SANDY, Utah – Real Salt Lake (3-3-2, 11 points, West #2) started its three-game home stand on the right foot on Saturday night, getting a goal from MF Javier Morales to beat Chivas USA (3-3-1, 10 points, West #3) 1-0 at Rio Tinto Stadium.
Morales scored the game’s lone goal in the 53rd minute, heading a FW Alvaro Saborio cross inside the far post from just inside the penalty spot. RSL GK Nick Rimando continued his strong start to the season on Saturday night, stopping a penalty kick in the first half and making five saves total to register his second clean sheet of the season.
RSL came out of the gates firing, nearly going ahead in the sixth minute when FW Olmes Garcia hit the crossbar. The 20-year-old Colombian – who was making his first MLS start – hit a shot from just outside the 18 that deflected off of a defender, sailed over Chivas GK Dan Kennedy and bounced off the bar.
Garcia was at the heart of another chance just a minute later, collecting Morales’s through ball on the right wing before crossing to open MF Ned Grabavoy at the back post for a header that missed the frame.
RSL had two more good looks in the 15th and 16th minutes. Saborio had the first chance, collecting a Morales ball in the left side of the area before sending a chip shot over Kennedy and wide of the far post. Kennedy made a big stop on RSL MF Luis Gil one minute later; diving to the ground to block the U.S. Under-20 international’s sliding 15-yarder.
The Claret-and-Cobalt had another great look in the 32nd minute. Garcia created the chance, getting behind the Chivas defense on the left side before squaring a ball to Saborio at the top of the box. The Costa Rican international quickly hit a shot toward goal, only for it to be blocked by sliding Chivas USA DF Mario de Luna.
The game turned in the 34th minute, when referee Jorge Gonzales whistled Grabavoy for a handball inside the box, giving Chivas USA a penalty kick. As he’s so done has over the years, Rimando saved the day for RSL, reading Chivas USA MF Edgar Mejia like a book before diving to his left to block the spot kick. RSL’s defense stood strong in the ensuing goalmouth scramble, blocking no less than three shots from inside eight yards to turn Chivas away.
The Goats had another good look in first half stoppage time. Rookie MF Carlos Alvarez picked up a ball in the left side of the box, rifling a low shot from 15 yards inches wide of the far post.
Like the team did in the first half, RSL came out of the break firing, with Garcia hitting the crossbar for a second time in the 52nd minute. Garcia blazed past Chivas USA DF Bobby Burling to collect a long, bouncing ball in the right side of the box before chipping a 12-yard effort over Kennedy’s outstretched arms and off the bar near the far post.
RSL finally found pay dirt in the 53rd minute. Morales started the play, picking up a loose ball near midfield and quickly finding a teammate. The ball eventually made its way to Garcia, who found Saborio in the right side of the area with a neat through ball. Saborio squared up and crossed to the open Morales just inside the penalty spot, allowing the Argentine playmaker – so often the RSL player delivering crosses – to head home inside the left bar.
Morales nearly doubled RSL’s advantage 10 minutes later, collecting a lay off from Gil outside the 18 on the right side and chipping a curler that glanced off the top of the far post.
Saborio and Morales had a chance each in the 87th and 88th minutes. Saborio had the first opportunity, running onto Morales’s through ball in the middle of the attacking third before rolling a shot just wide of the left post from a yard outside the box. Morales forced Kennedy into a fine save one minute later, curling a 25-yard free kick toward the top left corner that the Chivas ‘keeper tipped over the bar.
Chivas went down to 10 men when Mejia was shown a straight red card for an off the ball foul on Grabavoy in second half stoppage time.
RSL will return to action on Monday night, when it will host USL Pro club Phoenix FC at Rio Tinto Stadium in MLS Reserve League action. Tickets to Monday’s Phoenix FC match – part of this year’s groundbreaking partnership between MLS and USL Pro – are $8 for RSL Pride Season Ticket Holders and $12 for the general public. Fans can purchase tickets to the game at the Rio Tinto Stadium box office, online at http://www.riotintostadium.com/events/rsl-v-phoenixfc.php or over the phone at 801-727-2700.
