Super-sub Jonny Steele gets first Real Salt Lake start

Published: Wednesday, April 4 2012 11:28 p.m. MDT

Jonny Steele of Real Salt Lake fights for control of the ball against Justin Mapp of the Montreal Impact during their MLS match up at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy Wednesday, April 4, 2012.

Brian Nicholson, Deseret News

SANDY — Four nights after his super sub performance at Portland, midfielder Jonny Steele made his Real Salt Lake starting debut on Wednesday night against Montreal.

It was a rather uneventful night for Steele by the standards he set in Portland, but he put in a workmanlike effort for 63 minutes before he was replaced by Ned Grabavoy.

"It was exciting, obviously we didn't play great, but we grinded out a result so it's good to play and win," said Steele.

Steele only played 12 minutes in last Saturday's win at Portland, but he made the most of his time on the field, scoring the dramatic equalizer in the 89th minute that helped RSL to the victory.

Early in the season, rookie Sebastian Velasquez grabbed a lot of headlines for his contributions in RSL's season-opening win, but don't be surprised if Steele gets more of the playing time going forward.

In fact, had Steele not been sidelined for a week late in the preseason with a slight injury, the Northern Ireland native likely would've received the starting nod in L.A. on the opening night of the season instead of Velasquez.

A SO-SO DEBUT: Two and a half weeks after he was scheduled to make his Real Salt Lake debut, first-year defender Terakazu Tanaka officially made his first RSL appearance on Wednesday starting in placing of Chris Wingert — who was simply getting midweek rest.

Tanaka was expected to get the start against New York back in the second week of the season with Tony Beltran hobbled by a slight knee injury. The day before the match, however, Tanaka came down with the flu was a late scratch.

Kreis said Tanaka was decent against Montreal, and contributed well in the attacking movements. Defensively though, Kreis said there were quite a few problems because Justin Mapp was getting behind RSL's defense far too easily.

OH CANADA: Even though expansion Montreal hasn't gotten the results it was hoping for on the field, the team has been received extremely well by the fans in Montreal.

RSL's Will Johnson, a regular member of the Canadian National Team, believes Montreal's presence in MLS can only help Canada become more of a fixture in the CONCACAF region.

"It's fun to see the Canadian teams in the MLS, that can only help produce players down the road for the Canadian National Team," said Johnson. "Kids will be going to these games, watching and dreaming of playing for Canada, something we haven't had for many, many years. So it will hopefully give a boost in the next 10, to 15 to 20 years we'll starting consistently qualifying for World Cups. I think the potential of Montreal, Vancouver and Toronto has the unique ability to do that."

IMPACT DEBUT: Before he was snatched up by Montreal in last November's MLS expansion draft, Collen Warner appeared in 24 league games for Real Salt Lake in 2011, including 15 starts.

Through the first four games this year, Warner had yet to start a match for Montreal, but that changed Wednesday night as coach Jesse Marsch penciled him into the starting 11. For a player who called Rio Tinto Stadium home for two years, it was a great venue to make his Impact starting debut.

email: jedward@desnews.com

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