?
    What's next, an article on Williams? He hasn't scored many goals either and has equally crappy stats on assists.
    However, Williams also played well against Chivas so why not write a flattering article about another soon-to-be washed up player.
    What about the team's future? Where is it? Not in Williams and Mathis don't have three more season in them.
    It is a great year for RSL but the focus should be in the future, not the past. GO REAL!. Roast some goat on this weekend.

  • anti-full90
    Nov. 6, 2008 9:01 a.m.

    I am a diehard fan and I like Mathis. He has always had skill, vision and attitude. Now, this time around, it appears he has heart and a work ethic to boot. He is an asset and if you watch the game as an educated soccer person, you'll see that.

  • Cam
    Nov. 6, 2008 9:07 a.m.

    Mathis has the potential to do something amazing (i.e. his attempted bicycle kick against chivas last week...if that goes in, he'd be the talk of the team). But how many games is it going to take? I appreciate all the intangibles and he did play well last week. But in order to win back the fans, he's going to have to start producing. I want to see him put away a spectacular game winner during the playoffs so I can really get behind him.

  • Justin
    Nov. 6, 2008 9:11 a.m.

    Mathis did have decent ball control and lots of effort. However, he's playing the roll of a striker with no goals or assists. Effort and ball control are for the midfielders. I have no problem dropping him back to a wing possible subbing with Williams at the half. But until he starts getting shots in the back of the net. He has no place up front. We have too many strikers that are capable of getting the ball in the net that sit on the bench game in and game out so that Mathis (Kries' BFF) can start up top.

  • Coming Back Around
    Nov. 6, 2008 9:27 a.m.

    Mathis used to be one of my favorite players with the US . . . just like Ellinger on the coaching side of things. I had played for Ellinger (well, tried out as a regional team player, but didn't make the national team he coached) and played with Mathis a few times. I loved them and was excited for that first season.

    But then Mathis was horrible, and Ellinger had a rough time adjusting to MLS. I ended up feeling sorry for Ellinger, but despising Mathis.

    It's been hard for me to come around this time. But he has been working hard. He's lost weight. He's keeping his mouth shut. He's leading. He's still not what he used to be, but he's now a positive on RSL's roster.

    Having said that, I think the comparisons to Deuchar are fair. Obviously Yura deserves a starting spot, but it's hard to argue that Espindola and/or Findlay wouldn't be at least as effective -- especially Espindola, who is a much more all-around player than Findlay.

    But I must admit, it's great to have the problem of too many strong forward, as oppossed to the reverse.

    GO RSL!!!

  • Striker?!?!?
    Nov. 6, 2008 10:03 a.m.

    Yura Movsisyan is playing the role of striker.

  • RSL Ulty fan
    Nov. 6, 2008 10:27 a.m.

    Mathis contributes on the field even though people think it is only about goals. I admit he has missed some great opportunities to score, but he is also creating those opportunities. I, for one, think he is contributing in a major way to the team. Just like Dr. Goal was. Dr. Goal wins in the air, which goes unrecognized.

  • 20 Minutes
    Nov. 6, 2008 10:39 a.m.

    Mathis should be playing the last 20 minutes of the game. He doesn't defend, occasionally plays decent long and through balls but isn't worth a start.

    When Cleetus usedtocould play he was all right. He's not really a threat anymore offensively. He's more of a liability with his lack of effort and ability to defend.

  • re:Full90
    Nov. 6, 2008 10:41 a.m.

    I think you are wrong saying that 90% of fans hate Mathis. I for one have seen what he has brought to the field and support having him out there. Do I think he should be playing 90? No. But he is definitely earned his spot in the starting 11.

  • Mathis isn't a striker
    Nov. 6, 2008 10:54 a.m.

    To all the soccer folks:

    Mathis isn't playing striker in a traditional 4-4-2. If you watch where he is on the feild and where he goes, he is playing as a freelance attackig mid in a 4-5-1 or a 4-4-1-1. He isn't playing centermid like Javi or an outside mid. He is actually playing diagonal from Javi and makes a lot of combination plays with Javi, beckerman and the outside mids. If you watch what he does, he backtracks toward the mids when we are in possession and holds the ball up until the outside mids and/or wingbacks get far enough up the feild to help with possession. He is playing an important position for a team built to play at RES, which is now playing on wider fields. He isn't a stiker, and he isn't being asked to score goals. He is being asked to play a positional and possesion game, and he is doing a great job. He caused problems for CRapids and Chivas. BTW- his pass to Wingert lead to the Will-J volley goal. So, even if not credited with an assist, assist he did. Directly.
    @Crapids: Mathis won header on corners, header

  • MathisMania
    Nov. 6, 2008 11:36 a.m.

    Mathis is the purest American born "soccer" player ever. Just ask Donovan. There are a lot of players in this league that run at 100mph with 50mph skills and 10mph vision. Mathis runs at 50mph with 80mph skills and 90mph vision. I take the later anytime and let the other idiots do the running for him.

  • bobcat
    Nov. 6, 2008 11:44 a.m.

