SANDY, Utah – Real Salt Lake (14-10-6, 48 points, West #2) fell to the San Jose Earthquakes (11-11-8, 41 points, West #7) 2-1 at a sold-out Rio Tinto Stadium on Saturday night, allowing two goals from FW Steven Lenhart in the space of three minutes in the first half to drop its second straight match.
All three goals came within a three minute span in the first half, with Lenhart putting the Quakes on top in the 18th, RSL MF Javier Morales equalizing in the 19th and Lenhart scoring the winner in the 21st.
Lenhart gave San Jose the lead in the 18th minute. MF Cordell Cato collected a ball on the right flank, whipping a ball in that Lenhart got on the end of at the top right corner of the six yard box. RSL GK Nick Rimando had no chance to stop the ensuing header, which Lenhart powered home inside the near post.
RSL responded immediately, with Morales finishing Captain Kyle Beckerman’s corner kick to knot things at 1-1 in the 19th minute. Beckerman served in an in swinging ball from the right corner that flew just over a gaggle of players at the near post and fell to an unmarked Morales at the top of the six. The Argentine playmaker took advantage of the opportunity, finishing his left-footer into the top left corner with his first touch.
Things didn’t stay level for long, though, as Lenhart scored the game’s third goal in three minutes to put San Jose up 2-1 in the 21st. MF Shea Salinas served a set piece in from the left side, finding Lenhart at the right post for a nearly identical finish to his first goal.
RSL controlled much of the rest of the opening frame, keeping the ball in San Jose’s defensive third for long stretches and frequently pushing the ball out wide for crosses – and corners – into the box. Unfortunately, the Claret-and-Cobalt couldn’t quite break down San Jose’s compact defense and headed into the half down a goal.
Rimando made a big stop in the 49th minute to keep RSL within one. San Jose DF Jordan Stewart curled a cross in from the left flank, finding FW Chris Wondolowski at the penalty spot. The 2012 MLS Budweiser Golden Boot Winner directed his header on frame, forcing Rimando to palm the ball over the bar with a fine reflex save.
Claret-and-Cobalt Head Coach Jason Kreis injected the RSL attack with a bit of new blood in the 59th minute, bringing MF Luis Gil on for MF Khari Stephenson and FW Olmes Garcia on for FW Devon Sandoval.
Despite RSL continuing to control possession, it was the Earthquakes that had the next chance, nearly doubling their advantage off of a counterattack in the 67th minute. MF Rafael Baca picked up a loose ball just inside his own half and took off on the break, racing down the right side for a 2-v-1 with Wondolowski against RSL DF Chris Wingert. Wingert did a fine job of playing both Baca and Wondolowski, closing Baca down at just the right moment to prevent him from finding Wondolowski and to force him into a shot from a tight angle that Rimando saved.
RSL really started to push following the Baca chance, nearly equalizing through Wingert in the 73rd minute. The veteran left back collected a lay off at the top of the box, taking a touch and lacing a right-footer just wide of the left post from 20 yards out.
The Claret-and-Cobalt had another good look at an equalizer in the 82nd. Morales slipped substitute FW Robbie Findley through on the left side, allowing the speedy striker to run onto the ball just inside the area before taking a touch and whizzing a 12-yard left footer just wide of the near post upper 90.
RSL desperately searched for an equalizer in the game’s dying moments, but Findley’s near miss was the team’s last good opportunity. The RSL first-team will return to action next Saturday, Sept. 28, travelling north of the border to take on Vancouver Whitecaps FC at 5:00 p.m. MT at BC Place. Next weekend’s match will be broadcast live on CW30, ESPN 700 AM and 102.3 La Gran D FM/1600 AM.
The Real Salt Lake Reserves will close out the MLS Reserve League season on Tuesday, when they’ll host the Chivas USA Reserves at 11:00 a.m. MT at America First Field in Sandy, Utah. Tuesday’s Reserve League contest is open to the public and admission is free.
Real Salt Lake Match Notes – RSL 1-2 SJ
- RSL marked its sixth Rio Tinto Stadium sellout of the 2013 season with a crowd of 20,504. The standing room only sellout was the fourth largest crowd ever at Rio Tinto Stadium.
- RSL MF Javier Morales’ 19th minute goal gave him eight this MLS regular season. The Argentine continued his success against San Jose, notching his seventh goal in 13 career regular season games against the Quakes.
- With tonight’s 2-1 loss, RSL still remains one win away from reaching the 15-win and 50-point plateaus for the fourth straight year. That would be an accomplishment that no MLS club has achieved in the post-shootout era. Despite the loss, RSL remain second in the Western Conference and Supporters’ Shield races with 48 points. Seattle Sounders FC, which leads both the Western Conference and Supporters’ Shield races, have a chance to put more distance between themselves and RSL with a win or tie against the LA Galaxy tonight.
- San Jose FW Steven Lenhart scored two goals within three minutes (the 18th and 21st minutes), marking the fastest pair of conceded goals by RSL since July 2012. RSL has now lost back-to-back games for the second time this season, with the first pair of consecutive losses coming to Sporting Kansas City on July 20 and at the New York Red Bulls on July 27.
- Tonight’s loss marks RSL’s third defeat at home in the 2013 season. It is also San Jose’s third ever win in Utah all-time.
- RSL’s all-time leading goal scorer, FW Alvaro Saborio, was missing from tonight’s lineup due to a left calf strain suffered while he was on international duty with Costa Rica.
REAL SALT LAKE 1–2 SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES
SATURDAY, SEPT. 21, 2013
RIO TINTO STADIUM
Goals by Period 1 2 F
Real Salt Lake 1 0 1
San Jose Earthquakes 2 0 2
SJ – Steven Lenhart (Cordell Cato) – 18’
RSL – Javier Morales (Kyle Beckerman) – 19’
SJ – Steven Lenhart (Shea Salinas) – 21’
RSL – Chris Wingert (Yellow; Foul) – 65’
SJ – Clarence Goodson (Yellow; Foul) – 67’
SJ – Victor Bernardez (Yellow; Persistent Infringement) – 73’
SJ – Jon Busch (Yellow; Time Wasting) – 90’+3’
Real Salt Lake (4-1-2-1-2): Nick Rimando; Tony Beltran, Nat Borchers, Carlos Salcedo (Robbie Findley, 79’), Chris Wingert; Kyle Beckerman (C); Ned Grabavoy; Khari Stephenson (Luis Gil, 59’); Javier Morales; Joao Plata; Devon Sandoval (Olmes Garcia, 59’)
Substitutes not used: Jeff Attinella (GK), Lovel Palmer, Yordany Alvarez, Cole Grossman
San Jose Earthquakes (4-4-2): Jon Busch; Jordan Stewart; Clarence Goodson (Jason Hernandez, 71’); Victor Bernardez; Jordan Stewart; Cordell Cato; Rafael Baca; Sam Cronin; Shea Salinas (Justin Morrow, 74’); Steven Lenhart (Alan Gordon, 90’+1’), Chris Wondolowski
Substitutes not used: David Bingham (GK), Jaime Alas; Ramiro Corrales; Adam Jahn
Referee: Chris Penso
Assistant Referees: Colin Arblaster, Mike Kampmeinert
4th Official: Ricardo Salazar
Weather: Clear and 82 degrees