Despite a near-stoppage time collapse, Real Salt Lake ran out victorious over fierce conference rivals Sporting Kansas City, winning 2-1 with goals from Luke Mulholland and Justen Glad.
The manner of victory — a reasonably decisive one — was unexpected, particularly because Real Salt Lake was missing ten players through a combination of untimely suspensions and injuries.
Justen Glad opened the scoring in the 29th minute, placing a header past SKC goalkeeper Tim Melia from a Joao Plata free kick. The free kick in, a particularly sumptuous lob from 40 yards out, was accompanied by three unmarked runs past the Kansas City line. It merely found Glad's head, but Yura Movsisyan and Jordan Allen could have been there, too. The finish itself was particularly good, too, nestling in at the lower corner of the far post.
It was Joao Plata's third assist on the year, continuing his influential streak of having either scored or assisted every Real Salt Lake goal this season.
Near the end of the first half, Chris Wingert was nearly forced out of the match after taking a cross directly to the side of his head; however, he was deemed fit to continue, which hopefully means there was no concussion — whatever the case, it looked bad. He returned to the field after halftime, too, but was substituted after 59 minutes of play, when he was replaced by Demar Phillips.
The second half started in exciting fashion, with Luke Mulholland going close on a shot and Jordan Allen nearly getting his head to an almost-inch-perfect perfect cross (although it did look like Allen was fouled in the build-up). No surprise, too: Joao Plata was the architect of both opportunities.
Yura Movsisyan nearly doubled RSL's lead when he beat two defenders on the dribble and fired a shot that beat Melia — but thwacked against the cold, unfeeling crossbar, denying him his second goal in as many games.
In the 77th minute, Jordan Allen nearly scored got on the scoresheet, too, with Melia punching the ball directly into the attacker's path. The rebound nicked off the post, though, and Allen was denied.
From that series of corners, Luke Mulholland scored a dipping shot from 30 yards out that bounced just before it would have been in Melia's grasp, evading the former RSL goalkeeper.
In the 95th minute, Sporting Kansas City earned a goal after referee Ted Unkel was caught in a horrendous decision-making process, calling a penalty on John Stertzer for a tackle that was very, very clearly outside of the box. It wasn't enough to change the match, though, and RSL ran out victorious — remaining unbeaten in MLS and downing their rivals.