SANDY, Utah – Rookie Casey Townsend poached a late goal as Chivas USA stunned unbeaten Real Salt Lake for a 1-0 victory on Saturday night, the Goats’ first win of the season and their first-ever victory at Rio Tinto Stadium.
The loss keeps RSL at six points with a 2-1-0 record, and gives Chivas their first three points of the season with a 1-2-0 record and Robin Fraser’s first victory at the club where he served four years as an assistant coach.
Townsend’s winner came in the 72nd minute off a cross from the left wing by midfielder Nick LaBrocca. Nick Rimando went to meet the play, but Townsend challenged it and the ball slipped from the Salt Lake goalkeeper’s grasp. The rookie striker out of Maryland reacted quickly to get a foot on the ball and hit it into the back of the net.
With Chivas USA limping into Rio Tinto winless and missing some key attacking players, the matchup had all the makings of a one-sided affair. But the game turned out to be a competitive one from the opening whistle. Chivas put five men in the midfield to counter RSL’s prolific possession, and the formula seemed effective taking the match into the half level.
In the second half, Real Salt Lake brought on Javier Morales and Álvaro Saborío in an attempt to bolster the attack. Meanwhile, the visitors pushed numbers forward with right back James Riley often getting into the mix. The additional numbers forward ultimately proved effective on the goal.
The hosts had a number of chances to equalize late in the half, none better than Saborío's chip over Dan Kennedy in the 85th minute. The Costa Rican striker had the Chivas netminder beat, but his attempt caromed off the crossbar and out of play.
The hosts continued to put a final furious charge as time expired. But Kennedy came up huge in stoppage time, diving to palm away Fabián Espíndola’s left-footed drive in the 93rd minute. Despite the final flurry, the Goats held down the big result.
Real Salt Lake will look to recover when they travel to Portland on March 31. Chivas USA, meanwhile, return to Southern California to host Sporting Kansas City on April 1.