Tucson, Ariz. – Real Salt Lake won its second consecutive match in the 2015 Desert Diamond Cup to take a lead in the tournament standings, landing a 3-1 victory over FC Tucson through two goals from FW Alvaro Saborio and a third from FW Devon Sandoval. Head Coach Jeff Cassar used a total of 23 players in the second of four matches in the tournament.
Visit RealSaltLake.com for a video archive of the match, as well as post-game sound from MF Kyle Beckerman and Cassar.
After a fluid performance against the New England Revolution in the first match of the Desert Diamond Cup, things were less smooth in the second match against FC Tucson. The host club got an early opportunity, but GK Nick Rimando was up to the task on a second-minute shot that was scuffed from 15 yards out.
In a six-minute stretch just before the half-hour mark, RSL harvested three key chances but shots from FW Sebastian Jaime, MF Luis Gil and MF Javier Morales all missed the mark. Finally, in the 41st minute, Saborio broke through for the 1-0 lead.
RSL continued its pressure in the attacking third and after the FC Tucson goalkeeper made an initial stop on a shot from the left side, Saborio was there to pounce on the rebound and put it away for a 1-0 lead.
Like they did to start the first half, FC Tucson got an early scoring chance in the second half, this time scoring the equalizer on the counter attack. Morales flicked a ball into the box, but the goalkeeper sprung to make the grab and distributed quickly up the field, leaving Rimando 1v1 with the Tucson forward. He punched it inside the left post for the goal, making it 1-1 in the 48th minute.
In the 58th minute, RSL reclaimed the lead, again through Saborio. On a ball in from the right side, the Costa Rican forward controlled it with his body, then turned a side-winding shot coolly past the keeper for a 2-1 lead.
Sandoval later added a penalty in the 68th minute after DF Jordan Allen was brought down in the box for the spot kick.
Salt Lake had one injury in the match, as DF Demar Phillips was subbed out for precautionary reasons in the 40th minute with a right hamstring strain. He is day-to-day as RSL continues to train in Arizona.
The win gives RSL six points in the Desert Diamond Cup standings with one match to play before the final round on Feb. 28, facing Sporting Kansas City in a rematch of MLS Cup 2013 Wednesday at 8p MT, in what will be RSL’s first match on the Kino Stadium field. Kick times for the fourth and final DDC match for RSL will be determined by order of finish.
Feb. 18 – Real Salt Lake 1 vs. New England Revolution 0 (Sandoval, 7’)
Feb. 21 – Real Salt Lake 3 vs. FC Tucson 1 (Saborio, 41’, 58’; Sandoval, 68’)
Feb. 25 – Real Salt Lake vs. Sporting Kansas City – North Stadium at Kino Sports Complex – 8:00 p.m.
Feb. 28 – Real Salt Lake vs. TBD
Real Salt Lake vs. FC Tucson
February 21, 2015 – North Grandstand at Kino Sports Complex (Tucson, Arizona)
Real Salt Lake 3, FC Tucson 1
Real Salt Lake: Nick Rimando, Tony Beltran (Jordan Allen 62), Jamison Olave (Phanuel Kavita 62), Chris Schuler (Elias Vasquez 62), Demar Phillips (Abdoulie Mansally 40, Boyd Okwuonu 77), Kyle Beckerman (Lucas Baldin 62), Luis Gil (Luke Mulholland 62), Javier Morales (Fito Ovalle 62), Sebastian Jaime (Emery Welshman 62), Alvaro Saborio (Devon Sandoval 62), Olmes Garcia (Sebastian Saucedo 62, Ricardo Velasco 82).
RSL: 41’ – Alvaro Saborio
RSL: 58’ – Alvaro Saborio
RSL: 68’ – Devon Sandoval (PK)