SANDY, Utah – Real Salt Lake (9-5-3, 30 points, West #1) gained sole possession of the Supporters’ Shield lead on Saturday night, beating Seattle Sounders FC (6-5-3, 21 points, West #6) 2-0 at Rio Tinto Stadium to move past FC Dallas and into first-place in MLS.
Captain Kyle Beckerman and FW Robbie Findley scored in the 41st and 46th minutes for RSL, which turned in a dominant defensive performance, holding Seattle to a mere two shots and allowing zero clear-cut chances.
Saturday’s win was the fifth-straight in all competitions for RSL. The Claret-and-Cobalt is now unbeaten in its last seven and 8-1-1 in its last 10 games across all comps. RSL leads the league in both goals scored with 26 and goal differential with a +10 mark.
The game got off to a slow start. RSL held a sizable possession advantage early on, but Seattle stayed organized in the back, not allowing the Claret-and-Cobalt any real opportunities for the majority of the first half.
That changed in the 41st minute, when Beckerman scored a fine goal to give RSL the lead. Seattle fouled FW Alvaro Saborio outside the box on the left side to give RSL a dangerous free kick. MF Javier Morales stepped to the 23-yard dead ball, hitting it off the wall and into the right side of the box. Beckerman ran onto it at the corner of the six, side-volleying his first-time shot over Sounders GK Michael Gspurning, off the underside of the crossbar and into the back of the net.
It didn’t take RSL long to double its advantage, with Findley putting the Claret-and-Cobalt up 2-0 just seconds into the second half. Morales started the play, slipping Findley into the left side of the box with a through ball. Gspurning punched the speedy striker’s initial 10-yard effort away, only for it to fall to Saborio at the top of the 18. The Costa Rican international quickly hit a shot that went directly at Findley, who collected the ball, turned and fired inside the far post from the top left corner of the six to put RSL up 2-0.
The Claret-and-Cobalt continued attacking after Findley’s goal, registering a pair of half chances in the 61st minute and seeing a goal called back for offside in the 69th. DF Nat Borchers had the disallowed strike, tapping a ball home from close range before the linesman correctly raised his flag.
Seattle had its best chance of the game in the 82nd minute. FW Obafemi Martins ran onto a long ball in the area, dribbling wide of RSL GK Nick Rimando before turning and chipping an off-balance shot off the side netting from a tough angle.
Saborio nearly made it 3-0 in the 87th minute. The Costa Rican international got on the end of a Morales corner kick at the left post, heading his shot across the face of goal and inches wide of the far bar.
Real Salt Lake will return to action on Wednesday, when it will host the NASL Carolina RailHawks in a Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Quarterfinal match at 7:30 p.m. at Rio Tinto Stadium. The Claret-and-Cobalt will return to MLS action next Saturday, June 29, when it will travel north of the border to take on Toronto FC.
Real Salt Lake Match Notes – RSL 2-0 SEA
- Though Real Salt Lake leads MLS with 30 points in 17 games (1.76 PPG), it still trails the Montreal Impact (29 points in 14 games; 2.07 PPG) and FC Dallas (29 points in 16 games; 1.81 PPG) in points per game.
- Real Salt Lake has now scored 19 goals in its last eight MLS matches (2.375 goals per game) and 27 goals in its last 10 games (2.7 goals per game) across all competitions. RSL leads MLS with 26 goals scored in league play. The Claret-and-Cobalt has scored 34 goals in 19 games across all competitions this year. RSL has scored multiple goals in five straight games and in nine of its last 10 matches across all comps.
- Tonight’s shutout was RSL GK Nick Rimando’s fifth of the year and 104th of his career. The veteran ‘keeper is now just eight shutouts behind New York GK Kevin Hartman – who has 112 – for the all-time MLS lead.
- Real Salt Lake FW Alvaro Saborio started and went the full 90 for the Claret-and-Cobalt on Saturday night. It was Saborio’s first start for RSL in over two months; he last started in the Utah side’s 1-0 win over Chivas USA at Rio Tinto Stadium on April 20. Prior to Saturday, the Costa Rican international had played just once after that start against Chivas due to a combination of international duty and injuries, coming off the bench and scoring in RSL’s 1-1 tie against the Chicago Fire on May 25.
- Saturday’s win was RSL Head Coach Jason Kreis’s 99th victory across all competitions. He is now 99-79-60 since retiring as a player to become Claret-and-Cobalt head coach in May 2007.
- Saturday’s result was the Claret-and-Cobalt’s 98th all-time victory in MLS regular season play.
- Real Salt Lake Captain Kyle Beckerman became MLS’s all-time leader in fouls committed on Saturday night. He now has 478 career fouls in regular season play, one more than former MLS MF Jesse Marsch.
REAL SALT LAKE 2–0 SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC
SATURDAY, JUNE 22, 2013
RIO TINTO STADIUM
Goals by Period 1 2 F
Real Salt Lake 1 1 2
Seattle Sounders FC 0 0 0
RSL – Kyle Beckerman – 41’
RSL – Robbie Findley (Alvaro Saborio) – 46’
RSL – Chris Wingert (Foul; Yellow) – 24’
RSL – Kyle Beckerman (Foul; Yellow) – 59’
SEA – Leo Gonzalez (Foul; Yellow) – 61’
SEA – Djimi Traore (Dissent) – 74’
Real Salt Lake (4-1-2-1-2): Nick Rimando; Tony Beltran, Nat Borchers, Carlos Salcedo, Chris Wingert; Kyle Beckerman (C); Ned Grabavoy, Khari Stephenson (Sebastian Velasquez, 77’); Javier Morales (Yordany Alvarez, 90’); Robbie Findley (Olmes Garcia, 67’), Alvaro Saborio
Substitutes not used: Josh Saunders (GK), Lovel Palmer, Joao Plata, Devon Sandoval
Seattle Sounders FC (4-4-2): Michael Gspurning; Zach Scott, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Djimi Traore, Leo Gonzalez; Mauro Rosales (C) (Shalrie Joseph, 76’)), Servando Carrasco, Brad Evans, Lamar Neagle (Mario Martinez, 57’); Obafemi Martins, Eddie Johnson (David Estrada, 73’)
Substitutes not used: Marcus Hahnemann (GK), Marc Burch, Alex Caskey, Andy Rose
Referee: Armando Villarreal
Assistant Referees: Greg Barkey, Claudio Badea
4th Official: Alejandro Mariscal
Weather: Clear and 75 degrees