REAL SALT LAKE GRINDS OUT 1-0 WIN OVER MONTREAL IMPACT
FW Paulo Junior’s Penalty Kick Conversion in 13th Minute Good Enough to Move Claret-and-Cobalt Clear of the Pack in West
SANDY, Utah (Wednesday, April 4, 2012) – It wasn’t pretty, but in the end it was another three-point effort tonight for Real Salt Lake, the Utah side using a FW Paulo Junior penalty kick in the early going to post a 1-0 victory over the expansion Montreal Impact in front of a sold out crowd of 20,191 at Rio Tinto Stadium. With the result, Real Salt Lake (4-1-0, 12 pts.) now stands alone atop the Western Conference standings, three points clear of both San Jose and Colorado, and sits even with Sporting Kansas City for the most points across Major League Soccer.
Real Salt Lake earned the only goal it would need against Montreal (0-4-1, 1 pt.) in the 12th minute, when the extended hand of Salt Lake City native Justin Braun knocked down MF Will Johnson’s header towards frame inside the penalty area, earning an immediate point to the penalty spot by referee Ricardo Salazar. A minute later it was Paulo Junior showing no hesitation to take the spot kick, which he buried low and inside the right post, just past the outstretched dive of Impact ‘keeper Donovan Ricketts.
While the first half saw some entertaining back-and-forth play, the second half saw Real Salt Lake take control in the early stages, the home side unlucky to not get another past Ricketts, whose stop of FW Fabian Espíndola’s header in the 66th minute marked the save of the match. The game did take a physical turn as it progressed, and the Claret-and-Cobalt held onto the full three points for dear life down the stretch, having to play a man down for the final five minutes after MF Javier Morales left the field due to injury.
Real Salt Lake Match Notes
- After getting back to nearly full health, Real Salt Lake suffered a pair of setbacks to its midfield in the late going, with Ned Grabavoy reportedly playing the final 20 minutes with at least one broken rib and Javier Morales suffering a pulled hamstring near full time according to Head Coach Jason Kreis. More information will be provided by Real Salt Lake on Thursday after further evaluation by the team’s medical staff.
- DF Terakazu Tanaka’s first appearance for the Claret-and-Cobalt in regular season play lasted the duration of the match, the Japanese newcomer playing the full 90 minutes at right back. With Tanaka inserted into the starting XI, DF Tony Beltran flipped flanks to the left side normally manned by DF Chris Wingert.
- After making a late – and important – cameo in Saturday’s match at Portland, MF Jonny Steele also earned his first MLS start tonight, playing 63 minutes against Montreal on the left side of RSL’s midfield diamond.
- With tonight’s victory, Real Salt Lake improves its record against expansion teams in their first visit to Utah to 6-1-1.
- The penalty kick conversion by FW Paulo Junior marked the Brazilian’s first goal of 2012 and the third in his now 19 career MLS regular season appearances. The PK attempt was his first in an RSL uniform.
- MF Will Johnson made his return to the starting lineup against Montreal and played the full 90 minutes, this after seeing his first minutes last Saturday in Portland. The Canadian international missed the entire preseason and the first three regular season contests with an adductor strain and subsequent surgery.
- Making good use of the depth in his squad, Kreis’ starting XI against Montreal featured six different players than the one that took the field in Saturday’s 3-2 win at Portland.
- FW Fabian Espindola made his 100th appearance for Real Salt Lake in MLS regular season play tonight, maintaining his eighth-place ranking on RSL’s all-time appearance leaderboard (two behind fellow Argentine MF Javier Morales).
- The 20,191 fans in attendance tonight gave Real Salt Lake its second straight shutout, bringing its average attendance at Rio Tinto Stadium through three games to 19,115.
- Tonight’s match marked the middle game in a three-game, eight-day stretch for Real Salt Lake, the first of five such runs during the 2012 season.
- And that stretch will conclude this Saturday, April 7, when Real Salt Lake will welcome the rival Colorado Rapids to Rio Tinto Stadium for the first of three games in this year’s Rocky Mountain Cup, presented by Suburu. Kickoff in Sandy is set for 7:00 p.m., while the fun will start at 5:00 p.m. with the opening of the Carnival Real pregame festival on the stadium’s East Lawn. Tickets for the rivalry showdown remain on sale and can be purchased online at www.RealSaltLake.com/Tickets.
REAL SALT LAKE 1 : 0 MONTREAL IMPACT
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 4, 2012
RIO TINTO STADIUM – SANDY, UT
Goals by Period 1 2 F
Real Salt Lake 1 0 1
Montreal Impact 0 0 0
RSL – Paulo Junior (penalty kick) 13
MTL – Felipe Martins (caution) 80
Real Salt Lake (4-1-3-2) – Nick Rimando; Terakazu Tanaka, Jamison Olave, Chris Schuler, Tony Beltran; Will Johnson, Kyle Beckerman (c), Luis Gil (Javier Morales 64), Jonny Steele (Ned Grabavoy 63); Paulo Junior (Álvaro Saborío 77), Fabian Espíndola
Substitutes Not Used: Kyle Reynish (GK); Nat Borchers, Chris Wingert; Yordany Alvarez
Montreal Impact (4-4-2) – Donovan Ricketts; Jeb Brovsky (Andrew Wenger 83), Matteo Ferrari, Shavar Thomas, Josh Gardner; Lamar Neagle (Sanna Nyassi 63), Felipe Martins, Collen Warner, Justin Mapp; Davy Arnaud (c), Justin Braun (Bernardo Corradi 76)
Substitutes Not Used: Greg Sutton (GK); Tyson Wahl; Patrice Bernier, Sinisa Ubiparipovic
Referee: Ricardo Salazar
Referee's Assistants: Peter Manikowski, Jeff Muschik
4th Official: Allen Chapman
Attendance: 20,191 (sell out)
Time of Game: 1:57
Weather: Cloudy and 72 degrees