    When Mathis first came back to RSL, I was shocked. I could not stand Mathis. I was glad when he left the team and thought we'd be done with him forever. Having said that, I am glad he's on this team. It's no secret that RSL is a young team. With players like Findley, Movsisyan, Espindola, and Johnson, who are all very talented strikers, yet are also very young, it's nice to have an older player like Mathis, who may not be as productive or fast, but has a much broader and deeper understanding of the game to support these younger players. If I were a young striker, I'd love having someone like Mathis on my team, knowing that he would be there to support me. He may not be productive (scoring goals, assists), but I think his presence helps lift the players around him. Same can be said for Williams, and that effect was obvious in the Colorado game.

    I say we start Mathis this weekend, and sub in Espindola at about the 60th minute. I don't think Espy is ready for a full 90, and I'd rather have him in at the end if we need him.

  • my thoughts
    Nov. 6, 2008 11:49 a.m.

    Matthis is awful. He was good 10 year ago, but not now. In 10 games or more games, he hasn't scored one goal or one assist. Pathetic

  • Anonymous
    Nov. 6, 2008 11:55 a.m.

    I have been negative at Williams for a long time, but his play of late has been pretty positive. The play at the end of the Colorado Game to get Real into the playoff was brilliant

  • Not worth 100k
    Nov. 6, 2008 12:02 p.m.

    end of story.

    I hope he doesnt get close to that next year. (if we keep him)

  • Harold
    Nov. 6, 2008 1:18 p.m.

    Careful what you guys ask for. RSL hasn't lost since Mathis has been starting. WE haven't been scoring, but our possession has kept us in games (and dumb luck, in Colorado), and you've got to credit some of that to Mathis.

  • Tractor Boy
    Nov. 6, 2008 1:19 p.m.

    Matthis's goal during the South Korea-USA World Cup 2002 match was good enough for me. A lot of RSL fans don't understand the game enough to understand the role Matthis is playing for the team this season. Get the win/draw Saturday RSL and keep moving on in the playoffs!

  • re: my thoughts
    Nov. 6, 2008 1:35 p.m.

    What a dumb comment. That is good grammar you got going on there? 10 years ago? - Mathis starred for the US in the '02 World Cup and was a big contributor during the cycle leading up to the '06 World Cup so it definitely hasn't been 10 years. He has definitely earned his playing time the last couple of games - vs. New York: was very active and helped lead the attack - vs. FC Dallas had some great service and created multiple scoring chances for other players. - vs. Colorado was extremely active in winning corners - vs. Chivas he had at least 2 passes to Findley who should have scored.
    Especially in the playoffs it is critical to have veterans on the team - Mathis and Williams are helping to provide that stability. Mathis clearly deserves playing time and is responding to help RSL!
    Let's get it done this weekend vs. Chivas!

  • Soccer for Dummies
    Nov. 6, 2008 2:15 p.m.

    Mathis is providing RSL with steadiness in the midfield it lacks without him...The borish fake RSL fans who cannot see his true value and quality are just as whinish and tired as the "anti-soccer, stadium" crowd. He's part of the 11 for good reason! Go RSL!

  • Before that, Tractor Boy
    Nov. 6, 2008 2:44 p.m.

    Did Clint Mathis take Jorge Campos out to dinner and a movie before that 2001 Qualifier? That was an epic goal.

    The Kinder Gentler Balder Mathis is a lot like the guy who may end up marking him this weekend, Emperador Suarez. They both do their jobs quietly & effectively. Well, Cletus isn't so quiet.

  • The Old School is in session
    Nov. 6, 2008 5:31 p.m.

    -Notice how the only recent World Cup within the last decade in which the US did not embarrass itself was the one with Cletus in it.

    -Notice how the US has pwned Mexico at sea level since Emperador Suarez was injured.

  • Nazdar
    Nov. 6, 2008 5:43 p.m.

    I think Mathis is doing great and I enjoy watching him play.

  • Aaron
    Nov. 6, 2008 7:07 p.m.

    I have been extremely frustrated with Mathis in a starting role and need to vent about it. There is NO way in my mind that he deserves a starting role as a withdrawn striker. He has good moments with possession and recuperation, hell I will admit that he had played a good pass or two, but has been very poor when it comes to moment of definition. I believe that Jason Kreis is strating him for his experience, but I feel like we have better attacking options on the bench, namley Kenny Deuchar and Fabian Espindola. Much of the attack comes from our wing play with Wingert and Joy pumping crossing into a box where we have very little aerial presence. When it comes to attacking through the middle of the park Espindola has shown a much better ability to link with Morales than Mathis. I agree that Mathis had a better game against Chivas but do not believe that he deserves to start or to play the minutes that he is getting. PLEASE reduce his role!

    Go RSL!!!

  • Bowing Down to the Soccer Gods
    Nov. 6, 2008 7:13 p.m.

