CARSON, Calif. – Real Salt Lake (6-5-2, 20 points, West #2) continued its dominance over Chivas USA (3-6-2, 11 points, West #9) on Sunday night, getting a brace from MF Ned Grabavoy and goals from FW’s Joao Plata and Robbie Findley to beat the Southern California side 4-1 at the Home Depot Center.
Sunday’s win moves RSL to 8-2-1 in its last 11 matches against Chivas USA. The Claret-and-Cobalt is now 5-0-0 in its last five matches at the Goats, outscoring the Rojiblancos 14-2 during that span. RSL is now in second-place in the Western Conference as it heads into a four-game MLS home stand that will begin on Saturday, May 25 with a match against the Chicago Fire at Rio Tinto Stadium.
RSL got off to a dream start, going ahead through Grabavoy in the fourth minute. MF Luis Gil started the play, playing a ball to MF Javier Morales in the middle. The Argentine playmaker scuffed a pass that went directly to a wide open Grabavoy on the left side, giving the veteran midfielder a 1-v-1 chance with Chivas USA GK Dan Kennedy. Grabavoy made no mistake with the opportunity, coolly slotting home from 15 yards out for his first MLS goal since the 2011 playoffs.
Chivas USA responded well to Grabavoy’s goal, with FW Miller Bolaños putting a shot on frame in the 17th minute before MF Eric Avila hit the crossbar in the 19th. Avila picked up a loose corner kick in the left side of the box, controlling it with his chest and unleashing a vicious half-volley that skimmed off the bar near the far post.
Chivas came close again in the 30th minute, with FW Jose Correa nearly equalizing following a bizarre sequence that began with a Kennedy free kick 20 yards from RSL’s goal. The Rojiblancos ‘keeper drilled his free kick directly into the RSL wall, but Chivas USA was able to collect the loose ball and get it to MF Aaron Ponce on the left wing. Ponce found Correa with a cross and the 20-year-old Colombian put his header on target, forcing Rimando into a fine diving stop.
Correa had another chance in the 37th, getting on the end of an Avila cross in the left side of the box only to miss the frame from six yards out.
Plata nearly doubled RSL’s advantage seconds after Correa’s chance, picking up a ball on the left flank and cutting in on his right foot before curling a 25-yard effort a yard wide of the far post.
Plata found pay dirt shortly after the break, putting the Claret-and-Cobalt up 2-0 in the 48th minute. MF Kyle Beckerman started the play, playing Plata behind the Chivas defense with an accurate header. The Ecuadorian ran onto it on the left side, drawing Kennedy out before slotting past him for his first goal in a RSL uniform.
RSL looked poised to put the game away following Plata’s goal, but Chivas USA had other ideas, pulling one back through MF Jorge Villafaña in the 55th minute. MF Edgar Mejia lofted a cross into the box from the left side and Villafaña got on the end of it at the far post, looping a header over Rimando and into the side netting from six yards out.
Rimando came up huge two minutes later, stopping Correa from point-blank range to preserve RSL’s advantage. Real Salt Lake DF Carlos Salcedo slipped while attempting to clear a cross in the box, allowing the ball to fall to Correa, who slammed a shot that Rimando parried away with a stunning kick save.
RSL took back control following Correa’s chance, nearly adding a third goal on two separate occasions in the 66th minute. Findley was at the center of both opportunities. The substitute striker ran onto a Morales through ball on the first look, cutting into the box before laying a ball off at the top of the 18 for Plata, who scuffed a shot right at Kennedy. Findley took it himself on the second chance, running behind the Chivas back four and collecting a Morales pass in the middle of the field before being turned away as he attempted to round Kennedy.
Real Salt Lake had another golden opportunity go begging in the 77th minute. This time it was Gil who was played behind the Chivas defense, running in on Kennedy with Findley alongside. But the Claret-and-Cobalt couldn’t capitalize on the chance, with Gil hitting a shot off of Kennedy’s chest before Findley shot wide of the target after picking up the rebound.
Findley put RSL up 3-1 just a minute later. Substitute MF Yordany Alvarez collected a short corner kick in the right side of the area, curling a first time ball to the far post that Findley got on the end of for a tap in goal.
Grabavoy iced the match in the 91st minute, putting an exclamation point on a solid RSL move with his second goal of the game. Substitute MF Khari Stephenson played a great through ball down the middle, slipping Grabavoy behind for yet another 1-v-1 with Kennedy. The 29-year-old midfielder again made no mistake, curling a right-footed shot through Kennedy’s legs and into the back of the net.
