TORONTO, Ontario – Real Salt Lake extended its club record winning streak to seven games across all competitions on Saturday, getting a goal from MF Yordany Alvarez to beat Toronto FC 1-0 at BMO Field. The win was RSL’s first-ever in Canada; the Claret-and-Cobalt was winless in 10 matches in all competitions north of the border prior to Saturday’s victory.
RSL is now 10-1-1 in all competitions since the start of May. Saturday’s win completed a perfect month for the Utah side, which was 6-0-0 in MLS and Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup play during June. The Claret-and-Cobalt now stands alone atop the MLS table, three points ahead of the second-place Portland Timbers for the Supporters’ Shield and Western Conference leads.
Real Salt Lake Head Coach Jason Kreis ran out a bit of an unusual starting lineup on Saturday, resting several regulars as he navigates the team through a busy stretch of four games in 12 days. The Claret-and-Cobalt also changed formation, departing from its usual 4-1-2-1-2 setup in favor of a 4-3-3.
RSL got off to a bit of a slow start as it settled in to its new lineup and formation. Toronto nearly took advantage in the 13th minute, when MF Bobby Convey had a very good look at goal. MF Jonathan Osorio picked up a loose pass in RSL’s half, slipping FW Danny Koevermans through just outside the right edge of the area. Koevermans quickly crossed to Convey at the top of the box, who took a touch toward goal and flicked a left-footed shot just wide of the far post from the spot.
RSL MF Javier Morales had a decent look in the 16th minute, picking up a loose ball just outside the box on the left side and forcing TFC GK Joe Bendik into a diving save with a 20-yard curler.
Toronto had another good look in the 29th. DF Ryan Richter crossed from the right wing to Koevermans in the middle of the box, but the Dutchman couldn’t generate any pace on his shot, rolling the ball right to RSL GK Nick Rimando for a comfortable save.
Alvarez scored his first career MLS goal to put RSL up 1-0 in the 45th minute. DF Tony Beltran collected a ball on the right wing, cutting into the box and passing to FW Olmes Garcia at the top of the box. Garcia smartly laid the ball off to Alvarez, who froze Bendik with an absolute laser of a shot that found the inside of the far post from just outside the top right corner of the box.
The second half started slowly, with neither side registering a clear cut opportunity until Bendik punched away a 25-yard free kick from Morales in the 72nd minute.
Things got heated in the 78th minute. Toronto MF Luis Silva got into it with Beltran, kicking out at the RSL right back’s leg after going down. Beltran took exception to Silva’s shenanigans, shoving the TFC substitute to the ground. Toronto DF Doneil Henry then escalated things, flying in to the fracas and shoving Beltran to the ground from behind. Referee Chris Penso showed Beltran and Henry straight red cards for their role in the incident and gave RSL FW Robbie Findley a yellow for pushing Henry after he shoved Beltran.
Toronto nearly equalized on three separate occasions in stoppage time, but Rimando came up with two huge stops and RSL DF Nat Borchers made a goal-line clearance to preserve the three points.
Toronto’s first look came in the 93rd minute. A cross from former RSL FW Justin Braun took a deflection on its way in from the left side and FW Jeremy Brockie got on the end of it, flicking a header on goal from the top left of the six only to be cruelly denied by a nice reflex save from Rimando.
Brockie was denied again in the 95th. Toronto lumped a ball forward out of the back, and Brockie beat an onrushing Rimando to it in the box, flicking the bouncing ball over the RSL ‘keeper and on target. The ball looked ticketed for the back of the net, but Borchers had other ideas, racing back to clear the ball off the line.
Rimando came up big again in the 96th. A Toronto corner kick from the right side was flicked on to the back post to DF Steve Caldwell, who had an open look at goal from three yards. Thankfully for RSL, Caldwell couldn’t quite control the ball, scuffing a shot on frame that Rimando saved with a dive.
Real Salt Lake will return to action on Wednesday, when it will host the Philadelphia Union at 8:00 p.m. at Rio Tinto Stadium. Tickets to the match – which will feature postgame fireworks – 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 1-0 TOR
- Saturday’s win was RSL’s seventh-straight in all competitions and fourth-consecutive in MLS play. The Claret-and-Cobalt is 10-1-1 in all comps and 7-1-1 in MLS since the start of May. During that stretch RSL has outscored its opponents 31-11 for a +20 goal differential.
- RSL is now alone in first-place in the Supporters’ Shield and Western Conference standings. The Claret-and-Cobalt’s 33 points are three more than the second-place Portland Timbers in both races. RSL’s 1.83 points per game is second in the league, behind only the Montreal Impact, which is averaging 2.07 points per match.
- Saturday’s victory was Real Salt Lake’s first-ever win in Canada. RSL was winless in 10 matches in all competitions north of the border prior to the win. Before Saturday, RSL was 0-3-3 in all competitions in Toronto, posting a 0-3-2 mark in MLS play and a 0-0-1 record in CONCACAF Champions League action. RSL had never scored a MLS goal in Toronto prior to Saturday, getting shutout in all five of its league matches on the shores of Lake Ontario.
- MF Yordany Alvarez’s 45th minute goal on Saturday was the first of his MLS career and RSL’s first league goal at Toronto. Alvarez joined RSL late in the 2011 season. The Cuban defector now has one goal in 29 career MLS appearances, 12 of which have been starts. According to Peter Hirdt of the Elias Sports Bureau, Alvarez is the first RSL player whose first goal was scored in a 1-0 victory.
- Saturday’s shutout was RSL’s third-consecutive clean sheet across all competitions. The Claret-and-Cobalt hasn’t given up a goal in its last 372 minutes, last conceding in the 18th minute of its 120-minute 5-2 U.S. Open Cup fourth-round win over the Charleston
REAL SALT LAKE 1–0 TORONTO FC
SATURDAY, JUNE 29, 2013
Goals by Period 1 2 F
Real Salt Lake 1 0 1
Toronto FC 0 0 0
RSL – Yordany Alvarez (Olmes Garcia, Tony Beltran) – 45’
RSL – Olmes Garcia (Yellow; Foul) – 25’
RSL – Lovel Palmer (Yellow; Foul) – 34’
TOR – Danny Koevermans (Yellow; Foul) – 37’
TOR – Ryan Richter (Yellow; Foul) – 60’
RSL – Robbie Findley (Yellow; Argument) – 79’
TOR – Doneil Henry (Red; Fight) – 79’
RSL – Tony Beltran (Red; Fight) – 79’
TOR – Steve Caldwell (Yellow; Foul) – 90’+3
Real Salt Lake (4-3-3): Nick Rimando, Tony Beltran, Nat Borchers, Aaron Maund, Lovel Palmer; Kyle Beckerman (C), Yordany Alvarez, Javier Morales; Joao Plata (Ned Grabavoy, 62'), Devon Sandoval (Abdoulie Mansally, 82'), Olmes Garcia (Robbie Findley, 69')
Substitutes not used: Josh Saunders (GK), Carlos Salcedo, Sebastian Velasquez, Khari Stephenson
Toronto FC (4-4-2): Joe Bendik; Ryan Richter, Doneil Henry, Steve Caldwell, Darren O'Dea; Jonathan Osorio, Matias Laba, Jeremy Hall (Justin Braun, 59'), Bobby Convey (Reggie Lambe, 86'); Jeremy Brockie, Danny Koevermans (Luis Silva, 54')
Substitutes not used: Quillan Roberts (GK), Gale Agbossoumonde, Ashtone Morgan, Darel Russell
Referee: Chris Penso
Assistant Referees: Peter Manikowski, Matthew Nelson
4th Official: Mark Kadlecik