RSL will feel a bit hard done by the result, though, with two shots hitting the post and more still needing last-ditch saves by Orlando’s star of the night, goalkeeper Joe Bendik.
Corey Baird opened the scoring for Real Salt Lake with his second in his still young career, with Damir Kreilach providing an excellent lobbed pass for the youngster. Baird beat his defender to the ball before chipping the ball over Orlando keeper Joe Bendik for the game’s opener.
RSL’s concentration issues moments later nearly proved a fateful dagger again, though, with chance after chance falling to the feet of Sacha Kljestan and Dom Dwyer; some timely defending in an all-hands-on-deck scenario kept RSL’s lead sacrosanct.
Baird nearly doubled his tally in the 34th minute, when a perfectly timed run was met with a well-weighted through ball from Jefferson Savarino; Baird, bursting past former RSL man Chris Schuler, beat Bendik, but he didn’t beat the post, with the ball pinging off and trickling over the end line.
Savarino gave Joao Plata an opportunity, too, as the first half wound to a close, with the left-sided attacker collecting the pass but putting his shot centrally at Bendik for an easy collection.
With the second half only just having started, Albert Rusnak gave himself a chance to double the lead, with a neat run from Baird opening space for the playmaker to fire off a shot that pinged off the right post.
Between Rusnak and Savarino, opportunities started flowing in the opening minutes of the second half, with both forcing corners from Joe Bendik.
Dom Dwyer notched a 61st minute equalizer with his head; ever the villain, Orlando’s dangerous forward finished a Kljestan cross in front of Pablo Ruiz.
Baird, at the center of every good thing RSL managed to put together, found himself one-on-one with Joe Bendik, but the Orlando goalkeeper found a last-ditch kick save as his savior.
But when RSL falls, they fall fast, and today was no exception. Orlando defender Lamine Sané knocked down a corner kick with ease, with his header coming after beating his mark, Justen Glad. Conceding a 61st minute equalizer and a 64th minute goal to go down 2-1 will not reflect well on the side.
The 78th minute saw the wheels start to come off, with some poor wide defending seeing Orlando nearly straight through on goal; a parry by Nick Rimando put the ball right to Yoshimar Yotún, who finished with power near the penalty spot.
Early on, Real Salt Lake were found on the other side of several chances, with Orlando City finding success through multiple channels of operation.
For the first time in 2018, Real Salt Lake had the luxury — forced as it may be — of playing the same lineup in back-to-back matches.
- Former RSL man Chris Schuler made his first MLS start in nearly a year
- RSL homegrown player Corey Baird’s goal was his second in only four games. The last RSL rookie to score multiple goals? That’s probably Brooks Lennon, though he was arguably not a rookie in 2017, having played at Liverpool.
13’ OCSC 0-1 RSL, Corey Baird
61’ OCSC 1-1 RSL, Dom Dwyer
64’ OCSC 2-1 RSL, Lamine Sané
52’ OCSC yellow, Joe Bendik
58’ OCSC yellow, Mohamed El-Munir
64’ OCSC yellow, Cristian Higuita
Real Salt Lake
Lennon, Besler, Glad, Ruiz (Saucedo, 82’)
Savarino, Rusnak, Plata
Baird (L. Silva, 80’)
Bench: Sparrow, Henley, Herrera, Sunny, Saucedo, Lopez-Espin, Luis Silva
Orlando City SC
Johnson, Sané, Schuler, Mohamed El-Munir
Higuita, Yotún (Rosell, 81’)
Mueller (Pinho, 73’), Klejstan, Meram (88’, Allen)
Bench: Edwards Jr., Toia, Allen, Rosell, Laryea, Pinho, Giro