The Real Salt Lake Reserves will take on the Chivas USA Reserves on Monday at 12:00 p.m. MT at the Home Depot Center. The Claret-and-Cobalt will return to Utah following the Reserve League match. The team will begin preparations for Saturday’s home game against Chicago – the first in a four-game MLS home stand – on Wednesday.
Real Salt Lake Match Notes – RSL 4-1 CHV
- Sunday’s win moves RSL to 8-2-1 in its last 11 matches against Chivas USA. The Claret-and-Cobalt has outscored the Goats 21-5 in that 11-game span.
- Real Salt Lake has now won its last five games at Chivas USA, outscoring the Southern California club 14-2 at the Home Depot Center in that stretch. RSL is now 6-7-1 all-time at Chivas USA, the best road record at any one opponent in RSL history.
- RSL has now won its last five matches at the Home Depot Center, beating Chivas USA three times and the LA Galaxy twice at the Carson facility since the start of the 2012 season. 11 of the Claret-and-Cobalt’s 28 all-time regular season road wins have come at the Home Depot Center.
- RSL’s four goal output on Sunday night was the club’s highest total since Sept. 29, 2012, when FW Alvaro Saborio scored a hat trick to lead the Utah side to a 4-0 victory at Chivas USA.
- Real Salt Lake has now scored multiple goals in four-consecutive MLS games, something the team hadn’t done since it scored multiple goals in five-straight MLS games in May 2010.
- Prior to Sunday night, Grabavoy last scored on Oct. 29, 2011, when he found the net in the 88th minute of RSL’s 3-0 Western Conference Semifinal first leg win over Seattle Sounders FC at Rio Tinto Stadium. Grabavoy’s last MLS regular season goal was on Oct. 16, 2010 in RSL’s 2-0 home win over FC Dallas.
- Sunday’s game was the first multi-goal effort of Grabavoy’s career. The 29-year-old midfielder now has 10 regular season goals in his MLS career.
- RSL’s fourth minute opener was the earliest goal scored – or conceded – by the Claret-and-Cobalt this year. Grabavoy’s early tally was RSL’s quickest goal since March 26, 2011, when former RSL MF and current Claret-and-Cobalt Head Scout Andy Williams scored in the second-minute of the team’s 4-1 home win against LA.
- Findley’s appearance as a 62nd minute substitute on Sunday was the 27-year-old speedster’s first game since April 20. Findley had missed RSL’s last four games after suffering a left knee hyperextension on April 26.
- RSL DF Chris Schuler did not play on Sunday night. Prior to Sunday, Schuler was the only RSL player to have started and appeared in all 12 of the Claret-and-Cobalt’s MLS matches. He had played every regular season minute for RSL prior to Sunday.
- Real Salt Lake’s starting back line of DF Chris Wingert, DF Carlos Salcedo, DF Nat Borchers and DF Tony Beltran had never played a match together before Sunday’s game.
REAL SALT LAKE 4-1 CHIVAS USA
SUNDAY, MAY 19, 2013
HOME DEPOT CENTER
Goals by Period 1 2 F
Real Salt Lake 1 3 4
Chivas USA 0 1 1
RSL – Ned Grabavoy (Javier Morales, Luis Gil) – 4’
RSL – Joao Plata (Kyle Beckerman) – 48’
CHV – Jorge Villafana (Edgar Mejia) – 55’
RSL – Robbie Findley (Yordany Alvarez) – 78’
RSL – Ned Grabavoy (Khari Stephenson) – 90’ + 1
CHV – Aaron Ponce (Foul; Yellow) – 33’
CHV – Walter Vilchez (Foul; Yellow) – 34’
RSL – Yordany Alvarez (Foul; Yellow) – 84’
Real Salt Lake (4-1-2-1-2): Nick Rimando; Tony Beltran, Nat Borchers, Carlos Salcedo, Chris Wingert; Kyle Beckerman (C); Ned Grabavoy, Luis Gil (Khari Stephenson, 84’); Javier Morales; Joao Plata (Yordany Alvarez, 73’), Devon Sandoval (Robbie Findley, 62’)
Substitutes: Josh Saunders (GK), Lovel Palmer, Chris Schuler, Sebastian Velasquez
Chivas USA (3-5-2): Dan Kennedy; Steve Purdy, Joaquin Velazquez (Gabriel Farfan, 46’), Bobby Burling; Edgar Mejia, Eric Avila, Walter Vilchez, Aaron Ponce, Jorge Villafana (Josue Soto, 88’); Miller Bolanos (Giovani Casillas, 56’), Jose Correa
Substitutes: Patrick McClain (GK), Marvin Iraheta, Jose Manuel Rivera, Carlos Borja
Referee: Sorin Stoica
Referee's Assistants: Corey Rockwell, Fabio Tovar
4th Official: Juan Guzman