SANDY, Utah – Real Salt Lake (2-0-2, 8 points, West #2) stayed unbeaten on the 2014 MLS regular season on Saturday night, getting a pair of goals from FW Alvaro Saborio to power past previously perfect Toronto FC (2-1-0, 6 points, East #4) 3-0 at Rio Tinto Stadium.
Saborio got RSL on the board early, opening the scoring with an 11th minute penalty kick. RSL MF Luis Gil made it 2-0 in the 28th before Saborio closed out the scoring with a 55th minute strike. Toronto came close to scoring on several occasions, but couldn’t slip anything by RSL GK Nick Rimando, who now has 110 career regular season shutouts, just two shy of the all-time MLS record currently held by retired GK Kevin Hartman.
Saborio put RSL on the board in the 11th minute, slotting a penalty kick past Toronto GK Julio Cesar and into the lower right corner. Saborio earned the spot kick in the 10th minute. A RSL player rolled a pass toward the Costa Rican international in the top right side of the box and he quickly turned to goal before being taken down inside the area by TFC DF Doneil Henry.
The Claret-and-Cobalt nearly made it 2-0 in the 26th minute. FW Olmes Garcia got free on the right side, whipping a cross into the middle from the flank. Saborio couldn’t quite connect with it at the near post, and the ball rolled through to MF Ned Grabavoy at the far bar. Grabavoy would’ve had a great look at goal, but couldn’t connect with the cross, slipping at the wrong moment and allowing the ball bounced by.
Gil doubled RSL’s advantage in the 28th. He and MF Javier Morales started the move, beautifully stringing together several short passes through the middle of Toronto’s third before Morales tapped a ball out to the left flank. Saborio dummied the pass, letting it roll through his legs and into space. RSL DF Chris Wingert gratefully ran onto it, smashing a 15-yard left-footer with his first touch. Wingert’s effort was blocked by a TFC defender, rebounding directly to Gil in the right side of the area. The 20-year-old U.S. international took it from there, hitting a first-touch left-footer past two TFC players and Cesar and into the back of the net.
RSL DF Nat Borchers made a fine play to deny TFC Designated Player Jermain Defoe a chance in first half stoppage time. The English international collected a ball outside the box, slaloming into the area and winding up for what would’ve been a dangerous shot before Borchers stepped in with a nicely timed tackle.
Real Salt Lake bossed the start of the second half, and nearly added a third in the 53rd minute. Morales picked up a ball on the left wing, curling a cross in out of the corner. Garcia got on the end of it at the near post, controlling it on the hop before seeing his half-volley blocked by a Toronto defender.
Toronto FC came agonizingly close a minute later, when MF Michael Bradley hit the post with a shot from distance. The American international picked up a loose ball in the center of RSL’s third, striking a low right-footer off the left post from 25 yards.
Saborio made it 3-0 in the 55th. Morales collected a pass from RSL Captain Kyle Beckerman in the middle of TFC’s half, chipping a ball over the top to Saborio. The Costa Rican international raced onto it at the top of the 18, using his first touch to hit the bouncing ball past Cesar, off of the right post and in.
Toronto turned it on after Saborio made it 3-0, registering a trio of chances in the 57th minute. FW Gilberto had the first look, hitting a shot from distance that Rimando held. Defoe had the next chance, picking up a ball at the top of the 18 and rifling an effort just wide of the left post. Henry had the best opportunity, powering a header of a Bradley corner just over the bar from the top of the six.
Garcia had an opportunity in the 69th minute. The Colombian striker ran onto a Morales chip just inside the area, stretching out his right leg in an attempt to flick the ball past an onrushing Cesar. Garcia couldn’t quite reach it however, and was called for a foul after a nasty collision with Cesar.
Rimando preserved the clean sheet with a big stop in the 77th minute. Toronto DF Justin Morrow got free on the left flank, hitting a low cross into the area from the end line. Rimando had to scramble to keep the curling ball out, reaching back to his right to paw the ball down before reeling it in off the line.
Bradley had a big chance in the 81st, when he collected a loose ball in the right side of the area before unleashing a right-footer that flashed just over the bar. That was the last clear look of the night for Toronto FC, which allowed RSL several half chances in the dying moments.
Real Salt Lake will return to action next Saturday, traveling to Kansas City for a MLS Cup 2013 rematch against Sporting Kansas City. Next Saturday’s match will kick at 6:30 p.m. MT and will be broadcast live on ABC 4, ESPN 700 AM and 102.3 La Gran D FM. RSL won’t return home until Saturday, April 19, when it will host Portland Timbers in a rematch of the 2013 Western Conference Final. Tickets to the Portland match 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 3-0 TOR
- With tonight’s win, Real Salt Lake now holds a 7-4-2 all-time regular season record against Toronto FC. RSL now has a 6-1-0 home record against the Canadian side, with tonight’s victory marking the Claret-and-Cobalt’s sixth-consecutive home win against Toronto. Real Salt Lake is 11-1-1 at home against Canadian teams across all competitions.
