Real Salt Lake’s road woes appear to be a thing of the past, with
Real Salt Lake scored very early — sixth minute early — with Damir Kreilach finishing a Joao Plata cross at Tim Howard’s far post from a tight angle. Kyle Beckerman will get much of the credit
Colorado’s Niki Jackson, who played at the Real Salt Lake academy in Arizona in 2013, took that deficit for his side and worsened it, getting himself sent off in the 11th minute for violent conduct during a corner kick.
On a side note, Jackson once scored for RSL’s reserves while playing against — who else? — Colorado Rapids.
The drama continued, but with Aaron Herrera clearing a shot off the line after Nick Rimando flapped at it, RSL remained in a winning position, just 17 minutes in.
Real Salt Lake doubled their lead in the 33th minute, with Jefferson Savarino beating Tim Howard with a shot nailed right at his hands, but the veteran goalkeeper could do nothing but let it slip through. Albert Rusnak earned the assist, his seventh of the season, after scrapping for the ball in the box against what might be the most lackluster defense in Major League Soccer.
With the Rapids already down 2-0, Bismark Boateng hastened his team’s demise after he lunged in studs-up on Brooks Lennon’s knee well after the ball had gone. Boateng, who was already on a yellow card, was shown a straight red card for the challenge after a short and exceedingly obvious video review by referee Ted Unkel.
Jefferson Savarino scored his second of the night in the 58th minute to put RSL up 3-0, beating Tim Howard with a perfectly placed shot from the edge of the box, with Rapids defender Tommy Smith looking like a defensive ghost, putting in no challenge on the shot.
Joao Plata scored RSL’s fourth of the night, putting a rebound in the back of the net — his own rebound after he powered a headed ball from close range right at Howard, who was probably surprised the 5’2” forward was absolutely free in the box.
Corey Baird put RSL up 5-0, scoring his first goal for the team since July 4. The ball pinged around in the box before falling to Baird, who volleyed his finish in with remarkable ease.
Albert Rusnak put a beautiful touch into the net in the 86th minute, scoring his third goal in two games with a well-placed strike past Howard. His simple run left an entirely demotivated Rapids defense helpless, and it was a well and truly deserved goal.
Damir Kreilach nearly finished the match off with a late finish, but his 90th minute goal was called back for offside.
In the end, RSL’s road woes were well and truly forgotten, with the magnitude of victory — combined with a confidence-boosting win last match — flipping the script late in the season.
Real Salt Lake
Lennon (61’ Danilo Acosta), Besler, Glad, Herrera
Sunny (46’ Baird), Beckerman
Savarino, Rusnak, Plata (71’, Saucedo)
Ford (69’ ), Wilson, Smith, Castillo
Boateng (45’ sent off), Price (69’ ), Kellyn Acosta
Jackson (11’ sent off), McBean (34’ Barnes)
- COL 0-1 RSL 6’, Damir Kreilach
- COL 0-2 RSL 33’, Jefferson Savarino
- COL 0-3 RSL 58’, Jefferson Savarino
- 8’ RSL yellow card, Brooks Lennon
- 11’ COL red card, Niki Jackson (violent conduct)
- 19’ COL yellow card, Bismark Boateng
- 45’ COL red card, Bismark Boateng — straight red, not second yellow
- 51’ RSL yellow card, Aaron Herrera