SANDY, Utah (Sunday, September 29, 2019) – Real Salt Lake (15-13-5, 50 points) punched its ticket to the 2019 Audi MLS Cup Playoffs with a 2-1 victory over the Houston Dynamo in front of 18,117 fans on Sunday at Rio Tinto Stadium.
FW Corey Baird recorded the fastest goal in the history of Rio Tinto Stadium, while FW Jefferson Savarino’s late game-winner clinched the club its 10th MLS Cup Playoff appearance in the last 12 seasons. In his final regular season game at Rio Tinto Stadium, GK Nick Rimando made three saves to help secure the victory, giving him 103 career wins at the RioT.
RSL got off to a dream start as Baird found the back of the net just 34 seconds into the match with a quick break after beating a defender for the ball. While Houston mounted pressure and found an equalizer in the 23rd minute, a review of the play found a Dynamo player offside and the goal was disallowed. The Dynamo would go on to tie it up in the 32nd minute as Tomas Martinez cleaned up a deflection by Rimando to go into the break even with a goal apiece.
RSL came out of the break in the same fashion as it started, putting pressure around the Houston goal, though it wasn’t able to notch another quick goal before the match slowed to a battle of possession between the two sides. Late in the second half, RSL found its game-winning goal as FW Sebastian Saucedo linked with Savarino in the 75th minute to send the ball into the far netting and secure the 2-1 win.
UP NEXT: Real Salt Lake goes on the road to play its final game of the 2019 regular season as it faces Vancouver Whitecaps FC on MLS Decision Day. The contest is scheduled for October 6, with kickoff from BC Place is set for 2:00 p.m. MT.
GOAL SCORING RUNDOWN
RSL: Corey Baird , 1st minute: Baird beat out a Houston defender to set up a quick breakaway. With time and space ahead of him, Baird made his run to the top of the box where he cooly converted his fifth goal of the season with the fastest goal in Rio Tinto Stadium history.
HOU: Tomas Martinez , 32nd minute: Houston found the equalizer after Alberth Elis took a shot from close distance that GK Nick Rimando deflected back out to the side. While MF Kyle Beckerman moved to get a fast clearance, Martinez picked up the ball first to get around Beckerman and Rimando with a close range shot.
RSL: Jefferson Savarino (Sebastian Saucedo) , 75th minute: Saucedo took a run down the left side of the pitch, where he linked with Savarino within the 18-yard line. Savarino took his time to send a low chance into the far corner for the RSL lead and his eighth goal of the season.
- DF Tony Beltran (knee) and MF Nick Besler (broken right foot) were out of action due to injury.
- Since returning from the Gold Cup break on June 22, RSL has the best defense in MLS. In those 18 matches, RSL is 9-5-4 with eight shutouts and a league-best 0.78 goals against average.
- Corey Baird scored the fastest goal in stadium history, finding the back of the net at the 34 second mark. Baird’s goal also marked the fourth fastest MLS goal in 2019.
- At halftime, RSL honored club legend Tony Beltran who on September 15 announced that after the 2019 season he would retire from professional soccer. Beltran featured in 245 career matches for the club since being drafted 3rd overall by RSL in the 2008 MLS SuperDraft.
- The match marked the final regular season home match for GK Nick Rimando who announced prior to the 2019 season that his 20th in Major League Soccer would be his last. He made three saves in the victory.
- RSL finishes the 2019 regular season with a 12-4-1 (37 points) home record, improving to 110-28-47 (377 points) at home since 2009.
Match: Real Salt Lake vs Houston Dynamo
Date: September 29, 2019
Venue: Rio Tinto Stadium; Sandy, Utah
Weather: Overcast and 48 degrees
Scoring Summary 1 2 F
Real Salt Lake 1 1 2
Houston Dynamo 1 0 1
RSL: Corey Baird, 1’
HOU: Tomas Martinez, 32’
RSL: Jefferson Savarino (Sebastian Saucedo), 75’
Real Salt Lake (4-2-3-1): Nick Rimando; Aaron Herrera, Marcelo Silva, Nedum Onuoha, Donny Toia; Kyle Beckerman, Everton Luiz; Corey Baird, Albert Rusnak, Jefferson Savarino; Damir Kreilach (Sebastian Saucedo 67’)
Subs not used: Kelyn Rowe, Joao Plata, Brooks Lennon, Justen Glad, Sam Johnson, Andrew Putna
Houston Dynamo (4-2-3-1):Tyler Deric; Adam Lundkvist, Alijas Struna, Alejandro Fuenmayor, DaMarcus Beasley; Tomas Martinez (Memo Rodriguez 77’), Darwin Ceren, Boniek Garcia, Tommy McNamara (Niko Hansen 87’); Alberth Elis, Mauro Manotas (Christian Ramirez 62’)
Subs not used: Kevin Garcia, Marlon Hairston, Michael Nelson, Jose Bizama
Stats Summary: RSL/HOU
Shots: 8 / 10
Shots on Goal: 4 / 3
Saves: 3 / 2
Corner Kicks: 2 / 5
Fouls: 15 / 11
Offside: 0 / 3
RSL – Jefferson Savarino (Caution) 29’
HOU – Tommy McNamara (Caution) 87’
Referee: Alex Chilowicz
Assistant Referees: Brian Dunn, Chris Wattam
4th Official: Pierre-Luc Lauziere
VAR: Jose Carlos Rivero