KANSAS CITY, Kan. (Sunday, November 11, 2018) – Real Salt Lake fell to Sporting Kansas City 4-2 (5-3 on aggregate) in the Western Conference Semifinal on Sunday evening, bowing out of the 2018 Audi MLS Cup Playoffs. The match sees RSL’s ninth playoff appearance in 14 years come to an end after the club finished the regular season 6th in the Western Conference.
Nervous early minutes of the match gave way to an opening strike from Diego Rubio in the 14th minute when he notched his second strike of the series to give Sporting the early lead in the 14th minute. SKC doubled its advantage in the 19th minute when Daniel Sallói’s deflected breakaway effort beat GK Nick Rimando, giving RSL work to do.
Through the remainder of the first half, RSL carried sustained possession as it looked to get back into the game, but it couldn’t break down the stubborn defense of SKC as the score remained 2-0 at the break.
Going to his bench at halftime, Head Coach Mike Petke brought on MF Sebastian Saucedo who in the 60th minute, cut Sporting’s advantage in half with a low shot that found the bottom corner of the SKC net. In the 65th minute however, Sporting earned a penalty kick when Rubio went down right on the penalty spot. Ilie Sanchez stepped up to deliver the spot kick, calmly chipping the ball past Rimando for SKC’s third goal. In the 72nd minute RSL’s regular season Golden Boot winner FW Damir Kreilach headed home a FW Joao Plata corner kick to bring the score to 3-2.
As RSL pressed for the equalizer that would see it through to the Western Conference Final, Sallói found Sporting’s fourth goal with the last kick of the match to seal the series for SKC with a 4-2 scoreline.
UP NEXT: Real Salt Lake’s season ends in the Western Conference Semifinal of the 2018 Audi MLS Cup Playoffs after falling to Sporting Kansas City 5-3 on aggregate.
GOAL SCORING RUNDOWN:
SKC: Diego Rubio (Felipe Gutierrez, Johnny Russell), 14th minute: A clipped ball into the attacking third from Russell found the wide-open run of Gutierrez who closed in on the RSL goal. Gutierrez elected to square the ball to Rubio who easily slammed the ball home from close range for the early lead.
SKC: Dániel Sallói (Felipe Gutierrez), 19th minute: With Gutierrez again playing provider, his through ball found the run of Sallói inside the box who’s first touch set up a shot for himself. His shot took a small deflection before finding the back of the net for the two-goal lead.
RSL: Sebastian Saucedo (Joao Plata), 60th minute: Finding space with the ball out on the wing, Plata dribbled towards the endline before finding Saucedo at the top of the area. Plata played the ball back to Saucedo who ran onto the ball, striking it first-time to find the bottom corner of the far post with his low shot to cut the lead in half.
SKC: Ilie Sanchez (Penalty), 66th minute: After Diego Rubio drew a penalty kick, Sanchez stepped up to the spot, calmly chipping the ball down the middle, sending RSL goalkeeper Nick Rimando to his left for the easy goal.
RSL: Damir Kreilach (Joao Plata), 72nd minute: Kreilach latched onto a driven corner kick from Joao Plata after easily separating himself from his man inside the area before heading home powerfully to get RSL back into the match.
SKC: Dániel Sallói, 90’+7th minute: While RSL pressed for the equalizer and the series-closing goal, Lennon attempted a headed effort back to Rimando but Sallói read it well to cut out the pass. Sallói rounded Rimando to easily tap home into the open net to seal the game for the hosts.
- RSL striker and 2018 MLS Rookie of the Year Corey Baird was absent from the club’s 18-man roster against SKC after being ruled out due to concussion protocol. Additionally, RSL were without Albert Rusnák due to yellow card accumulation. RSL were also without defender Marcelo Silva and due to injury.
- Sebastian Saucedo notched his first postseason goal in just his second postseason appearance for Real Salt Lake.
Match: Real Salt Lake at Sporting Kansas City
Date: November 11, 2018
Venue: Children’s Mercy Park; Kansas City, Kansas
Weather: Partly cloudy and 49 degrees
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
Real Salt Lake 0 2 2
Sporting KC 2 2 4
SKC: Diego Rubio (Felipe Gutierrez, Johnny Russell) 14’
SKC: Daniel Sallói (Felipe Gutierrez) 19’
RSL: Sebastian Saucedo (Joao Plata) 60’
SKC: Ilie Sanchez (Penalty), 66’
RSL: Damir Kreilach (Joao Plata) 72’
SKC: Daniel Sallói 90’+7
Real Salt Lake (4-2-3-1): Nick Rimando; Brooks Lennon, Chinedum Onuoha, Nick Besler, Aaron Herrera; Kyle Beckerman, Luke Mulholland (Pablo Ruiz, 90’), Damir Kreilach; Jefferson Savarino, Luis Silva (Sebastian Saucedo, HT), Joao Plata
Subs not used: Andrew Putna, Tony Beltran, Justen Glad, Danilo Acosta, Sunny,
Sporting KC: (4-3-3): Tim Melia; Graham Zusi, Ike Opara, Matt Besler, Seth Sonovic; Roger Espinoza, Ilie Sánchez, Felipe Gutiérrez; Johnny Russel (Yohan Croizet, 77’), Diego Rubio (Khiry Shelton, 68’), Daniel Sallói
Subs not used: Adrian Zendejas, Andreu Fontas, Krisztian Németh, Gianluca Busio, Gerson Fernandes
Stats Summary: SKC / RSL
Shots: 15 / 20
Shots on Goal: 7 / 7
Saves: 5 / 2
Corner Kicks: 8 / 7
Fouls: 18 / 17
Offside: 0 / 1
RSL – Aaron Herrera (caution) 49’
SKC – Diego Rubio (caution) 63’
RSL – Kyle Beckerman (caution) 64’
SKC – Roger Espinoza (caution) 82’
Referee: Juan Carlos Rivero
Assistant Referees: Adam Wienckowski, Andrew Bigelow
4th Official: Chris Penso
VAR: Kevin Stott