Former Lion Novak Scores First Career MLS Goal
Kevin Novak helps Real Salt Lake secure a 2-2 tie with San Jose.
Oct. 9, 2005
SAN JOSE, Calif. (Oct. 9) - Former Lion Kevin Novak scored his first career professional goal to help Real Salt Lake secure a 2-2 tie with the San Jose Earthquakes on Sunday. In his first career MLS start, Novak (2000-03) became the second Lion to score an MLS goal this season, following in the footsteps of former All-American Arturo Torres (Chivas USA).
Below is the game story, courtesy of MLSnet.com:
SAN JOSE -- In a season full of despair, Real Salt Lake found a glimmer of hope Saturday night, earning a pulsating 2-2 draw with the San Jose Earthquakes. The home side claimed a 2-0 halftime lead through goals by Dwayne De Rosario and Julian Nash, but Real fought back, and equalized through rookie Kevin Novak and Andy Williams.
The result at Spartan Stadium did see Real become the second team in MLS history to go winless on the road for an entire season, but the manner of the tie will no doubt give RSL hope as they head into their final match against Colorado. RSL managed to pull even with a San Jose team that became the first ever to go through an entire season unbeaten at home and clinched the MLS Supporters' Shield, emblematic of league's best record overall.
Both sides were missing players due to international duty with the home side minus six players and Real missing three of their own. But the early exchanges belonged to San Jose, with Nash using his pace and size to good effect. A surging run by the Creighton product in the seventh minute saw him lay the ball off to De Rosario whose fierce shot flew just over the bar.
Nash broke free again three minutes later, and while his centering feed found Ronald Cerritos in the box, his shot was blocked by the RSL defense. The visitors had a good opportunity in the 22nd minute, when a well-weighted pass from Clint Mathis found Novak on the right wing. Novak's cross for Melvin Tarley looked promising, but San Jose defender Kelly Gray was on hand for a vital interception.
Real had a dangerous chance in the 35th minute when Novak won a free kick 30 yards from goal, but Mathis' bending strike was hit straight at Pat Onstad in the San Jose goal.
The visitors were made to pay for the miss, as De Rosario put the Quakes on top just three minutes later. A quick through ball from Cerritos sprung the Canadian international on a clear breakaway. But in a bit of cruel fortune, Brian Dunseth's desperation tackle deflected De Rosario's shot off Nolly and straight back to the San Jose midfielder, who duly fired home the rebound for his eighth goal of the season.
Real nearly hit straight back in the 41st minute when a Brian Kamler feed found Kenny Cutler in space, but his venomous drive flew just wide of goal. While bad luck was partly to blame for San Jose's opener, there was nothing lucky about the Quakes second strike in the 44th minute. A flowing move involving De Rosario and Cerritos saw the Salvadoran play a through ball to Nash. With Dunseth playing a bit off the San Jose forward, Nash turned and fired just inside the far post for his first career MLS goal.
The Quakes nearly added to their lead just six minutes into the second half, when Kevin Goldthwaite's free kick was nodded goalward by Chris Aloisi, forcing a diving save from Nolly.
Real gradually began to see more of the ball, and pulled a goal back in the 64th minute courtesy of Novak. The RSL rookie played a speculative cross in from the left wing, and when both De Rosario and Onstad hesitated, the ball snuck just inside the far post for Novak's first career MLS goal.
Real head coach John Ellinger had brought on Jamie Watson for the largely ineffective Mathis just before Novak's goal, and Leslie Fitzpatrick entered the match for Kamler shortly thereafter.
The moves paid off handsomely, as both players were involved in the buildup to Real's 73rd minute equalizer. Fitzpatrick released Watson in acres of space on the left wing, and the rookie's smart cut-back allowed him time to find Williams at the far post, where the veteran volleyed home Watson's cross for his fifth goal of the season.
Real weren't done, and Tarley nearly snatched a late winner in the 86th minute, but his fierce shot on the turn was palmed away by Onstad.