SANDY, Utah (Wednesday, July 4, 2018) – Real Salt Lake (8-8-2, 26 points) outlasted Western Conference rival Sporting Kansas City for a 4-2 win on Wednesday night in front of an Independence Day crowd of 19,206 at Rio Tinto Stadium. Four different players scored goals as RSL ran its unbeaten streak to eight straight home matches (7-0-1) to move into fourth in the Western Conference.
FW Jefferson Savarino, FW Corey Baird, FW Sebastian Saucedo and FW Luis Silva all scored goals while Sporting Kansas City saw two players ejected in the final 10 minutes of the match.
In a first half that saw Kansas City control the match through much of the first 30 minutes, the visitors struck first only to have RSL capture the lead before halftime, outshooting SKC 8-4 over the first 45 minutes. Daniel Salloi scored the first goal in the 20th minute, putting away a cross by Seth Sinovic for his sixth goal of the season. But RSL climbed back quickly when Savarino equalized in the 29th minute. After a scramble in the box, the ball fell to Savarino at the edge of the 18-yard box. He collected and fired into the net for his third goal of the season to make it 1-1. Then in the 37th minute Baird put RSL in front when a loose ball was poked into his path up the left side. He dribbled into the box and beat Tim Melia inside the far post for his fifth goal of the season and a 2-1 lead. Saucedo made it 3-1 with his second goal of the year just before halftime, taking a pass from MF Damir Kreilach and curling a shot inside the far post to give RSL momentum going into the break.
RSL remained on the front foot in the second half and held a 10-4 shots advantage the rest of the way, but Kansas City pulled a goal back in the 64th minute. Johnny Russell made a run up the right side of the box and got to the endline before crossing to Ike Opara for a first-touch goal to make it 3-2. Salt Lake had several breakaway opportunities and MF Albert Rusnák had a penalty saved by Melia in the 80th minute. Finally in stoppage time, Silva converted a penalty to extend the lead to 4-2 as RSL took three points from the Western Conference leaders.
UP NEXT: RSL remains at home on Saturday to face the new Western Conference leaders in FC Dallas, who overtook Sporting Kansas City in the standings with a 3-2 win over Atlanta United on Wednesday. Kickoff on Saturday is scheduled for 8 p.m. MT (KMYU, KSLTV app, KSL.com, ESPN700).
GOAL SCORING RUNDOWN:
SKC: Daniel Salloi (Seth Sinovic, Roger Espinoza), 20th minute – Roger Espinoza played a long switching ball from right-to-left to Seth Sinovic, who carried it toward the endline before sending a low cross to Daniel Salloi. He hit a first time ball into the net for his sixth goal of the season.
RSL: Jefferson Savarino, 29th minute – After a scramble in the box, Jefferson Savarino collected the ball at the edge of the 18 and fired a shot past Tim Melia for his third goal of the season to even the match at 1-1.
RSL: Corey Baird, 37th minute – RSL took a throw on the left side and Kansas City poked the ball free, but it fell right into the path of Corey Baird. He carried into the box before putting a right-footed shot inside the far post for his fifth goal of the season and a 2-1 lead.
RSL: Sebastian Saucedo (Damir Kreilach), 46th minute+ - In transition, Damir Kreilach played the ball into space wide for Sebastian Saucedo. He dribbled to the edge of the area before curling a shot inside the far post for his second goal of the season to extend the lead to 3-1.
SKC: Ike Opara (Johnny Russell, Roger Espinoza), 64th minute – On a ball from Roger Espinoza, Johnny Russell took it to the endline before crossing to Ike Opara crashing the far post for a one-touch goal to make it 3-2.
RSL: Luis Silva (PK), 100th minute+ - Luis Silva got out on the run before being dragged down just inside the box for a penalty. He then rocketed his PK past Melia for his fourth goal of the season for the final 4-2 tally.
KEY SAVES AND DEFENSIVE STOPS:
SKC: Tim Melia, 28th minute – Sunny played the ball in behind the Kansas City defense for the on-rushing Damir Kreilach. Tim Melia came off his line and denied Kreilach’s shot right off his boot.
SKC: Tim Melia 80th minute – After Corey Baird was brought down in the box for a penalty, Albert Rusnák attempted a Panenka, lofting the ball down the middle, but Tim Melia stood his ground and made the save.
- RSL’s three first-half goals were the first time Salt Lake scored three before halftime since taking a 4-1 lead into the break on September 19, 2014 in a 5-1 win over the Colorado Rapids.
- Salt Lake is now unbeaten in the last seven matches played on July 4, going 3-0-4. RSL is now 3-1-6 all time on Independence Day.
Match: Real Salt Lake vs. Sporting Kansas City
Date: July 4, 2018
Venue: Rio Tinto Stadium, Sandy, Utah
Weather: Sunny and 88
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
Real Salt Lake 3 1 4
Sporting Kansas City 1 1 2
SKC: Daniel Salloi (Seth Sinovic, Roger Espinoza) 20’
RSL: Jefferson Savarino 29’
RSL: Corey Baird 37’
RSL: Sebastian Saucedo (Damir Kreilach) 46+’
SKC: Ike Opara (Johnny Russell, Roger Espinoza) 64’
RSL: Luis Silva (PK) 100+’
Real Salt Lake (4-2-3-1): Nick Rimando; Brooks Lennon, Marcelo Silva, Justen Glad, Danilo Acosta; Sunny (Nick Besler 87'), Damir Kreilach; Jefferson Savarino, Albert Rusnák, Sebastian Saucedo (Luis Silva 73’); Corey Baird (Kyle Beckerman 81’).
Subs not used: Andrew Putna, Aaron Herrera, Pablo Ruiz, Joao Plata.
Sporting Kansas City (4-2-3-1): Tim Melia; Graham Zusi, Emiliano Amor, Ike Opara, Seth Sinovic (Gerso Fernandes 86’); Ilie Sanchez, Roger Espinoza; Yohan Croizet, Wan Kuzain (Johnny Russell 46’), Daniel Salloi; Khiry Shelton (Diego Rubio 84’).
Subs not used: Adrian Zendejas, Graham Smith, Jaylin Lindsey, Kharlton Belmar
Stats Summary: RSL / SKC
Shots: 18 / 8
Shots on Goal: 7 / 3
Saves: 1 / 3
Corner Kicks: 3 / 5
Fouls: 16 / 17
Offside: 2 / 2
SKC: Daniel Salloi (Caution) 43’
RSL: Sebastian Saucedo (Caution) 44’
SKC: Emiliano Amor (Caution) 59’
SKC: Roger Espinoza (Caution) 60’
SKC: Ike Opara (Caution) 66’
RSL: Damir Kreilach (Caution) 77’
SKC: Daniel Salloi (Ejection) 90’
SKC: Gerso Fernandes (Caution) 93+’
SKC: Roger Espinoza (2nd Caution, Ejection) 94+’
SKC: Ilie Sanchez (Caution) 99+’
Referee: Sorin Stoica
Assistant Referees: Jose Da Silva, Peter Balciunas
4th Official: Alejandro Mariscal
Video Assistant Referee: Marcos de Oliveira