An undermanned Real Salt Lake defeated the Philadelphia Union 2-1 Saturday.
Salt Lake played with many substitutes stepping in due to injuries, international absences, and the red card suspension of Nat Borchers.
“I’m pleased … Have to walk away happy that the guys fought so hard,” coach Jason Kreis said after the match. “Important that our captain was with us tonight.”
Captain Kyle Beckerman stayed in Salt Lake, missing the US Men’s National Team match with Costa Rica Friday, in order to help his side. He was a big contributor, scoring the first goal and assisting on the second.
“It worked out well,” Beckerman said. “This was a huge game for us, because this was one of the games that we had in hand.”
The win marks Salt Lake’s second consecutive victory, but it was close.
Philadelphia came out content to defend and try for counter-attacks. In contrast, Salt Lake attempted to create chances. The best early one came in the 10th minute when Fabian Espindola earned a corner, and Olave nearly headed the resulting service on frame.
Philadelphia had chances as well. Justin Mapp nearly headed home a flicked throw-in in the 13th minute, but his shot was just off the mark.
Beckerman opened up scoring in the 18th minute, when he received a pass from Paulo Jr, dribbled just past the top of the area, and drilled a stunner past Faryd Mondragon.
Espindola nearly scored in the 25th minute when he flicked Tony Beltran’s service on frame. Mondragon was able to make a diving stop, temporarily preventing a 2-0 deficit. However, on the ensuing corner kick, Chris Schuler headed home Kyle Beckerman’s service and gave Salt Lake the multi-goal lead.
Sebastien Le Toux pulled one back in the 30th minute, when he fired Mapp’s cross off of Rimando. The ball deflected into the net and pulled the match within striking distance.
Espindola nearly scored in the 38th minute, when he intercepted a pass and tried to flick over a sliding Mondragon. Philadelphia’s defenders were able to clear the ball before it got to the line.
At the end of the first half, Robbie Russell’s service into the box was nearly headed home by Paulo Jr. If the Brazilian had a few more inches on him, it would have been a goal. Instead, the ball when out and the half ended 2-1.
Andy Williams nearly scored from distance, when his 59th minute shot missed the top corner of the net by less than a foot.
Seconds later, Tony Beltran fell down and gave Mapp an open shot at Rimando. Salt Lake’s keeper was able to make a diving save and preserve the lead.
Fabian Espindola was denied twice on a breakaway in the 69th minute when his first shot was saved Zac MacMath and the rebound was blocked off the line by Danny Califf.
Robbie Russell had a good chance in the 80th minute when he received a pass on a run in the box. His sliding shot flew over the net and kept the match a one-score affair.
Salt Lake was able to hold on and seal the 2-1 victory. The side will travel to Seattle to play next Saturday.
Man of the Match
Kyle Beckerman led his team to victory with strong play, an incredible goal, and the game-winning assist. He is the man of the match.
Kreis’ lineup sported a few reserves:
- FORWARD: Espindola, Paulo (66′ Arnoux for Paulo)
- MIDFIELD: Williams, Beckerman, Gil, Warner (72′ Grabavoy for Warner)
- DEFENSE: Beltran, Olave, Schuler, Russell (92+’ Wagner for Russell)
- KEEPER: Rimando
Alvaro Saborio played last night for Costa Rica, but was available on the bench for selection.
Mondragon broke the ring finger on his right hand and left at halftime.
Cody Arnoux made his Real Salt Lake debut in the 66th minute.
Ned Grabavoy returned from a lengthy injury in the 74th minute.
Russell limped off after that lost shot, but made it back onto the field. He went down again just before stoppage time and was eventually removed for Blake Wagner.
The 4th official stalled the injury substitution of Wagner for Russell through two dead balls, earning the ire of Jason Kreis.
Category: Game Review