CARSON, Calif. (Saturday, Sept. 29, 2012) – Real Salt Lake (16-11-4, 52 points, West No. 2) soundly defeated Chivas USA (7-16-7, 28 points, West #9) by a 4-0 scoreline at The Home Depot Center on Saturday night, riding a hat trick by FW Alvaro Saborio and three assists by FW Fabian Espindola to move into sole possession of 2nd place in the MLS Western Conference, pending Sunday’s Los Angeles Galaxy result at Colorado.
Real Salt Lake got off to a flying start, taking the lead through Saborio in the 8th minute. Espindola started the play, hitting a cross into the box from the left wing that MF Javier Morales beautifully flicked to the far post for Saborio to tap in with a deft volley.
Just three minutes later, Saborio – RSL’s all-time goal-scorer in both MLS and CONCACAF play – doubled RSL’s advantage, again taking a feed from Argentine strike partner Espindola. Fabian intercepted a poor throw from Chivas GK Dan Kennedy just outside the box before dribbling into the area for a 2-v-1 with Saborio. From there it was easy pickings for RSL, with Espindola hitting a square ball past the onrushing Kennedy and to the feet of Saborio for a second tap-in.
Chivas USA woke up after conceding the second goal, getting forward with a bit more purpose and forcing RSL GK Nick Rimando into a solid save in the 18th minute. Chivas MF Miller Bolaños had the chance, running onto a loose cross at the top of the box, taking the ball down with his chest and blasting a right-footed volley that Rimando acrobatically parried over the bar.
Chivas continued pressing forward for the remainder of the first half, forcing Rimando into action on several more occasions before the break. Chivas FW Juan Pablo Angel came close in the 31st minute, hitting a 23-yard free kick toward the top-right corner that Rimando did well to hold.
Chivas USA nearly equalized in the 32nd minute, as Bolaños – who had a very active opening 45 – hit a cross to wide-open MF Nick LaBrocca at the top of the six-yard box, only for LaBrocca to whiff his attempt at a diving header.
Rimando came up with two more big stops – both on Bolaños shots – prior to halftime. The first save came in the 36th minute, with RSL’s veteran ‘keeper diving to his left to deflect a well-placed Bolaños volley outside the post. Rimando stoned Bolaños again in the 43rd, holding a driven strike that Bolaños hit following a lengthy run down the right side.
Real Salt Lake made on change at the break, taking out DF Chris Wingert – who picked up a yellow card in the first half – for DF Kenny Mansally, who last played on August 21 off the bench in a CONCACAF Champions League match against Panamanian champion Tauro FC at Rio Tinto Stadium.
Chivas started the second half strongly, getting a pair of chances in the 47th and 49th minute. Angel had the final frame’s opening opportunity, flashing a header just wide of the left post from about six yards out in the 49th. Bolaños followed that chance up with one of his own in the 49th, running behind the RSL defense on the right side before dragging a low 15-yarder wide of the far post.
RSL regained a measure of control following Bolaños’s look, keeping more of the ball and creating more chances. Saborio had a golden look at a hat trick in the 52nd minute. DF Tony Beltran created the chance, hitting a perfect cross from the right side that Saborio headed right at Kennedy from five yards out.
Morales was inches away from putting the Claret-and-Cobalt up 3-0 in the 56th minute. The Argentine playmaker ran onto a through ball at the top of the box, putting a touch around Kennedy and toward the goal only for Chivas DF John Valencia to sprint back and miraculously clear the ball off the line with a slide.
Fortunately, RSL didn’t have to wait much longer for the third, as Saborio fantastically completed his hat trick – his second of the year, the first coming on July 7 at home in a 3-0 win over Portland – in the 65th minute. The Costa Rican international collected MF Will Johnson’s blocked shot at the top of the 18 with his back to goal, turning his body toward the net before lofting a beautiful right footed chip off the underside of the crossbar near the far post and in.
Saborio exited the affair shortly afterwards, but RSL’s offense – which last scored as many as four goals on July 23, 2011, in a home match against San Jose – wasn’t done. Saborio’s replacement, third-year FW Paulo Junior, struck for his second goal of the season in the 81st minute, running onto an Espindola through-ball at the right corner of the box and blistering a frozen rope near post past Kennedy for the final margin.
Real Salt Lake Match Notes – RSL 4 : 0 Chivas USA
- Tonight’s victory ensures that RSL can finish no worse than 4th in the MLS Western Conference, guaranteeing the club – and its incredible fans – a home playoff game at Rio Tinto Stadium, where RSL has sold out four consecutive games across all competitions, 7 of the last 10 and nine on the season.
- With the result tonight, RSL exceeds 50 or more points for the third consecutive season, joining the 2005-07 D.C. United sides as the only clubs in the 17-year history of MLS with that unique distinction (LA can join the club with a draw or win tomorrow at Colorado; the trio of clubs are also the only three in MLS annals with three consecutive 15-win seasons).
