A win would have kept them in second place, but tonight’s game in Minnesota sees RSL fall in the table as Darwin Quintero bagged a brace to send the Loons leapfrogging ahead of the visitors with a 3-1 win.
Freddy Juarez had a full player pool to build his lineup from after everyone returned from international duty. Albert Rusnak, Sam Johnson, and Jefferson Savarino found their way back to the starting XI after coming back from their respective national teams, though Savarino came off the bench during the midweek game against San Jose to play 26+ minutes just one day after seeing some playing time in Venezuela’s match against Colombia.
Real Salt Lake opened the scoring early in the first half when Jefferson Savarino let a left-footed shot rip from the right side of the box. Minnesota ‘keeper Vito Mannone dove to keep it out of the net, but Albert Rusnak collected the rebound at the top of the box. He calmly settled the ball, took a look at goal, and fired a sluggish shot on the ground toward goal. Mannone reached for that one but it rolled just past him and into the back of the net, putting the visitors up 1-0 in the 17th minute.
Minnesota fired back just a few minutes later as Darwin Quintero made a run behind the defense and collected a through ball from Kevin Molino. Rimando came off his line to try and stop it, but Quintero found a way around him and put the ball into an empty net, equalizing the score at 1-1.
Despite a few more chances, neither team was able to add to their tally in the first half, heading into the locker room tied at 1-1. While RSL controlled 57% of possession throughout the first 45, both teams were relatively equal on shots with Minnesota’s six (three on target) and RSL’s five (four on target).
Minnesota took the lead early in the second half after a collision between Beckerman and Toia allowed Quintero to break free with the ball and streak toward goal. Nedum Onuoha was there to mark him, but Quintero let a shot fly that found its way through Onuoha’s legs and past Rimando into the back of the net to put the Loons on top 2-1 in the 51st minute.
Looking to add some spark into the attack, Juarez opted to bring in both Corey Baird and Joao Plata in the 72nd minute to replace Sam Johnson and Savarino, respectively.
Rimando came up huge in the 76th minute after Donny Toia gave up a turnover in midfield and Minnesota brought the ball back up the field. Hassani Dotson sent a long cross to the left side to find an unmarked Robin Lod who fired a one-time shot at the goal, but Rimando instinctively got a hand to it, knocking it away into safety to keep the home team from increasing their lead.
Minnesota put the nail in the coffin in the 83rd minute when Romain Metanire sent a cross to a completely unmarked Ethan Finlay on the left side of the field on the break. Donny Toia couldn’t keep up with him, and Finlay was able to easily put the ball straight past Rimando, virtually putting the game out of reach for RSL as they increased their lead to 3-1.
With only four games left, every single point counts for Real Salt Lake as they fight not only for a home game in the first round of playoffs, but as they try to stay in the playoff race sitting just three points above the red line.
RSL heads back east next weekend to take on Bruce Arena’s New England Revolution while Minnesota travels to Portland to square off with the Timbers.
17’ RSL - Albert Rusnak
20’ MIN - Darwin Quintero (Kevin Molino)
51’ MIN - Darwin Quintero
83’ MIN - Ethan Finlay (Romain Metanire)
RSL: Rimando; Herrera, Glad, Onuoha, Toia; Luiz, Beckerman; Savarino (72’ Plata), Kreilach (80’ Lennon), Rusnak; Johnson (72’ Baird)
MIN: Mannone; Metanire, Opara, Boxall, Moimbe; Gregus, Alonso; Molino (68’ Finlay), Quintero (76’ Dotson), Lod; Toye (68’ Danladi)