A dismal road record, an Eastern Conference opponent, and a slate of injuries: None of those things made a lick of difference as Real Salt Lake put a 3-0 pasting to MLS newcomers FC Cincinnati.
A harried first half was capped by two RSL goals shortly before halftime, with Albert Rusnak and Sam Johnson providing the finishing touch. The win was just RSL’s second clean sheet on the year.
Albert Rusnak, fresh off a gnarly finger injury that saw his ring finger dislocated or broken, scored the game’s opener in the 42nd minute with a low, driven shot inside the box.
Corey Baird made the play with a strong effort at keeping the ball in play on the left flank, carving out his own shot that rebounded off the near post from an acute angle. The rebound fell to Rusnak’s feet, with his finish capitalizing on some disorganized defending from Cincinnati.
Shortly before the halftime whistle, Sam Johnson put RSL up 2-0 from another rebounded opportunity, with that one coming after multiple players unleashed shots. The first came from Damir Kreilach near the penalty spot, which was blocked and popped into the air. Corey Baird had the second attempt: a low volley that was cleared off the line. Finally, Johnson smashed home from close range for his second goal in an RSL kit.
Jefferson Savarino won a penalty in the 56th minute as RSL streamed down the middle of the park, having been brought down in the box. Rusnak finished the superbly taken ensuing spot kick to put RSL up 3-0, notching his second goal on the night and fourth on the year.
- With Nick Rimando suffering an apparent knee injury in training, Andrew Putna stepped into the starting lineup. It was his first RSL appearance since August.
- Brooks Lennon continued with his bench role for a second consecutive match, with Aaron Herrera and Donny Toia starting at right back and left back, respectively.
Real Salt Lake
Herrera, Glad, Onuoha, Toia
Beckerman , Kreilach
Savarino, Rusnak, Baird (74’ Saucedo)
Johnson (86’ Besler)
Bench: Ochoa, Lennon, Portillo, Saucedo, Besler, Ruiz, Plata