SANDY, Utah – Real Salt Lake (11-4-9, 42 points, West #1), moved into first-place in the league and Western Conference on Saturday, defeating Western Conference foe Seattle Sounders FC (13-7-2, 41 points, West #2) 2-1 in front of a sold-out crowd at Rio Tinto Stadium.
RSL FW Joao Plata scored the opening goal in the 53rd minute, heading home a free kick taken by RSL MF Luke Mulholland. RSL doubled its lead four minutes later, after Mulholland got on the end of a pass from RSL MF Luis Gil inside the box and slotted his shot into the left corner. The goal was initially ruled an own goal off Seattle MF Osvaldo Alonso, but video review hours after the game properly credited Mulholland with what proved to be the game-winner, also granting assists to both Gil and Plata, whose alert defensive recovery initiated the sequence. Seattle managed to pull one back in the 72nd minute after Sounders FW Chad Barrett capitalized on a RSL defensive miscue, and knocked in a loose ball inside the box to halve the deficit. The Claret-and-Cobalt was able to hold on to the one goal lead and record the win which now puts RSL in first-place in the Supporters’ Shield race with an 11-4-9 record and total of 42 points, one point ahead of Seattle.
Real Salt Lake got off to a fast start, registering the first chance of the match in the second minute. Plata received the ball atop the area, working his way onto his right foot and blasting a shot to the near post that was unable to beat Seattle GK Stefan Frei. RSL had another chance moments later with Seattle unable to clear the ball out of its end and the Claret-and-Cobalt regaining possession outside the 18 yard box. Plata again got the ball on the left side and floated a pass to Mulholland at the other end of the box who volleyed his attempt from 15 yards out just wide of the net.
The Claret-and-Cobalt had another fantastic opportunity in the 17th minute. RSL DF Chris Wingert got the ball on the left side just outside the area and played a bending cross into the box. The ball fell to the feet of Plata just in front of goal but the Ecuadorian was unable to latch onto it, letting it slip by for a goal kick.
Plata had another decent look a minute later when Mulholland played Gil into the box on the right side. The U.S. international looked as if to shoot but instead played a pass to an oncoming Plata in the center of the box. The speedy striker was unable to get to the ball in time before it rolled out of harm’s way. Seattle was quick to counter for its first real chance of the match, with DF Leo Gonzalez streaking to the touch line and whipping a dangerous ball across the face of goal. Rimando was there though to snuff out the threat, punching away the cross.
Seattle’s Gonzalez had another nice look in the 41st minute. The Sounders defender got the ball at the top of the box and sliced a left-footed shot to the far post that went just wide.
The Claret-and-Cobalt got a final look at the end of the first half in the 45th minute. RSL MF Ned Grabavoy started the play, springing FW Olmes Garcia down the left side. The Colombian hit a low cross into the box that Frei deflected into the path of Seattle DF Chad Marshall which then bounced back off of a diving Frei. Plata attempted to poke in the rebound but was not able to reach the ball in time.
Real Salt Lake took the lead in the 53rd minute. The play started with Garcia earning a free kick 20 yards out from goal just outside the area. Mulholland took the free kick whipping in a fantastic ball to the far post that Plata headed past Frei for his 11th goal of the year. The tally marked the Ecuadorian’s second-straight header in an MLS match, previously using head in the opening goal of RSL’s 3-0 win over D.C. United on Aug. 9.
The Claret-and-Cobalt doubled its lead four minutes later. Plata started the play at the top of the area, laying off a pass for Gil just inside the center of the box. The RSL youngster played a nice forward ball for Mulholland who was able to get enough on the shot to send it past an outstretched Alonso and into the left corner of the net. The goal was controversially accredited as a Seattle own goal however, after it appeared that Seattle’s Alonso got a final touch on the shot.
Seattle managed to pull one back in the 72nd minute. The play started with Seattle FW Kenny Cooper who worked his way past RSL DF Tony Beltran on the left wing. The forward played a pass back into the center of the box that RSL was unable to clear, ending up at the feet of Seattle FW Clint Dempsey. The U.S. Captain shot on frame but Rimando came off his line with a fantastic kick save, popping the ball up which fell to Seattle substitute Andy Rose, who headed a shot that went off the right post. Sounders FW Chad Barrett was there to clean up the rebound and easily knocked it in to cut the deficit in half.
Dempsey almost tied things up in the 78th minute. The forward worked his way round the top of the box and sent a left-footed rocket to the left post that missed just wide. Seattle’s Barrett almost made it two on the night, striking a left-footed half-volley to the far post that had Rimando beat, but missed just inches wide.
