SANDY, Utah – Real Salt Lake continued their recent dominance of the New York Red Bulls on Saturday night with a 2-0 victory in their home opener amid blustery conditions at Rio Tinto Stadium.
Fabián Espíndola found the net for the second time in as many games, while Luis Gil opened his 2012 account for the home side and kept RSL undefeated in five straight vs. new York.
Red Bulls head coach Hans Backe opened the game in a 3-5-2 in order to try to mute RSL’s possession in the midfield. But Salt Lake still had some success in the opening stanza against New York’s high defensive line.
In the 39th minute, RSL broke through when Paulo Jr. flicked on a pass from Gil to Espíndola. The Argentine striker gathered and advanced into the penalty area, where he placed a low strike underneath the legs of RBNY ‘keeper Ryan Meara.
New York created a couple of chances in the first half, with most of them involving star Thierry Henry. The addition of Kenny Cooper appeared to spark the Red Bulls after halftime.
But it was Salt Lake who struck early in the second frame through some nice build-up along the left side. In the 58th minute, rookie Sebastian Velasquez received a through ball into the area, and played it square to Espíndola. His shot went into Meara’s chest, but the rebound fell to Gil, who blasted it into the net.
New York subsequently applied plenty of pressure, their best chance when Jan Gunnar Solli put a cross into the back post in the 75th minute. After sustained chances, however, they were unable to break down the hosts, and still have not managed a victory against Salt Lake since 2009.
The disappointing result dropped New York to 0-2-0 on the season. Backe’s crew returns home for their Red Bull Arena opener on March 25 against Colorado. RSL, meanwhile, improve to 2-0-0. They’ll next host Chivas USA on March 24.