- RSL Captain Kyle Beckerman, GK Nick Rimando and MF Luis Gil will all depart Salt Lake City on Sunday, heading to Phoenix to join the U.S. Men’s National Team ahead of its Wednesday international friendly match at University of Phoenix Stadium against rival Mexico. The RSL trio will return to Salt Lake City following Wednesday’s game; all three players will be available for selection for next Saturday’s MLS Cup 2013 rematch at Sporting Kansas City.
- U.S. Men’s National Team Manager Jurgen Klinsmann was in attendance at Rio Tinto Stadium on Saturday to get a first-hand look at Beckerman, Rimando, Gil, Toronto FC’s U.S. international Michael Bradley and RSL USMNT hopefuls Tony Beltran and Chris Schuler.
- RSL FW Alvaro Saborio continued his fine run of form tonight, notching a brace to give him three goals in his last two games. His two goals marked his 16th multi-goal game for RSL across all competitions. Saborio scored his first goal of the season in RSL’s 1-1 draw with LA Galaxy in the Claret-and-Cobalt’s home opener last weekend. The 32-year-old now has a total of 55 goals in 101 regular season games and 71 goals in 119 matches across all competitions for RSL. RSL is now 37-6-11 in all competitions when Saborio scores.
- Saborio’s penalty kick conversion in the 11th minute makes him 12-for-13 from the spot in regulation MLS action.
- RSL MF Luis Gil notched his first goal of the 2014 season in the 28th minute to give the Claret-and-Cobalt an early 2-0 lead. The last goal Gil recorded for Real Salt Lake came on August 31, 2013 against Portland Timbers in RSL’s 4-2 win at home. Gil has a total of nine goals for the Claret-and-Cobalt in MLS regular season play.
- Tonight marked RSL veteran goalkeeper Nick Rimando’s 110th MLS career shutout. Rimando is now two shutouts away from tying the all-time record held by retired GK Kevin Hartman with 112.
- With tonight’s start, Beckerman became just the seventh player in league history to reach 300 career regular season starts. Additionally, Beckerman is in seventh-place in MLS history in minutes played.
- RSL DF Rich Balchan made his RSL debut tonight, subbing on for DF Chris Wingert in the 58th minute. Balchan did not appear in any first-team games for RSL in his first season with the club in 2013, missing most of the year due to a shoulder injury.
- RSL FW Devon Sandoval made his first appearance of 2014 tonight, entering the match in the 84th minute for FW Olmes Garcia. Sandoval had missed the start of the season recovering from a foot injury suffered in preseason.
- RSL DF Chris Wingert left tonight’s match in the 58th minute as a precaution against injury.
REAL SALT LAKE 3–0 TORONTO FC
SATURDAY, MARCH 29, 2014
RIO TINTO STADIUM
Goals by Period 1 2 F
Real Salt Lake 2 1 3
Toronto FC 0 0 0
RSL – Alvaro Saborio– 11’
RSL – Luis Gil – 28’
RSL – Alvaro Saborio (Javier Morales, Kyle Beckerman) – 55’
TOR – Jermain Defoe (Yellow; Foul) – 29’
TOR – Doneil Henry (Yellow; Foul) – 31’
TOR – Steven Caldwell (Yellow; Foul) – 35’
RSL – Chris Schuler (Yellow; Foul) – 38’
Real Salt Lake (4-1-2-1-2): Nick Rimando; Tony Beltran, Chris Schuler, Nat Borchers, Chris Wingert (Rich Balchan, 58’); Kyle Beckerman (C), Luis Gil, Ned Grabavoy, Javier Morales (Luke Mulholland, 89’); Alvaro Saborio, Olmes Garcia (Devon Sandoval, 84’)
Substitutes not used: Jeff Attinella; Carlos Salcedo; Cole Grossman, John Stertzer
Toronto FC (4-4-2): Julio Cesar; Bradley Orr (Issey Nakajima-Farran, 59’), Steven Caldwell, Doneil Henry, Justin Morrow; Alvaro Rey, Michael Bradley, Jeremy Hall (Kyle Bekker, 78’), Mark Bloom; Gilberto, Jermain Defoe (Dwayne De Rosario, 62’)
Substitutes not used: Joseph Bendik; Nick Hagglund, Ashtone Morgan; Andrew Wiedeman
Referee: Baldomero Toledo
Assistant Referees: Mike Rottersman, Fabio Tovar
4th Official: Drew Fischer
Weather: Clear and 64 degrees