    All wise ones. Thanks for telling us that we don't understand the nuances of this sport if we think Mathis should be scoring goals. You say he isn't playing a "true forward" position which, I assume, allows him to never put the ball in the net and still get worshiped by "real Real fans." Maybe we should be playing a formation that the rest of the world plays cause the rest of the world seems to have no problem scoring a goal every full moon.
    Besides not scoring goals Mathis has other major problems. He is a red card waiting to happen at every game. And he steps all over Beckerman's toes as captain (at practice, at games and in the locker room). Jason likes him cause he props Jason up. Wouldn't you if you were getting paid more than you were worth by your best friend? Yes he has national experience. Yes he played well in one World Cup. But if he is such an experienced, smart player, he would have goals to point to. Or, assists.

  • georg
    Nov. 6, 2008 7:58 p.m.

    We all may not agree on Mathis! but it great to see so much thought being shared by Utah's true soccer fans. Anyone notice the lack of anti soccer bull???

    I say Mathis may prove many wrong this weekend and may come up with something special. I would give him say 60 minutes and then please "jason" give us Espindola because we know he can score.

  • SJSF
    Nov. 6, 2008 10:10 p.m.

    I would like to see Espindola start alongside Yura with Mathis subbing in for Williams or vice versa. I keep expecting Mathis to explode with an incredible game, and I think he has it in him, so I think he has been a good addition to the team.

  • slcc soccer
    Nov. 6, 2008 10:53 p.m.

    Mathis is a very hard worker but that is about all he is.. He doesn't produce at all, not one goal or assist since coming back to rsl.
    BUT
    they are undefeated with him in the starting lineup so why not start him, right?

  • I
    Nov. 6, 2008 11:24 p.m.

    AGREE

  • chad
    Nov. 7, 2008 12:18 a.m.

    clint doesn't have too many fans in his corner, but i think his work ethic in his recent stint with rsl has been impressive. i think one of the reasons we've seen yura come alive is because clint has been there working hard. he played an incredible game last week and every team needs a guy who will get in the refs face and compain.

  • Cowboy
    Nov. 7, 2008 1:22 a.m.

    I think we should be asking what these 'intangibles' are.

    The biggest is the ability to be vocal on the field - communication between the players is one of the most vital aspects of a good team and no club can win matches unless they are all pulling together to help the team in the same direction.

    Mathis is Mr Motivation.

  • Mathis and Yura
    Nov. 7, 2008 10:22 a.m.

    Good point. I think the link Mathis provides with the mids and his possession has allowed Javi to have more space and for Yura to get more forward. Mathis may not have the stats, but I can tell he is working hard. He even told me so! (wink).

  • Mathis
    Nov. 7, 2008 2:48 p.m.

    Mathis, Mathis, Mathis, Even without the stats the team is winning. Why try to "fix" the team if they are having success. Espindola NO MORE BACK FLIPS!! Yura is playing great Nick and Olave are playing well and the team is winning.

  • Old school headmaster
    Nov. 7, 2008 4:23 p.m.

    Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose. Yes, I am too lazy to put in the proper accent marks.

    A decade ago this year, Galaxians were burning up their Dialup connections, not complaining about interns and blue dresses but Mathis' teammate Carlos Hermosillo.

    Hermosillo wasn't scoring much. But Squarehead sure drew defenders away from Cienfuegos, Cobi, Welton and a certain rookie.

    The system worked, until they ran into the Chicago Fire and their Catennaccio in the playoffs.

  • HORSE
    Nov. 7, 2008 9:46 p.m.

    Some of Mathis' passes have been absolutely amazing.

    I must say that when Mathis, Morales, Williams, Johnson, and Beckerman on the field it makes it pretty hard for the other team to focus on just one of our players. I think Mathis frees up space and time for Morales and that is very important.

    I do think Deuchar, Findley, and Espindola need more time. But at the same time it does not make sense to change things up much when they are winning and playing as well as they did last game.

  • RE: Horse
    Nov. 8, 2008 7:30 a.m.

    When the question was asked about what the 'intangibles' were, that was exactly what I was gonna say. Mathis is another guy besides Morales who can make the 'killer pass.'

    Generally, it takes time for a playmaker to integrate fully with the team. If you watched Columbus only last year, you would have thought Schelotto wasn't making much impact, but once the team got propoerly organized and practiced in what he does for them, boom, he's the MVP.

  • JM
    Nov. 8, 2008 12:29 p.m.

    Keep it up Cletus!

  • Bob H
    Nov. 9, 2008 11:23 a.m.

    Mathis is a horrific player. He has 0 goals & 0 assists, yet he is an attacker?!? Kreis has obvious blind favoritism going on with Mathis. He is terrible and makes our team worse.

  • I'm sorry but. . .
    Nov. 9, 2008 9:39 p.m.


    Bob H | 11:23 a.m. Nov. 9, 2008
    Mathis is a horrific player. He has 0 goals & 0 assists, yet he is an attacker?!? Kreis has obvious blind favoritism going on with Mathis. He is terrible and makes our team worse.
    --------------------

    You can't get your soccer knowledge from a box score. This ain't baseball. If Mathis opens up space for other players, and the team wins, it's as good as scoring 'em himself.