For their second nationally televised match, Real Salt Lake travelled to the new Avaya Stadium to take on the San Jose Earthquakes. In a very physical match up between the two sides, RSL managed to claim their second victory in as many weeks.
In a match that saw the return of players from international duty, both sides gave a few youngsters the opportunity to get starts for their respective sides. Jeff Cassar gave 19 year old Jordan Allen his first career start and Fatai Alashe - who recently returned from the U.S. U-23 camp - and Adam Jahn both got the nod from the San Jose's coaching staff.
A lot of the early action was directed towards Nick Rimando's goal as San Jose took the initiative out of the gates. On a series of early set pieces, the Quakes earned good positions but their scenarios left much to be desired.
RLS's defense withstood the early bombardment and took the initiative from the home side. In the 18th minute, Alvaro Saborio found himself with position in San Jose's box. With his finger on the trigger, Saborio was double teamed and taken down but referee Armando Villarreal did not see any foul play.
RSL had another chance in the 31st minute with a free kick just outside the right side of San Jose's penalty box. Javier Morales took the set piece trying to find the head of Chris Schuler but San Jose defender Clarence Goodson was able to head the ball out for a corner. Once again Morales sent the ball into the box but this time goalkeeper David Bingham gobbled up the chance.
A series of head injuries then took their toll on both sides. In the 35th minute, Allen collided heads with San Jose's left back Shaun Francis who left the pitch with concussion concerns. Then Innocent Emeghara was found not too innocent after elbowing Luke Mulholland in the head. The ensuing free kick lead to a goal when Morales' first chance hit the wall and then he volleyed the ball passed Bingham for the only goal of the night.
San Jose then had at least two good looks at goal during first half stoppage but were unable to convert.
San Jose continued their offensive getting a few early looks on goal in the second half which were then reciprocated by the Claret-and-Cobalt.
Adam Jahn had the best chance for San Jose in the 54th minute. A through ball released the on rushing Jahn who drove into RSL's 18 yard box and let off a weak shot that was easily smothered by Rimando.
Two minutes later San Jose worked Rimando for only the second time on the night with a quickly taken free kick. Matias Perez Garica played the ball to a wide open J.J. Koval causing panic in the RSL ranks. The Wall of the Wasatch, however, came up big turning Koval's shot on goal away.
Substitute Devon Sandoval nearly had a tap in in the 69th minute. A miscue from Bingham created a lot of space in his box but Victor Bernardez cleared the ball off the line before Sandoval could get his head on the ball.
In the dying embers of the match, Abdoulie Mansally made a silly challenge that resulted in a dangerous free kick from San Jose. Perez Garcia sent the ball into the box and after some ping-ponging around, the ball was volleyed by youngster Alashe in a deja vu moment - he scored from a similar situation earlier this season. Getting the last touch of the match, Alashe shot the ball over the cross bar.
RSL now rank third in the West and will take on Sporting Kansas City next week for what can only be presumed as the birth of a conference rivalry.