SANDY, Utah – Real Salt Lake was able to produce a strong second half performance out of a makeshift lineup to beat USL PRO side Sacramento Republic FC 2-0 in a friendly at Rio Tinto Stadium on Tuesday night.
RSL FW Robbie Findley and MF Sebastian Velasquez scored for the Claret-and-Cobalt, which made nine changes to the starting lineup that fell 2-1 at Vancouver Whitecaps FC last Saturday. RSL also played in an uncharacteristic 4-2-3-1 formation instead of its usual diamond midfield.
The match got off to a slow start but RSL created the first chance of the night in the 15th minute. Velasquez started the action, playing RSL FW Sebastian Jaime into the area with a lovely through ball. The Argentine striker opted not to shoot but cut back a flawless pass across the face of goal for onrushing FW Devon Sandoval. The New Mexico native was unable to get a full foot to the ball however, as it rolled wide of the net and out of play.
Real Salt Lake had a golden opportunity to take the lead two minutes later with Velasquez and Jaime at the center of the action again. Velasquez worked his way into the area on the left side and sent a floating ball to the opposite end for Jaime, whose header sailed over the crossbar.
Sacramento started to edge its way into the game by earning a string of corners with its best chance to score occurring in the 35th minute. The play started with a Sacramento corner kick that drifted to the far end of the area that FW Justin Braun then nodded down into the center of the box. Sacramento DF Mickey Daly was there at the top of the six with an open look at goal, but his half-volley attempt went just high over the crossbar.
Real Salt Lake went on to take the lead 12 minutes into the start of the second half when Sacramento’s Daly was called for a foul after taking down Findley in the box. Findley stepped up to take the spot kick, smashing it down the middle to take a 1-0 lead in the 57th minute.
Findley almost made it two on the night with an open look in the 63rd minute. Jaime started the play outside the area, slipping Findley alone into the box. The speedy forward took a touch and sent a bending right-footed shot towards goal that went wide of the far post.
Real Salt Lake saw another fantastic opportunity slip by in the 80th minute. RSL DF Rich Balchan did well to work his way down the right flank and cut a ball back into the box that a Sacramento defender was able to sweep out from under the feet of Velasquez. The clearance rolled into the open path of RSL MF Cole Grossman at the top of the area, who sent his right-footed shot from 15 yards out high and wide of the goal.
The Claret-and-Cobalt put the game away with a goal from Velasquez in the 90th minute. Sandoval jump-stared the play, winning a turnover in the middle of the field and laying off the ball to Balchan on the right side. Balchan then picked out Velasquez outside the area who worked his way into the box and blasted a left-footed shot into the far upper corner to give RSL the 2-0 victory.
Real Salt Lake returns to MLS action on Sunday, when it heads to California to take on Chivas USA at 5:00 p.m. MT. Sunday’s match will be broadcast locally on CW30, ESPN 700 AM and 102.3 La Gran D FM.
Real Salt Lake Match Notes – RSL 2-0 SAC
- Tonight’s exhibition match marked the first win out of a total of four matches against lower division clubs in 2014, for a 1-2-1 record this year. The Claret-and-Cobalt was knocked out of the 2014 U.S. Open Cup in its opening match after falling 2-1 at NASL’s Atlanta Silverbacks on June 14. The RSL Reserves then played USL PRO Richmond Kickers to a scoreless draw in Richmond on July 6 and fell 5-2 to fellow USL side Pittsburgh Riverhounds at Rio Tinto Stadium on July 25.
- Tuesday’s friendly marked RSL’s 15th sell-out based on tickets distributed (20,555), of the 2014 season across all competitions. The sell-out was RSL’s 13th-straight this year and 44th across all competitions since Rio Tinto Stadium’s 2008 opening.
- Real Salt Lake FW Robbie Findley scored the opening goal of the match, converting a PK in the 57th minute. The goal marked the fleet-footed forward’s 45th goal for RSL across all competitions.
- Real Salt Lake MF Sebastian Velasquez netted the Claret-and-Cobalt’s second goal in the 90th minute. The tally marked the Colombian’s first goal scored for RSL in 2014.
- Tonight’s match marked DF Rich Balchan’s first appearance for the Claret-and-Cobalt since RSL’s 1-1 draw at Columbus Crew on June 4. Balchan provided the assist on Velasquez’s goal in the 90th minute.
- RSL Homegrown Player Justen Glad received the start tonight, his first appearance in an RSL competition outside of MLS Reserve League matches. The RSL youngster has yet to crack the starting XI for the Claret-and-Cobalt in his first year with the club.
- RSL FW Devon Sandoval made his first appearance for the Claret-and-Cobalt since returning from his two-game loan with NASL’s North Carolina Railhawks.
- Real Salt Lake third-string GK Lalo Fernandez earned the start and shutout tonight against Sacramento, his first appearance in an RSL competition outside of MLS Reserve League matches.
REAL SALT LAKE 2–0 SACRAMENTO REPUBLIC FC
TUESDAY, SEPT. 30, 2014
RIO TINTO STADIUM
Goals by Period 1 2 F
Real Salt Lake 0 2 2
Sacramento Republic FC 0 0 0
RSL – Robbie Findley (PK) – 57’
RSL – Sebastian Velasquez (Rich Balchan) – 90’
SAC – Rodrigo Lopez (Yellow; Foul) – 27’
SAC – Max Alvarez (Yellow; Foul) – 45’
SAC – Ivan Mirkovic (Yellow; Foul) – 54’
Shots: RSL 12-6 SAC
Shots on Goal: RSL 3-1 SAC
Saves: RSL 1-3 SAC
Fouls: RSL 13-11 SAC
Corner Kicks: RSL 4-5 SAC
Offside: RSL 3-5 SAC
Real Salt Lake (4-3-3): Lalo Fernandez; Abdoulie Mansally, Aaron Maund, Carlos Salcedo, Rich Balchan; Cole Grossman, Sebastian Velasquez, Justen Glad (Luis Gil, 89’); Robbie Findley (C) (Benji Lopez, 80’), Devon Sandoval, Sebastian Jaime (Olmes Garcia, 67’)
Substitutes not used: Jeff Attinella; Chris Schuler, Chris Wingert; Ned Grabavoy
Sacramento Republic FC (4-4-2): Dominik Jakubek; Nemanja Vukovic, Emrah Klimenta, Mickey Daly (Harrison Delbridge, 68’), James Kiffe (Chad Bartlome, 45’), Rodrigo Lopez, Ivan Mirkovic, Gilberto Souza (Octavio Guzman, 60’), Max Alvarez (Mawolo Gissie, 45’); Adam Jahn (Dakota Collins, 60’), Justin Braun (Thomas Stewart, 44’)
Substitutes not used: Agustin Cazarez, Carlos Martinez
Weather: Rain and 55 degrees