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Mulholland, Plata score screamers to push RSL to first-half lead

Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

Luke Mulholland and Joao Plata went back to Real Salt Lake's locker room after the first half with smiles on their respective faces after both scored crucial, beautiful goals against Colorado Rapids.

Mulholland's came in the 43rd minute as Real Salt Lake pushed for a go-ahead goal — a curling effort that just evaded Colorado goalkeeper Clint Irwin.

Joao Plata's 33rd minute goal was perhaps equally spectacular: a free kick effort from just outside the box that dipped over the wall and caught Irwin with his vision obscured.

Kevin Doyle opened the scoring to put Rapids up 1-0 with a very nice header early on, putting RSL in a difficult position.

And there was a share of refereeing controversy, too, when referee Mark Kadlecik declined playing advantage when Burrito Martinez was fouled and Joao Plata picked up the ball around the edge of the box unprotected.