RSL’s next MLS match is next Saturday, April 27 against Western Conference rival LA Galaxy at Rio Tinto Stadium. Fans can purchase tickets to the LA match at the Rio Tinto Stadium box office, online at www.RealSaltLake.com/Tickets or over the phone at 801-727-2700.
Real Salt Lake Match Notes – RSL 1-0 CHV
- Saturday’s victory continued RSL’s recent dominance over Chivas USA, moving the Claret-and-Cobalt to 7-2-1 in regular season play against the Rojiblancos since beating them in the 2008 MLS Cup Playoffs.
- RSL GK Nick Rimando’s penalty kick save on Chivas USA MF Edgar Mejia in the 34th minute moved the veteran ‘keeper to 18-for-59 (30.5 percent) on penalties in the regular season in his career – the best mark in league history.
- Saturday’s result was the first time that the home team won a RSL-Chivas USA match since May 7, 2011, when RSL beat Chivas USA 1-0 at Rio Tinto Stadium. The away team took all three games in the series last year, with the Goats beating RSL 1-0 in Sandy on March 24 before the Claret-and-Cobalt won at the Home Depot Center 3-0 on June 16 and 4-0 on Sept. 29.
- RSL FW Olmes Garcia made his first career MLS start on Saturday night, registering an assist and hitting the crossbar twice before coming out for FW Robbie Findley in the 63rd minute. Garcia, 20, signed a five-year contract with Real Salt Lake in February.
- RSL Captain Kyle Beckerman (Rib dislocation) missed Saturday’s game due to injury. Beckerman – who initially suffered the injury last week in training and had to come off in the 31st minute of RSL’s 1-1 draw at Vancouver last weekend due to the knock – was replaced in the lineup by MF Yordany Alvarez.
- RSL MF Sebastian Velasquez, DF Chris Wingert and Findley returned to the 18 on Saturday after all missing at least one game due to injury. Wingert (R foot fracture) made the gameday roster for the first time this season on Saturday, while Findley (L adductor strain) and Velasquez (R hand fracture) returned after missing two games and one game, respectively. Findley and Velasquez both saw action off the bench on Saturday night.
- Saturday’s attendance of 14,900 was the RSL’s smallest regular season crowd at Rio Tinto Stadium since May 28, 2011, when 14,674 fans attended the Claret-and-Cobalt’s 2-1 loss to Seattle. Saturday’s game was the first time in the last eight regular season contests that Rio Tinto Stadium did not sell-out.
REAL SALT LAKE 1–0 CHIVAS USA
SATURDAY, APRIL 20, 2013
RIO TINTO STADIUM
Goals by Period 1 2 F
Real Salt Lake 0 1 1
Chivas USA 0 0 0
RSL – Javier Morales (Alvaro Saborio, Olmes Garcia) – 53’
CHV – Bobby Burling (Yellow) – 58’
RSL – Ned Grabavoy (Yellow) – 76’
CHV – Joaquin Velazquez (Yellow) – 87’
RSL – Lovel Palmer (Yellow) – 90’
CHV – Edgar Mejia (Red) – 90+’
Real Salt Lake (4-1-2-1-2) – Nick Rimando; Tony Beltran, Chris Schuler, Nat Borchers, Lovel Palmer; Yordany Alvarez; Ned Grabavoy, Luis Gil (Sebastian Velasquez, 74’); Javier Morales (C) (Khari Stephenson, 90+); Alvaro Saborio, Olmes Garcia (Robbie Findley, 63’)
Substitutes Not Used: Josh Saunders (GK), Chris Wingert, Kwame Watson-Siriboe, Joao Plata
Chivas USA (3-5-2) – Dan Kennedy; Mario de Luna (Carlos Borja, 39’), Bobby Burling, Joaquin Velazquez; Eric Avila, Carlos Alvarez, Marvin Iraheta (Giovani Casillas, 58’), Edgar Mejia, Jorge Villafana (Tristan Bowen, 66’); Julio Morales, Jose Correa
Substitutes Not Used: Tim Melia (GK), Steve Purdy, Jose Rivera, Josue Soto
Referee: Jorge Gonzalez
Referee's Assistants: Adam Wienckowski, Matthew Nelson
4th Official: Allen Chapman
Weather: Partly cloudy and 50 degrees