Three penalties, seven goals, a bit of luck and a crafty hat trick: Real Salt Lake, visiting New York, battled tremendously but lost a 2-3 lead on the road — after recovering from the most dismal of starts and dropping 2-0.
The match started poorly as Real Salt Lake conceded in the 11th minute — Aaron Maund committed a foul in the defensive half that saw Thierry Henry swing in a perfect free kick for Tim Cahill to fire home.
The second goal was perhaps as frustrating: After defending poorly on a corner, Abdoulie Mansally was caught with his arms on Brandon Barklage at the edge of the box, and when Barklage went down — perhaps a shade easily — the referee whistled for the first of three penalties on the day.
Real Salt Lake rounded out the first half with some encouragement, as they were handed a penalty of their own when Olmes Garcia went down under a challenge from New York defender Marcus Holgersson after rounding his way from the wing into the box; Saborio put away the ensuing penalty without much trouble.
With momentum shifting their way, Real Salt Lake controlled much of the second half, but it took until the 80th minute to find another goal. Grasping for a point, Jason Kreis threw the dice and sent in Joao Plata, who proved to be an important tactical player.
Saborio's 80th minute goal was a fine piece of work, with Olmes Garcia the provider. At 2-2, playing for a point seemed reasonable — then Olmes Garcia knocked a long ball and Joao Plata made a great run down the left flank with the ball before sending the ball into the middle for Saborio. The Costa Rican, playing in his first match since the Gold Cup, showed immense calm on the ball before sending a lightly weighted shot past New York keeper Luis Robles.
But it wasn't to be: Up 3-2, now-New York attacker Fabian Espindola went down easily in the box, winning his side a penalty and putting away the ensuing spot kick in the 89th minute. And the heartbreak came only minutes later during the five minutes of stoppage time — with all the time in the world for a cross, Barklage sent a ball into the box that Dax McCarty headed home.
And so it was that Real Salt Lake gained three points from an expected zero, then gave them away again.