After a hard-fought battle,Real Salt Lake fell to the Montreal Impact by a score of 2-1 on the first of their two-game road trip this week thanks to goals from Omar Browne and Saphir Taider, while a late goal from Sam Johnson breathed some life into the visiting side.
With Mike Petke clearly keeping this weekend’s trip to New York in mind, the starting lineup saw a heavy rotation as five new faces saw the field this week in a change from last week’s starting XI, including Joao Plata seeing his first start of the season. Justin Portillo, Erik Holt, Brooks Lennon, and Sam Johnson all got the starting nods in Montreal.
The game opened with two huge saves from Nick Rimando in the first two minutes as Montreal started things off right, notching two shots on target and nearly getting them in the back of the net. The first shot, especially, was from point blank — Rimando got a hand to it and sent it sailing straight up and off the crossbar, keeping the game scoreless early on.
Although RSL logged a couple shots on goal, the first half was all Montreal as they put an exclamation point on it in stoppage time, thanks to a goal from Omar Browne. After a ball found him in the middle of the box, he ripped a shot that split two RSL defenders and sailed to the far post past Rimando, putting the home side up 1-0 heading into halftime.
The Impact went into the halftime break with double the amount of overall shots as the visitors, with both logging two on frame.
Sam Johnson thought he pulled an equalizer early in the second half as he sent a diving header into the back of the net, but the referee blew his whistle for offside, and RSL continued to chase the game.
It got worse for the visitors in the 68th minute when Donny Toia was whistled for a foul in his own penalty box as he tugged Bacary Sagna who went down with ease, and the ref pointed to the spot. Saphir Taider stepped up to the penalty spot and caught Nick Rimando diving the wrong way, putting the home side up 2-0, surely putting the nail in the coffin.
Sam Johnson pulled one back late in the 84th minute after a beautiful long ball over the top from Erik Holt found its way into the box. Kreilach sent it across goal past Corey Baird and found Johnson wide open who was able to send it in, putting RSL right back into the game.
Despite a late surge after that Sam Johnson goal, the visitors couldn’t quite find the equalizer and the game ended with a 2-1 victory for Montreal — their seventh of the season.
RSL stays on the east coast to take on Petke’s old team, the New York Red Bulls, this weekend before they head into the FIFA break which will see them out of commission for three weeks.
45+2’ MTL - Omar Browne (Shamit Shome, Bacary Sagna)
48’ MTL - Saphir Taider (PK)
84’ RSL - Sam Johnson (Damir Kreilach, Erik Holt)
36’ MTL - Samuel Piette - yellow card
59’ RSL - Damir Kreilach - yellow card
60’ RSL - Justin Portillo - yellow card
83’ MTL - Bacary Sagna - yellow card
RSL: Rimando; Lennon, Glad, Holt, Toia (84’ Herrera); Portillo, Kreilach; Savarino, Rusnak (57’ Baird), Plata (69’ Saucedo); Johnson
MTL: Bush; Sagna, Camacho, Raitala, Lovitz; Shome, Piette, Taider; Browne (72’ Brault-Guillard), Urruti (90+4’ Diallo), Choiniere (77’ Krolicki)