For the first time in 2018, Real Salt Lake strung together multiple victories when they beat Houston 2-1 at Rio Tinto Stadium.
The decisive goal came in the 82nd minute from the feet of Kyle Beckerman, who scored his first home MLS goal since October 2014 in a 2-0 win over Chivas USA.
Arguably the most influential player in the match, though, was Sebastian Saucedo, whose performance continues a nice run of form for the academy prospect.
RSL’s first big opportunity came in the fifth minute, when Houston’s Joe Willis was forced into a leaping save to tip a Sebastian Saucedo header over the crossbar. Saucedo’s opportunity came after a good bit of interchange down the left side, with Brooks Lennon and Jefferson Savarino combining on the right side before Lennon sent a far-post cross toward an open Saucedo.
It was hardly the only save Saucedo forced Houston into, with a 22nd minute strike nearly mirroring his first MLS goal, but for a fine Willis save.
Saucedo proved part of the difference in giving RSL the lead, with the goal coming from the head of Luis Silva after a cross from the academy graduate. That made for Saucedo’s third goal contribution — an assist against Philadelphia and Saturday’s goal — in as many games.
It was no coincidence, too, that the ‘second assist’ should be attributed to Brooks Lennon, whose attacking contribution had largely been to send long crosses over to Saucedo on the left side.
RSL nearly found themselves back in a level position, but you’d never guess who saved them from a near-sure goal: Nick Rimando, who wore the captain’s armband in Kyle Beckerman’s bench-resting stead.
After struggling for the first 15 minutes after the second half kicked off, RSL made two changes — Beckerman in for Sunny and Baird in for Luis Silva — and with it, welcomed a flurry of chances for the home side.
But for all the good performances from the home side, they were more or less undone when Alberth Elis knocked home a headed goal from a late run. It was a gut-punch to RSL during a period in which they more or less controlled the affair.
It took a monumental effort from RSL’s captain to restore the lead, with Beckerman finishing from a tight angle on a corner kick. And wouldn’t you know, it was his midfield partner that fed him the ball, with Damir Kreilach chesting a ball perfectly into his path. And, perhaps unsurprisingly, Saucedo played his role again, serving in the decisive corner.
34’ RSL 1-0 HOU, Luis Silva
75’ RSL 1-1 HOU, Alberth Elis
82’ RSL 2-1 HOU, Kyle Beckerman
Cautions and sendings-off
28’ Yellow, Houston - Tomás Martinez
70’ Yellow, Houston - Eric Alexander
Real Salt Lake
Lennon, M. Silva, Glad, Acosta
Besler, Sunny (64’ Beckerman)
Savarino (76’ Plata), Kreilach, Saucedo
L. Silva (67’ Baird)
Bench: Sparrow, Horst, Herrera, Ruiz, Beckerman, Plata, Baird
Lundkvist, Watts (45’ Garcia), Leonardo, Beasley
Alexander, Martinez (83’ Gil), B. Garcia
Elis, Manotas (66’ Alvarez), Quioto
Bench: Seitz, Rodriguez, Wenger, Alvarez, Gil, K. Garcia, Bird