SANDY, Utah (Friday, July 24, 2015) – Real Salt Lake and Sporting Kansas City have fast become fierce rivals in Major League Soccer. Friday night’s nationally televised match at Rio Tinto Stadium was evidence of that as 20,809 in attendance saw RSL fight to a 2-1 win to go unbeaten at 2-0-1 this season against SKC.
MF Javier Morales scored his fifth goal of the season and FW Joao Plata added his second on the game-winner, marking the second straight match the duo scored. GK Jeff Attinella earned his second straight league win with five saves as RSL improved to 7-7-8 (29 points) on the season and 2-1-1 in league play in the month of July.
Real Salt Lake had the first two shots of the match, but in the fifth minute, Attinella was called on to make his first save of the night off a close-range shot that the RSL keeper deflected away for a corner kick. On the ensuing corner kick, Roger Espinoza got his head to the ball whipped in from the left side by Marcel de Jong, but Attinella stabbed it out of the air for the save.
RSL took control of the match from that point forward and in the 34th minute it resulted in a 1-0 lead when Morales scored his fifth goal of the season.
After a ball played forward by MF Luis Gil, Plata and FW Sebastian Jaime pinged the ball to Morales with headers, then Morales took over from there. He slalomed around two defenders, then ripped a right-footed shot past Tim Melia to crack the game open.
RSL nearly added to the lead in the 43rd minute when DF Abdoulie Mansally worked up the left side and cut a ball to the far post for Plata. He bounced his shot over the head of Melia, but it hit off the crossbar and was cleared.
By halftime, RSL held 57% of the match possession and outshot SKC 9-5 to hold the 1-0 lead.
However, Kansas City was able to equalize early in the second half through a goal from one of two halftime substitutes for Sporting Head Coach Peter Vermes.
In the 50th minute, Benny Feilhaber got a bit of space and curled a shot past Attinella for his seventh goal of the season, leveling the match at 1-1.
RSL had an opportunity to reclaim the lead in the 60th minute when FW Devon Sandoval got out on the break
On the other end of the field, Kansas City had an opportunity of its own when Krisztian Nemeth got out on the break and played it back to Jacob Peterson for a close-range shot, but Attinella came off his line to deflect it high for the save.
That paid off for Salt Lake in the 71st minute when FW Olmes Garcia got in behind the defense and was taken down in the box by Melia and referee Allen Chapman signaled a penalty.
Plata converted the PK, firing his shot past Melia into the low left corner for his second goal in as many matches to give RSL the 2-1 lead in the 73rd minute.
Attinella stonewalled Peterson again in the 76th minute. Kansas City pressed up the left side and crossed to Peterson crashing down the right side for a shot that nearly crept inside the near post, but Attinella was there for the diving save to preserve the 2-1 advantage.
Both teams had opportunities in the matches final minutes, but RSL held on for its second consecutive win and third across all competitions.
Real Salt Lake will take to the road for its last match against an Eastern Conference opponent of the 2015 regular season when it faces D.C. United on August 1 at RFK Stadium.
Real Salt Lake Match Notes – RSLvSKC
- RSL captain Kyle Beckerman started on Wednesday for the U.S. National Team in a 2-1 loss to Jamaica in the semifinals of the CONCACAF Gold Cup. GK Nick Rimando was on the bench for the U.S., as was Sporting Kansas City MF Graham Zusi. All three remain with the U.S. through the third place match in the tournament on Saturday in Philadelphia.
- Real Salt Lake is 8-1-6 across all competitions at Rio Tinto Stadium this season. In the last 35 home matches, RSL is 21-2-12.
- MF Javier Morales has scored in back-to-back games for the fifth time in his MLS career.
REAL SALT LAKE 2-1 SPORTING KANSAS CITY
FRIDAY, JULY 24, 2015
RIO TINTO STADIUM
Goals by Period 1 2 F
Real Salt Lake 1 1 2
Sporting Kansas City 0 1 1
RSL: Javier Morales (Sebastian Jaime) 34’
SKC: Benny Feilhaber (Roger Espinoza) 50’
RSL: Joao Plata (PK) 73’
SKC: Tim Melia (Yellow; Foul) 72’
SKC: Erik Palmer-Brown (Yellow; Foul) 77’
RSL: Joao Plata (Yellow; Foul) 91+’
SKC: Benny Feilhaber (Yellow; Foul) 91+’
RSL: Elias Vasquez (Yellow; Persistent Infringement) 93+’
Real Salt Lake (4-3-3): Jeff Attinella; Tony Beltran, Aaron Maund, Elias Vasquez, Abdoulie Mansally; Luke Mulholland, Luis Gil (John Stertzer 87’), Javier Morales (C); Sebastian Jaime, Devon Sandoval (Olmes Garcia 61’), Joao Plata (Sebastian Saucedo 93+’).
Substitutes not used: Lalo Fernandez, Justen Glad, Boyd Okwuonu, Pecka.
Sporting Kansas City (4-3-3): Tim Melia; Saad Abdul-Salaam, Erik Palmer-Brown, Matt Besler (C), Marcel de Jong (Amadou Dia 46’); Soni Mustivar (Benny Feilhaber 46’), Roger Espinoza, Paolo Nagamura; Jacob Peterson (Connor Hallisey 79’), Dom Dwyer, Krisztian Nemeth.
Substitutes not used: Jon Kempin, Jimmy Medranda, Chance Myers, Amobi Okugo.
Referee: Allen Chapman
Assistant Referees: Paul Scott, Chris Strickland
4th Official: Kevin Stott
Weather: Clear and 81