Real Salt Lake defeated Sporting Kansas City 2-1 in their biggest test of the preseason as they rounded out the first three matches of the Desert Diamond Cup with three wins.
The match was a predictably foul-ridden one, with infraction-induced stops and starts coming from both sides over the 90 minutes.
Dom Dwyer set the scoreline at 2-1 with a headed goal from a corner, giving Sporting Kansas City a glimmer of hope. The defending on the corner was lackluster, and it did look like two RSL players collided. Real Salt Lake just managed to hold on to the lead despite facing a barrage of corner kicks from their 2013 MLS Cup opponents.
Devon Sandoval gave Real Salt Lake a 2-0 lead only minutes into the second half with a gentle chip past former RSL (and current SKC) goalkeeper Tim Melia. Sandoval picked off a decidedly weak back pass from Kansas City's Mikey Lopez after some good Luke Mulholland pressure, who produced plenty of that through the affair.
Emery Welshman gave Real Salt Lake an early 1-0 lead with a great curling finish to the far post in the 12th minute. Mulholland's perfectly weighted pass at the top of the box got the move going after some messy work from Kansas City's defense.
Welshman nearly had another in the 23rd minute when he smashed a headed ball against the crossbar from a Sebastian Saucedo cross.
Real Salt Lake featured a second-choice lineup, with every player changed from the starting set in Wednesday's 3-1 win over FC Tucson. Kansas City made wholesale changes around the 60th minute, while Real Salt Lake persisted with their lineup. RSL's first substitution saw Ricardo Velazco enter for a slightly gassed Emery Welshman in the 65th minute.
Jeff Attinella was forced into several spectacular saves, with a full-strength Kansas City in the final 30 minutes providing a more stern test than the first 60.
Dom Papa, who scored for FC Tucson on Wednesday in Real Salt Lake's 3-1 win, entered late in the second half, while Devante DuBose came in for a cramping Elias Vasquez late on.
Two moments of minor scuffles made the match slightly more interesting, with Welshman and Ricardo Velazco both receiving yellow cards in the first and second scuffles, respectively.