Real Salt Lake fell short at BMO Field tonight as they fell to the defending MLS Cup champions by a score of 3-1, despite showing a good fight late in the game when Corey Baird scored his first MLS goal after coming off the bench.
Both Marcelo and Luis Silva found their way back into the starting lineup after being forced to sit out with injury, and Brooks Lennon started again at right back after an impressive performance against the New York Red Bulls.
It looked as if Toronto would get on the scoresheet first as referee Allen Chapman signaled for a penalty kick in the 14th minute. Jozy Altidore had the ball in their attacking half near the goal and attempted to pass it out back into the box. Damir Kreilach went to ground and the ball hit him in his supporting arm, after which Chapman immediately made the controversial penalty call.
Foregoing video review, Sebastian Giovinco stepped up to the spot and launched a less-than-stellar shot to Nick Rimando’s right. The Wall of the Wasatch made the dive and got his hand to it, knocking it back behind the line for a goal kick, keeping the score at 0-0.
Chapman, just eight minutes later, rewarded the home team with yet another penalty kick as Altidore was taken down just inside the box by Justen Glad. This time, Jozy stepped up to take the shot and sent it again to Rimando’s right. Nick was unable to make the save a second time, and the Reds took the lead in the 23rd minute.
Toronto doubled their lead in the 45th minute when Jozy collected a pass from Ashtone Morgan near the top of the box. Altidore took a first-time shot that went right past RSL’s defenders and caught Rimando helpless, as Nick was only able to watch the ball roll into the net on the far post as the home side went up 2-0 just before halftime.
The Reds outshot RSL 11-3 overall in the first half, and 5-2 on target, while the two sides nearly split possession at 50-50.
After much more of Toronto on the attack in the second half, substitute Corey Baird came in for Joao Plata on the left side and immediately added a spark to RSL’s game. In the 82nd minute, Baird netted his first-ever MLS goal as he received the ball on the left side of Toronto’s penalty box off a nice little pass from Jefferson Savarino. He ripped a shot that found its way to the far post, just past TFC ‘keeper Clint Irwin to bring the visitors within reach at a score of 2-1.
In the dying moments of the game, TFC put the nail in the coffin as Tosaint Ricketts grabbed a third for the Reds, collecting a rebound from a shot that bounced off the crossbar. He was able to control the ball, completely unmarked by RSL’s defense, and easily slot it in the back of the net past Rimando to reach a final score of 3-1.
RSL falls to 1-2-1 while Toronto FC records their first win of the season, improving to 1-2-0. Real Salt Lake returns home next week to play host to the Vancouver Whitecaps on April 7th while Toronto hosts Club America on Tuesday in the first leg of the CONCACAF Champions League semifinal.