BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. – Real Salt Lake (4-0-5, 17 points, West #2) won in dramatic fashion on Saturday night, getting a 90th minute equalizer from FW Alvaro Saborio and a 93rd minute winner from FW Joao Plata to defeat Chicago Fire (0-2-6, 6 points, East #10) 3-2 at Toyota Park
RSL fell behind early, conceding in the 22nd and 30th minutes to go into the half down 2-0. The Claret-and-Cobalt didn’t pull one back until the 72nd minute, when Plata finished a MF Javier Morales pass to cut RSL’s deficit in half. Saborio made it 2-2 in the 90th minute, and Plata finished the Fire off in the 93rd, finishing a Saborio cross to give RSL all three points.
Saturday’s win moves the Claret-and-Cobalt to 4-0-5 on the season. RSL remains the only unbeaten team in MLS, with the team’s regular season unbeaten streak now standing at 13 games dating back to last season.
FW Mike Magee gave Chicago the lead in the 22nd minute, pouncing on a rebound to slot home from close-range. RSL GK Nick Rimando made a magnificent save to keep the first effort out, quickly diving to his left to make a one-handed stop on Chicago MF Harry Shipp’s 20-yard effort. There was nothing he could do on the follow-up however, with Magee coasting in and powering home from inside the six to put RSL down 0-1.
Saborio had a chance to level in the 24th minute. DF Chris Wingert slipped the Costa Rican international in on the left side of the box, with Saborio turning and firing a shot on frame from a tight angle that onrushing Fire GK Sean Johnson blocked with his chest.
Chicago FW Juan Luis Anangono gave the Fire a 2-0 lead in the 30th minute, when he acrobatically headed a DF Greg Cochrane cross inside the left post from eight yards out.
RSL nearly found its first goal on three separate occasions before the end of the half. Saborio had the first look in the 36th, collecting a pass at the top of the box and firing a volley on frame that Johnson pushed around the post and out for a corner kick. DF Chris Schuler had a chance one minute later, flashing a header of a Plata cross wide of the left post. Plata had the final look in the 39th, powering a curling right-footer toward the left post that Johnson somehow got his hands on to push around the post.
Magee nearly made it 3-0 in the 63rd minute, racing past the RSL backline for a 1-v-1 with Rimando and hitting the crossbar from 15 yards out. A mad scramble ensued following Magee’s effort, with RSL blocking a pair of Chicago shots before a Fire player was whistled for a foul to end the danger.
Plata pulled RSL within one in the 72nd minute. Morales assisted on the play, weaving a pass through the Fire defense to Plata just inside the area. The Ecuadorian attacker took it from there, turning and powering a low right-footer inside the left post to make it 2-1.
RSL kept the pressure on after Plata’s first strike, pinning Chicago in its own half and putting the Fire backline under siege before Saborio equalized in the 90th minute. Substitute DF Abdoulie Mansally started the move, playing a give-and-go with MF Ned Grabavoy down the left side before lobbing a cross into the middle. Saborio got on the end of it at the back post, heading a shot that was blocked by a Fire player before pouncing on the rebound and blasting home from close-range.
RSL stayed on the front foot after Saborio’s equalizer, with Plata scoring the dramatic winner in the third minute of stoppage time. Saborio assisted on the goal, hitting an inch-perfect cross from the left wing that Plata volleyed in from four yards out.
Real Salt Lake will aim to maintain its unbeaten record next Sunday, when it will play at the Houston Dynamo. Next Sunday’s match will kick at 5:00 p.m. MT and will be broadcast live on CW30, ESPN 700 AM and 102.3 La Gran D FM. RSL will return home on Saturday, May 17, when it will take on Colorado Rapids at 7:30 p.m. MT at Rio Tinto Stadium. Tickets to the May 17 match are on sale and can be purchased 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 3-2 CHI
· Saturday’s win maintained Real Salt Lake’s unbeaten record, improving the Claret-and-Cobalt to 4-0-5 in 2014. RSL’s nine-game unbeaten run to start the season is a club record. The team’s 13-game regular season unbeaten streak dating back to last September is the second-longest in club history, trailing only the 18-game regular season unbeaten run compiled in the 2010 and 2011 seasons.
· Saturday’s win moved RSL Head Coach Jeff Cassar to unbeaten in his first nine games of his managerial career. Cassar’s nine-game unbeaten run to start his MLS coaching career is the second-longest such streak in league history, trailing only Lothar Osiander, who started the 1996 season 12-0-0 as head coach of the LA Galaxy.
· RSL FW Joao Plata scored two goals on Saturday night, giving him five goals and two assists in just six games this year. Plata has played only 394 minutes this season, giving him a 1.14 goals for every 90 minutes played.
· RSL FW Alvaro Saborio’s goal on Saturday also gives him five goals on the season. The Costa Rican international now has 72 goals in 135 games across all competitions for RSL.
REAL SALT LAKE 3–2 CHICAGO FIRE
SATURDAY, MAY 3, 2014
Goals by Period 1 2 F
Real Salt Lake 0 3 3
Chicago Fire 2 0 2
CHI – Mike Magee – 22’
CHI – Juan Luis Anangono (Greg Cochrane) – 30’
RSL – Joao Plata (Javier Morales) – 72’
RSL – Alvaro Saborio (Abdoulie Mansally) – 90’
RSL – Joao Plata (Alvaro Saborio) – 93’
RSL – Chris Schuler (Yellow; Foul) – 30’
RSL – Kyle Beckerman (Yellow; Foul) – 44’
CHI – Mike Magee (Yellow; Foul) – 63’
Real Salt Lake (4-1-2-1-2): Nick Rimando; Tony Beltran, Chris Schuler, Nat Borchers (Olmes Garcia, 88’), Chris Wingert (Abdoulie Mansally, 69’); Kyle Beckerman (C); Luke Mulholland (Sebastian Velasquez, 69’), Ned Grabavoy; Javier Morales; Joao Plata, Alvaro Saborio
Substitutes not used: Jeff Attinella, Aaron Maund, John Stertzer, Devon Sandoval
Chicago Fire (4-4-2): Sean Johnson; Lovel Palmer, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Bakary Soumare, Greg Cochrane; Patrick Nyarko (Matt Watson, 62’), Jeff Larentowicz (C), Benji Joya, Harry Shipp; Mike Magee (Victor Pineda, 85’), Juan Luis Anongano
Substitutes not used: Kyle Reynish (GK), Patrick Ianni, Gonzalo Segares, Logan Pause, Orr Barouch
Referee: Juan Guzman
Assistant Referees: Matthew Kreiter, Peter Balciunas
4th Official: Robert Sibiga