SANDY, Utah (Saturday, March 19, 2022) – Real Salt Lake (3-0-1, 10 points) defeated Nashville SC 2-1 at Rio Tinto Stadium to remain undefeated, giving the team its best start to a season since 2011.
FW Bobby Wood netted his second goal of the season, while DF Tate Schmitt scored his second-consecutive game-winner to help the Claret-and-Cobalt remain undefeated.
Back at the RioT, Real Salt Lake got off to a perfect start, scoring the opening goal of the match in the second minute, when FW Justin Meram sent a corner kick onto the head of Wood just 88 seconds into the match.
However, Nashville began to control possession and in the 25th minute they found the equalizer when Walker Zimmerman headed in a free-kick service from Hany Mukhtar. Nashville nearly took the lead in the first minute of first-half stoppage time, when Daniel Lovitz found himself one-on-one with GK Zac MacMath, but his shot hit the right post. Moments later RSL seemed to have a breakaway opportunity, but Schmitt’s shot cleared the cross bar and the half ended level at 1-1.
The Claret-and-Cobalt opened up the second half similar to how they started the first, with several opportunities in quick succession, leading to the team’s second goal in the 54th minute. After ping-ponging around the box, the ball landed at the feet of MF Maikel Chang who strung a long ball through several Nashville defenders to find Schmitt on the back post for an easy tap-in goal and a retake of the lead for Real Salt Lake.
Nashville continued to press, seeking the equalizer, but MacMath came up big, making several consecutive saves, preserving the lead, while also surpassing 450 career saves. In desperation, Nashville’s Dax McCarty stepped on MLS debutant MF Bode Davis in the sixth minute of stoppage time and was shown a red card, leaving the visiting side with just 10 men to finish out the match. Shortly thereafter, referee Tori Penso blew the final whistle, giving Real Salt Lake is third consecutive win and it's best start since 2011 with the 2-1 win at Rio Tinto Stadium.
UP NEXT: Real Salt Lake heads on the road for back-to-back rivalry matches, first against Sporting Kansas City on Saturday, March 26 at 5:00 p.m. MT and then at Colorado Rapids for leg one of the Rocky Mountain Cup on Saturday, April 2 at 7:00 p.m. MT. The team will return to Rio Tinto Stadium on Saturday, April 9 when they host Eastern-Conference foes Toronto FC.
GOAL SCORING RUNDOWN
RSL: Bobby Wood (Justin Meram), 2nd minute: On a second consecutive corner kick, Meram serviced the ball onto the head of Wood who flicked it backwards, through the hands of the goalkeeper, for the opening goal of the match.
NSH: Walker Zimmerman (Hany Mukhtar), 25th minute: After being awarded a free kick just outside the 18-yard-box, Mukhtar serviced the ball in directly to Zimmerman's head for him to flick it into the center of the goal.
RSL: Tate Schmitt (Maikel Chang) 54th minute: After several shots ricocheting off Nashville defenders, Chang sent a long ball that skipped through a sea of yellow jerseys to an oncoming Schmitt who calmly slipped it in to the back of the net.
- Nick Besler, Zack Farnsworth, Damir Kreilach, Marcelo Silva, David Ochoa and Rubio Rubin were unavailable due to injury.
- Goalkeeper Zac MacMath wore the captain’s armband while Damir Kreilach was out due to injury.
- For the first time since the summer of 2016, the Club welcomed more than 20,000 fans to Rio Tinto Stadium in back-to-back matches.
- Defender Tate Schmitt scored his second Major League Soccer goal, and his second game winner in back-to-back weeks.
- Midfielder Bode Davis made his Major League Soccer debut as a second-half substitute in the 84th minute.
Match: Real Salt Lake vs. Nashville SC
Date: March 19, 2022
Venue: Rio Tinto Stadium Stadium; Sandy, Utah
Weather: Clear and 50 degrees
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
Real Salt Lake 1 1 2
Nashville SC 1 0 1
RSL: Bobby Wood (Justin Meram), 2’
NSH: Walker Zimmerman (Hany Mukhtar), 25’
RSL: Tate Schmitt (Maikel Chang) 54’
Real Salt Lake (3-4-2-1): Zac MacMath, Erik Holt, Justen Glad (Aaron Herrera 63’), Johan Kappelhof; Andrew Brody, Pablo Ruiz (Everton Luiz 78’), Scott Caldwell, Justin Meram (Jasper Löffelsend 78’), Tate Schmitt, Maikel Chang (Bode Davis 84’); Bobby Wood (Sergio Cordova 63’)
Subs not used: Tomas Gomez, Chris Garcia, Jonathan Menendez, Jaziel Orozco
Nashville SC (4-4-2): Joe Willis; Eric Miller, Walker Zimmerman, Dave Romney, Daniel Lovitz; Sean Davis, Alex Muyl (Ake Loba 74’), Anibal Godoy (Dax McCarty 74’), Randall Leal; Hany Mukhtar, Teal Dunbury (CJ Sapong 57’)
Subs not used: Luke Haakenson, Bryan Meredith, Josh Bauer, Jack Maher, Taylor Washington, Bruant Anunga
Stats Summary: RSL / NSH
Shots: 10 / 16
Shots on Goal: 2 / 8
Saves: 7 / 0
Corner Kicks: 7 / 4
Fouls: 7 / 9
RSL: Tate Schmitt (caution) 24’
NSH: Daniel Lovitz (caution) 41’
NSH: Walker Zimmerman (caution) 53’
NSH: Dax McCarty (caution) 90+3’
NSH: Dax McCarty (ejection) 90+6’
Referee: Tori Penso
Assistant Referees: Jose da Silva, Brooke Mayo
4th Official: Jair Marrufo
VAR: Sorin Stoica