SANDY, Utah (Saturday, May 23, 2015) – Real Salt Lake welcomed MF Javier Morales and FW Joao Plata back to the field, then celebrated a 2-0 victory over New York City FC in the club’s second win in the last three matches.
RSL went ahead early on MF John Stertzer’s first career MLS goal, then added another in the second half from the club’s all-time leading scorer FW Alvaro Saborio. GK Nick Rimando made two saves to earn his 120th career MLS shutout and fifth in 10 matches this season.
With the victory, RSL improved to 4-3-5 (17 points) on the season and into a three-way tie for fifth in the Western Conference.
Stertzer got RSL on the board in the 25th minute with his first career MLS goal, bringing the Rio Tinto Stadium-record crowd of 20,801 to its feet.
After New York City FC had controlled most of the possession over the first 20 minutes, RSL pounced with its third shot on goal in the 25th minute. MF Kyle Beckerman played the ball forward to FW Devon Sandoval, who played Stertzer in behind the defense with a header. Challenging Josh Saunders, Stertzer punched a left-footed shot past the on-rushing goalkeeper and inside the far post for a 1-0 lead.
RSL nearly added to that lead in the 39th minute after Sandoval was brought down just outside the box for a dangerous free kick. Saborio charged on the shot and forced Saunders into a save and Sandoval followed it up with a putback attempt, but it spilled into Saunders for the stop.
By the end of the half, RSL had four shots on goal and had threatened NYCFC’s net on several other occasions.
That momentum carried into the second half and Saborio made it 2-0 with his third goal of the season in the 49th minute.
MF Luke Mulholland sent a long cross into the box from the right sideline, finding Saborio for a snap down header as the RSL forward got separation from his defender at the edge of the six-yard box, putting it past Saunders for a 2-0 lead.
In the match, both teams finished with 12 shots, but RSL put six on goal to just one for New York.
Real continued to press for more in the attacking third, particularly after Morales subbed on in the 62nd minute and then Plata made his season debut in the 90th minute. Even in his limited time, Plata registered a shot in stoppage time, though his effort was blocked off his foot.
It was the first of three matches in eight days for Real Salt Lake. The Claret-and-Cobalt will meet the LA Galaxy for the second time this season on Wednesday at the StubHub Center in Carson, Calif., then fly up the coast to Vancouver to face the Whitecaps on Saturday. Both matches will be televised on KMYU.
Real Salt Lake Match Notes – RSLvNYC
- The 20,801 attendance figure overtook this season’s match against Toronto FC on March 29, which had 20,794 at Rio Tinto Stadium.
- MF Javier Morales and FW Joao Plata both made their returns to the field for RSL after extended absences. Morales played in just one of the last six matches due to injury while Plata had missed the first 11 matches with a fractured foot suffered in the first day of training camp.
- FW Devon Sandoval’s assist on MF John Stertzer’s 25th minute goal gave him a goal or assist in each of the last three matches.
- Former RSL MF Ned Grabavoy traveled to Salt Lake for the match, but did not suit up.
- Four former RSL players did make appearances for NYCFC – GK Josh Saunders, DF Chris Wingert, MF Mehdi Ballouchy and MF Sebastian Velasquez.
REAL SALT LAKE 2-0 NEW YORK CITY FC
SATURDAY, MAY 23, 2015
RIO TINTO STADIUM
Goals by Period 1 2 F
Real Salt Lake 1 1 2
New York City FC 0 0 0
RSL – John Stertzer (Devon Sandoval, Kyle Beckerman) 25’
RSL – Alvaro Saborio (Luke Mulholland, Jamison Olave) 49’
RSL – Demar Phillips (Yellow; Foul) 40’
Real Salt Lake (4-1-3-2): Nick Rimando; Tony Beltran, Elias Vasquez, Jamison Olave, Demar Phillips (Abdoulie Mansally, 78’); Kyle Beckerman (C); Luke Mulholland, Luis Gil, John Stertzer (Javier Morales, 62’); Alvaro Saborio (Joao Plata, 90’), Devon Sandoval.
Substitutes not used: Jeff Attinella, Aaron Maund, Pecka, Olmes Garcia.
New York City FC (4-4-2): Josh Saunders; Shay Facey, Jason Hernandez, Chris Wingert (Connor Brandt, 81’), Shay Facey; Andrew Jacobson, Mix Diskerud, Mehdi Ballouchy, Khiry Shelton (Thomas McNamara, 66’); Patrick Mullins (Sebastian Velasquez, 66’), David Villa (C).
Substitutes not used: Ryan Meara, Adam Nemec, Kwadwo Poku, Kwame Watson-Siriboe.
Referee: Juan Guzman
Assistant Referees: Eric Borja, Mike Kampmeinert
4th Official: Younes Marrakchi
Weather: Partly cloudy and 55