After a crazy 90 minutes, Real Salt Lake came out on top at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park as they downed their rivals Colorado Rapids with a score of 3-2, securing their first win after losing two straight. The Rapids remain winless on the season while RSL gets their fourth win of the year.
Bofo Saucedo got his third start of the season in place of Jefferson Savarino, while Nick Besler stepped in again for an injured Kyle Beckerman. Andrew Putna got his fourth-straight start of the season as well as Nick Rimando is still out with a knee injury.
RSL thought they deserved a penalty in the 13th minute when Bofo brought the ball down and wound up to take a shot. Just at the last minute, though, a Colorado defender came at him from the side and Bofo hit the deck, but referee Robert Sibiga saw no foul play and made no call with Saucedo on the ground. Sam Johnson collected the ball and let a shot rip but it took a deflection and went wide of the goal.
The penalty finally came in the 24th minute after Bofo was taken down for a third time inside the box, and after a video review, Sibiga pointed to the spot. Rusnak stepped up to the spot, undoubtedly looking for redemption after his PK was saved last week by Portland ‘keeper Steve Clark. Rusnak drilled the ball to the left, and although Tim Howard dove the right way and even got a fingertip to it, it sailed past him and into the back of the net, putting the visitors up 1-0 early in the first half.
Not even a minute later, RSL doubled their lead thanks to a beautiful long ball over the top from Nick Besler that landed perfectly for a streaking Corey Baird, who immediately got behind Colorado’s defense with his first touch. With his next touch, he chipped it over Howard who came off his line, and sent it easily into the net to put his team up further with a comfortable 2-0 scoreline.
Just when the game was getting extra chippy on Colorado’s side, it got pretty wild after a reckless challenge from Justen Glad as he went into a slide with his studs up. He got the ball first, but also clipped the opponent’s foot, and a scuffle on the field ensued between the two teams. Sibiga initially showed Glad a red card, but after some discussion and a video review, he overturned the red and showed him a yellow card instead, allowing Glad to stay on the field.
The Rapids stole one back in first half stoppage time as Jonathan Lewis sent a ball into the box. Glad attempted to clear it on the run, but it rolled back out near the top of the box to find an unmarked Kellyn Acosta, who put it on frame and sent it just past a charging Andrew Putna, pulling the home team within one goal heading into the locker room at halftime.
The halftime break didn’t do much good for RSL, as Colorado found their equalizer just two minutes into the second half, courtesy of Danny Wilson off a corner kick. He collected the rebound off a header, saw Putna was well off his line and was able to just tap it in easily to tie the game up at two goals each.
Just minutes later, RSL found their answer to take the lead once again thanks to DP striker Sam Johnson as he received a pass right at the top of the six-yard box from Damir Kreilach. He had time to settle the ball and hit a shot right past Tim Howard, reclaiming RSL’s lead in the 53rd minute.
Colorado got a penalty of their own as Toia got beat by Anderson in the box and reached out a hand and ended up pulling him down. Sibiga immediately blew the whistle and pointed to the spot to give Colorado a chance to equalize once again. Kei Kamara stepped up to the ball and hit it low to the left side, but Andrew Putna made the right call, dove the right way and was able to easily make the save, keeping RSL’s lead at 3-2.
Joao Plata made an immediate impact in the game after coming on for Bofo in the 68th minute, as he found himself on a breakaway toward the left side of the goal. He ripped a shot from close range and easily beat Howard, but it bounced back into play off the left post, just keeping RSL off the score sheet again.
Another penalty scare came near the 90th minute as the referee went to video review to check out a potential hand ball call, as it looked like it may have bounced off of Nick Besler’s hand in the box. Fortunately, after review, no penalty call was made and play resumed.
In yet another scary moment, Colorado put the ball in the net thanks to Abubakar in stoppage time, but was immediately shot down as the assistant ref raised his flag for offside. After Sibiga conversed with his assistants, the offside call stood and the scoreline remained the same.
The game ended with RSL very much on their back foot, but ultimately they were able to hang on to their 3-2 lead and keep the full three points in Colorado.
25’ RSL - Albert Rusnak (PK)
27’ RSL - Corey Baird (Nick Besler)
45+3’ COL - Kellyn Acosta
47’ COL - Danny Wilson
53’ RSL - Sam Johnson (Damir Kreilach)
32’ COL - Danny Wilson - yellow card
33’ RSL - Justen Glad - yellow card
64’ COL - Sebastian Anderson - yellow card
76’ RSL - Damir Kreilach - yellow card
RSL: Putna; Herrera, Glad, Onuoha, Toia; Besler, Kreilach; Baird (79’ Lennon), Rusnak, Saucedo (68’ Plata); Johnson (85’ Silva)
COL: Howard; Rosenberry, Abubakar, Wynne, Anderson (84’ Serna); Wilson (57’ Shinyashiki), Price; Nicholson, Acosta, Lewis (66’ Mezquida); Kamara