Real Salt Lake temporarily put to rest any defensive concerns with a 2-0 victory over Seattle Sounders to mark the midpoint of their season and finding their way to the top of the MLS table.
The first goal came through a bit of luck and a lot of skill, as Kyle Beckerman notched his second goal of the year with a shot following a deflected free kick by Javier Morales; his shot bounced off the crossbar before nestling into the side of the net. Scored only minutes before the half, the wind was taken almost immediately out of Seattle's sails.
Nearly immediately after the start of the second half, Robbie Findley scored his fourth goal of 2013 with an effort that slid underneath Seattle goalkeeper Michael Gspurning after blocking Findley's initial take. The goal opened up what had before the halftime whistle been a fairly tense match, with chances starting to flow a bit more freely for Real Salt Lake.
From there, it was always going to be a difficult road back for Seattle. When Olmes Garcia came on late in the match, the whole dynamic shifted - Seattle were thrust once again on to the back foot, with the Colombian striker chasing down every ball within sight and stretching play as a result. Sebastian Velasquez's entrance further changed the dynamic, with possession becoming a more dynamic affair.
Carlos Salcedo, in at center back, looked assured and unphased by the affair in front of him. He formed a solid partnership with Nat Borchers, and in spite of some early clearances that perhaps weren't his best, he recovered and put in a domineering shift. Notably, Seattle didn't find a shot until the 73rd minute, which is certainly down to a number of factors, but a solid defense made a world of difference.
The absence of Osvaldo Alonso for Seattle seemed damning at the start and only looked more so throughout; RSL's midfield had little trouble finding space as the match went on, and some puzzling tactical decisions didn't much come off for Sigi Schmid.
Chris Wingert and Kyle Beckerman both received yellow cards for poor tackles, leaving both players at three yellow cards - two away from an automatic suspension. With half the season to play, both will be looking to avoid an automatic suspension.