The Claret-and-Cobalt was able to weather the final few nervy minutes and finish the match 2-1 to extend its unbeaten run to six games in MLS play.
The Claret-and-Cobalt will return to action on Friday, when it heads to Texas to take on FC Dallas at 7:00 p.m. MT at Toyota Stadium. The match will be broadcast live on NBC Sports Network, ESPN 700 AM and 102.3 La Gran D FM.
Real Salt Lake Match Notes – RSL 2–1 SEA
- Saturday’s attendance of 20,483 marked Real Salt Lake’s 11th sell-out of in MLS play this year, and 10th straight (if including RSL’s international friendly v. Tijuana). Today’s sell-out marks the club’s 41st sell-out across all competitions since Rio Tinto Stadium’s 2008 opening.
- Today’s matchup between RSL and Seattle Sounders FC was the second regular season meeting between the two sides this year. RSL is now 1-1-0 against Seattle this season, losing the previous meeting 4-0 on May 31 at CenturyLink Field.
- Real Salt Lake continued its unbeaten run in MLS play, improving it to six games. The Claret-and-Cobalt has rebounded from its mid-summer slump, going 4-0-2 in its last six matches. RSL’s last loss came on July 12, a 1-0 defeat at LA Galaxy.
- Real Salt Lake FW Joao Plata opened up the scoring today, notching his 11th goal of the year in the 53rd minute. RSL MF Luke Mulholland earned the assist for his fifth helper of the year.
- RSL’s Luis Gil was in the starting XI today in place of veteran MF Javier Morales. The young U.S. international played at the top of the diamond in the Claret-and-Cobalt’s favored 4-1-2-1-2 formation. Gil last played atop the diamond in MLS play in week two, recording an assist in RSL’s 3-3 draw at San Jose Earthquakes. Gil also scored from the CAM position on June 4 in RSL’s 1-1 draw at Columbus Crew, with RSL in a 4-2-3-1 setup. In 2013, the Claret-and-Cobalt went 4-3-2 when Gil filled in for Morales at the top of the diamond, and is now 17-8-4 all-time.
- Real Salt Lake improved its all-time record to 6-4-4 against Seattle. Real Salt Lake has been successful at home v. the Sounders, now posting a 4-1-2 record in the Beehive state, and outscoring the Pacific Northwest side 10-6 at home.
- Real Salt Lake now posts a 7-1-5 record at home in 2014. RSL claims an 83-17-28 mark in its last 128 home games dating back to the beginning of 2008, the first full season under GM Garth Lagerwey.
- Despite their World Cup departure, Rimando and Beckerman rank first and second, respectively, amongst active MLS players in all-time regular season minutes played (Rimando: 32,733; Beckerman: 28,176), games played (NR: 362; KB: 343) and games started (NR: 362; KB: 314).
REAL SALT LAKE 2–1 SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC
SATURDAY, AUG. 16, 2014
RIO TINTO STADIUM
Goals by Period 1 2 F
Real Salt Lake 0 2 2
Seattle Sounders FC 0 1 1
RSL – Joao Plata (Luke Mulholland) – 11’
RSL - Luke Mulholland (Luis Gil, Joao Plata) – 57’
SEA – Chad Barrett – 72’
RSL – Olmes Garcia (Yellow; Foul) – 14’
SEA – Zach Scott (Yellow; Foul) – 15’
SEA – DeAndre Yedlin (Yellow; Dissent) – 60’
Real Salt Lake (4-1-2-1-2): Nick Rimando;, Tony Beltran, Chris Schuler, Nat Borchers, Chris Wingert (Carlos Salcedo, 89’); Kyle Beckerman (C), Luke Mulholland, Ned Grabavoy, Luis Gil; Olmes Garcia (Robbie Findley, 60’), Joao Plata (Cole Grossman, 80’)
Substitutes not used: Jeff Attinella; Abdoulie Mansally; Sebastian Velasquez, Devon Sandoval, Robbie Sandoval
Seattle Sounders FC (4-4-2): Stefan Frei; DeAndre Yedlin, Zach Scott, Leo Gonzalez (Aaron Kovar, 88’), Chad Marshall; Brad Evans (Andy Rose, 45’), Osvaldo Alonso, Gonzalo Pineda, Lama Neagle (Chad Barrett, 62’); Clint Dempsey, Kenny Cooper
Substitutes not used: Marcus Hahnemann; Jalil Anibaba, Micahel Azira, Djimi Traore
Referee: Silviu Petrescu
Assistant Referees: Jeff Hosking, Mike Kampmeinert
4th Official: David Gantar
Weather: Clear and 86 degrees