HONOLULU, Hawaii (Friday, February 8, 2019) – Real Salt Lake played its first official preseason match of 2019 on Friday, topping Iwaki FC from Japan 2-1 in the first game of the Pacific Rim Cup on Friday at Aloha Stadium.
FW Sebastian Saucedo scored a first-half goal and MF Nick Besler added a late winner to send RSL to the tournament championship match on Sunday.
RSL played much of the first 20 minutes in its own half, but sprung into the attack in the 24th minute when FW Joao Plata found Saucedo in behind the Iwaki defense. He cut past a defender, then eluded the goalkeeper before putting it into the open net for the 1-0 lead. That score held until halftime as RSL held off Iwaki FC to keep the Japanese side off the board.
In the second half, Real Salt Lake changed out most of the lineup after 60 minutes and Iwaki leveled the match in the 74th minute when Masahide Hiraoka put one past GK Andrew Putna, who made several spectacular saves throughout the night, to make it 1-1. Finally, in the 87th minute, RSL swung a free kick into the box from the left side and Besler pounced on the loose ball in the box to put it away for the game-winner.
Real Salt Lake will face V-Varen Nagasaki in the final match of the Pacific Rim Cup on Sunday at 8:15 p.m. MT (5:15 p.m. HT) at Aloha Stadium.
GOAL SCORING RUNDOWN:
RSL: Sebastian Saucedo (Joao Plata, Tate Schmitt) 24th minute – RSL opened scoring when they played a ball from the back to the feet of Tate Schmitt. He laid it off for Joao Plata, who played a ball behind the defense for Sebastian Saucedo. He collected the pass and cut back past a defender, then eluded the goalkeeper before putting it into the open net for the 1-0 lead.
IFC: Masahide Hiraoka 74th minute – On a misplayed ball in the back, Iwaki got into the box and it found the feet of Masahide Hiraoka and he evened the score at 1-1.
RSL: Nick Besler – 87th minute – Justin Portillo played a free kick from the left side and Kalen Ryden put it back in front of the box. Maikel Chang put a shot on frame and the rebound spilled to Nick Besler, leaving him to put it back into the open net for the 2-1 lead.
Match: Real Salt Lake vs. Iwaki FC
Date: February 8, 2019
Venue: Aloha Stadium; Honolulu, Hawaii
Weather: Partly Cloudy and 78
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
Real Salt Lake 1 1 2
Iwaki FC 0 1 1
RSL: Sebastian Saucedo (Joao Plata, Tate Schmitt) 24’
IFC: Masahide Hiraoka 74’
RSL: Nick Besler 87’
Real Salt Lake (4-2-3-1): Andrew Putna; Tony Beltran (Adam Henley 61’), Marcelo Silva (Kalen Ryden 61’), Justen Glad (Erik Holt 75’), Donny Toia (Andrew Brody 61’); Everton Luiz (Justin Portillo 61’), Pablo Ruiz (Nick Besler 75’); Sebastian Saucedo (Maikel Chang 61’), Damir Kreilach (Luis Arriaga 61’), Joao Plata (Julian Vazquez 61’); Tate Schmitt (Kyle Coffee 57’).
RSL: Pablo Ruiz (Caution) 56’
Referee: Jair Marrufo
Assistant Referees: Corey Rockwell, Frank Anderson
4th Official: Nima Saghafi