New faces Marc and Gustavo make big impact on Real's first win of the season

SAN FRANCISCO, CA -- It was a busy offseason for Real Sao Paulo F.C. Practices three times a week, tournaments, and several friendly games over the last months. A roster composed by the main players from last year was supplemented with key, motivated new players. It all came together contributing for Real's first win on the first game of the 2010 season by 1-0 last Sunday at Polo Fields #1 against Martin Macks. The victory represented first-ever season-opening win for third-year club.

One of the first sunny days of March in the bay area, after several rainy weeks that contributed with renovating the grass at the Polo Fields, made for an outstanding pitch as never seen before there. It did not take too long for the Real Sao Paulo attack to get rolling.

In the 2nd minute, free kick for Real. Eduardo passed to Cris who managed to flick it to Marcos David in the opposing team side. He then passed back to Cris who sent a perfect ball to Leandro opened in the right side. Leandro gave a hat on the defender and, when he tried the second one, the defender managed to send it to corner kick with a high foot. After the corner kick, Martin Macks managed to start a counter attack. Real had a lot of difficulties to gain possession back and, in the end, Martin Macks had the first shot to the goal but it went wide off the near post.

Two minutes later, another corner kick for Real Sao Paulo. Mauro sent it on the second post and Marcos David sent it way over the bar trying to hit it first time. In the 7th minute, goal kick for Martin Macks. Eduardo cleared it out and Fabio brought the ball down, passing it to Cris in the midfield. Another great long pass from Cris to Leandro in the right side. Leandro saw Fabio entering at the second post and sent a perfect cross. Fabio tried to head it in, but it went over the bar. Real started to press.

In the 15th minute, offside against Matin Macks. Cris quickly kicked it to Fabio in the center mid who called a one-two with Mauro. As he tried to pass by the first defender, a foul missed by the referee gave Martin Macks the opportunity to counter attack. Luckly, new comer Jeff, who started his first game for Real in the left back position, was there to clear it out while Player #6 pushed him dangerously from behind. The foul was called, but no yellow card for Martin Macks' Player #6 whose only objective in the game apparently was to foul Real's players.

Real then started to play their best football with short passes on the ground and involving Martin Macks. After a goal kick by Martin Macks, Marcos David passed it to Breno and got it back letting it pass to Cris who opened Leandro by the third time. Leandro took it to the end line, dribbled the defender and passed it back to Marcos David who was waiting at the top of the arc, but could not hit it. Martin Macks tried the counter attack but Marcos David recovered the ball and stopped it. After the throw-in, a mistake by Martin Mack's player put Mauro free to assist to Breno who took it inside the box and lost possession. Mauro got the rebound and tried to pass the defender who committed a clear penalty, not called by the referee or linesman.

In the 25th minute, Fabio tried a quick play with Breno in the left side. Breno took a long time to pass it back and lost the ball causing the counter attack for Martin Macks. After the cross, Marc, new goalkeeper for Real substituting Sandro traveling abroad, was well-positioned and tried to catch it but it bounced off his chest and stayed easily for Martin Mack's forward. Marc recovered in time and prevented the goal by reaching the ball before the foward could kick it.

Five minutes later, free kick for Martin Macks. The cross had a perfect target at the forward's head, but Marc courageously went for it and cleared the ball away from Real's box. Five other minutes passed, and corner kick for Martin Macks. The ball curved towards the goal and Marc heroically again saved one more time sending the ball away towards the opposing side. Two important saves in a short period to prevent Martin Macks from opening the score. Way to step up on his first game!

In the 38th minute, free kick for Martin Macks. Trying again their only play, Martin Macks player sent a long cross was inside the box and Marc one more time reached further before the forward and put the danger away. One minute later, throw-in for Real. Saulo and Leandro exchange great passes and Saulo got fouled right outside the box. He himself asked for the free kick and almost scored the goal with a perfect ball that got slightly touched in the block before leaving very close to the far post.

Martin Macks's best chance to score in the opening half came in the 41st minute, when the visiting side came just inches from taking the lead. Gustavo and Saulo started a great play in the right flank. When Saulo entered the box, got fouled but the referee did not call the penalty again. In the counter attack, Player #7 had a breakthrough Real's defense and, as Marc was leaving the goal closing his angle, he tried to shoot in the near post, but missed the shot by inches.

After a quiet opening 5 minutes to the second half, the Real got a corner kick. Amine, an old friend who played the 2007 and 2008 seasons coming back this year, passed it short to Humberto who dribbled Player #6 a couple of times before getting fouled really hard. Player #6 who already had a yellow card, got another one and the referee did not give him the red card. Cris tried to send the free kick straight to the goal but missed it by inches. In the 62nd minute, after a couple more fouls, Player #6 managed to hit Amine from behind again and the referee told him that would be the last time. Everyone wondered what he would do if he knew he had already given him two yellow cards that game. Martin Macks coach finally decided to sub him out. Free kick for Real Sao Paulo and Leandro’s accurate cross from the right wing was aimed at Eduardo but found Gustavo at the far side of the six-yard box with most of the net to shoot at. Gustavo headed the ball perfectly inside the net. Real, finally, 1-0!

In the 70th minute, throw-in for Martin Macks. Humberto recovered the ball and passed perfectly to Fabio in the center mid. Fabio made a move with the body and let the ball pass. When the second defender came to him he layed out to Gustavo in the left wing who carried it closer to the box and tried a shot from outside, but it went over the bar. He had both Fabio and Mauro as options for that pass. Five minutes later, free kick for Real. Jeff passed to Gustavo who played with Kelson, another new comer to bring stability to the center mid. He sent the ball on the top of the arc to Fabio who got rid of the first defender and layed to the side to Marcos David. He tried to get rid of the defenders and got fouled again inside the box. The referee, one more time, pretended nothing happened.

In the 80th minute, great combination among Cris, Mauro to Marcos David and back to Mauro in the attack. The defender held him back, dropped him down from behind and the referee one more time did not give the penalty. Three minutes before the end of the game, after a sequence of three corner kicks for Martin Macks, Marc managed to clear the ball away from the box and it started a dangerous counter attack for Real. Kelson sent it Humberto who passed a perfect through ball to Saulo who was in legal position. Saulo took it all the way inside the box and, instead of shooting, lost the pace and let the defender recover the ball. Before the referee blew the whistle for the end of the game, Fabio still had an easy opportunity to score after a great play and assist by Breno, but the field played a trick on him the exact moment he tried to hit the ball.

Never mind the fact that the Real squad hitting the pitch was strikingly similar to the squad that finished the season in third place last year. What's even more striking is that the boys in red-white-black are every bit as hungry and energized in mid-March as they were in late August as they closed a remarkable 10-game stretch run, winning nearly half of their season's total in the final half of the schedule and positioning themselves for spot in the top three positions. It feels more like a week has passed in the Real's locker room, rather than nearly six months. The fire is burning every bit as brightly as the team returns to the 2010 season looking for the first place.

For a more detailed game report, including video highlights and game stats, please click here.


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