- Saborio’s hat trick – coming just 10 days after suffering a 2nd-degree AC sprain in his right shoulder earning the game-winning penalty in Panama City in CONCACAF play – allows the Costa Rican international to set a new single-season mark for RSL goals with 17, exceeding by one the previous mark of 16 set in 2006 by Jeff Cunningham.
- Earlier this season Saborio became the 3rd RSL player to notch 3 goals in a game (July 7 v Portland in MLS play), joining Robbie Findley (2009 MLS opener v Columbus) and Jason Kreis (2005 U.S. Open Cup at Minnesota).
- The clean sheet by RSL GK Nick Rimando and the RSL backline is the 5th shutout in the last 7 games across all competitions, as the group has allowed just two goals in the last 630 minutes … Rimando’s clean sheet is the 98th of his stellar MLS career, just 2 shy of the century mark and 14 behind all-time MLS leader Kevin Hartman.
- RSL set a single-season club record with its 16th regular-season victory tonight, one better than the 15 secured in each of the 2010 and 2011 seasons, with three regular-season games remaining … Tonight’s road win was the fifth of the year for RSL, matching the total of each of the last two years with games at Los Angeles next Saturday and at Seattle on October 17 (both are places RSL has won previously this season, with a 3-1 victory in the opener at LA on March 10 and a 1-0 win at Seattle on May 12) … One more road point gained this season would allow RSL to match its club-record of 19 road points in a season, set in 2010 and equaled last year.
- RSL returns to The Home Depot Center next Saturday for a crucial West matchup against rival Los Angeles, the team it vanquished in MLS Cup 2009 and the club which ousted RSL in last year’s West Final … All-time, 9 of RSL’s 24 MLS road wins have come at the venue on the campus of Cal-State Dominguez Hills, RSL defeating Chivas five times and the Galaxy on four occasions … Next week’s game will be aired live nationally on NBC Sports Network, the club’s third and final appearance on the League’s national partner this 2012 regular season.
- Following next Saturday at LA and Wed., Oct. 17 at SEA, RSL returns home for a pair of critical matches in the season’s final week … First up, on Tuesday, October 23, is the fourth and final group matchday in the 2012/13 CONCACAF Champions League, RSL hosting Costa Rican champion CS Herediano at Rio Tinto Stadium, needing EITHER a 1-0 shutout victory or a multi-goal win in order to secure passage to next March’s Quarterfinal round … On Saturday, October 27, RSL’s 2012 MLS regular-season finale sees the club host second-year MLS side Vancouver Whitecaps FC, which tied Seattle 0-0 at home Saturday night … Tickets for both matches – expected sellouts at Rio Tinto Stadium – are available at www.RealSaltLake.com/tickets …
- Vancouver is in a battle with FC Dallas – which tied at San Jose 3-3 tonight – for the fifth and final playoff berth in the West … The 4/5 Western Conference Knockout Game is slated for Wed., Oct. 31, with the winner of that match facing the #1 seed – most likely San Jose – on Nov. 3/10 in a two-leg Conference Semifinal series, with RSL, LA and Seattle battling for the 2 & 3 seeds, seeking to avoid the knockout game, which would necessitate six games in 19 days for the 4 seed to advance to the 2nd leg of the Conference Final.
REAL SALT LAKE 4 : 0 CHIVAS USA
SATURDAY, SEPT. 29, 2012
HOME DEPOT CENTER
Goals by Period 1 2 F
Real Salt Lake 2 2 4
Chivas USA 0 0 0
Scoring Summary: RSL – Alvaro Saborio (Javier Morales, Fabian Espindola) – 8'
RSL – Alvaro Saborio (Fabian Espindola) – 12’
RSL - Alvaro Saborio - 65'
RSL - Paulo Jr. (Fabian Espindola, Will Johnson) - 81'
Misconduct Summary: CHV – Miller Bolaños (Simulation) – 15’
RSL – Chris Wingert (Foul) – 20’
CHV – Oswaldo Minda – 22’
Real Salt Lake (4-1-2-1-2) – Nick Rimando; Chris Wingert (Kenny Mansally, 46’), Chris Schuler, Nat Borchers, Tony Beltran; Kyle Beckerman (C); Luis Gil, Will Johnson; Javier Morales (Johnny Steele 83’); Alvaro Saborio (Paulo Jr., 74’), Fabian Espindola
Substitutes Not Used: Kyle Reynish (GK), Yordany Alvarez, Sebastian Velasquez, Justin Braun
Chivas USA (4-5-1) – Dan Kennedy; Ante Jazic, John Valencia, Danny Califf (C), James Riley; Ryan Smith (Juan Agudelo, 57’), Peter Vagenas (Ben Zemanski, 73’), Oswaldo Minda, Nick LaBrocca, Miller Bolaños; Juan Pablo Angel (Jose Correa 82’)
Substitutes Not Used: Patrick McLain (GK), Alejandro Moreno, Shalrie Joseph, Jorge Villafana
Referee: Juan Guzman
Referee's Assistants: Ian Anderson, Baboucarr Jallow
4th Official: Jesus Cisneros
Time of Game: 1:54
Weather: Partly cloudy, 77 degrees