Real Salt Lake’s time in Orlando came to an end as they suffered a 5-2 defeat at the hands of the San Jose Earthquakes. It was a tale of two halves as the first half saw some great attacking play from both teams, but the game just got away from RSL in the final 20 minutes.
Freddy Juarez fielded a very familiar lineup that saw Albert Rusnak return to the field after missing the last game due to a left hip injury. Pablo Ruiz got another start while Kyle Beckerman was available on the bench.
It only took just over 20 minutes for the scoring to open when San Jose’s Cristian Espinoza found the back of the net after some good build up play. Espinoza grabbed a pass on the right side of the box and let a shot fly past a rushing Donny Toia who couldn’t get there in time. MacMath was caught a bit off guard and couldn’t get down to his right quick enough to stop the ball, and it sailed into the back corner putting the Quakes up 1-0.
Real Salt Lake wasted absolutely no time with their response, scoring just a minute later thanks to a great ball from Corey Baird and a gaffe from San Jose’s Kashia. Baird’s ball over the top found Douglas Martinez all alone on a breakaway after Kashia misjudged his jump and was unable to get to it. Martinez took on goalkeeper Daniel Vega who rushed off his line, and easily chipped the ball over him into the back of the net, not only giving RSL the immediate equalizer, but Martinez his first goal in an RSL uniform.
The stats didn’t bode well for RSL if that’s all you were to look at in the first half. San Jose owned a commanding 67% possession, while logging 10 total shots to RSL’s three. Only three of SJ’s shots were on target though, while two of RSL’s hit the frame. The stats didn’t reflect the play, though, as RSL looked hungry and energetic with some decent attacking play through the first 45 minutes.
San Jose found themselves back on top early in the second half when newly subbed Alvin Jones conceded a penalty by knocking down Tommy Thompson in the box from behind. Magnus Eriksson stepped up and went to MacMath’s left. MacMath went the right direction but just couldn’t keep it out of the net as it flew past him, putting the Quakes up 2-1 in the 49th minute.
The Earthquakes doubled their lead in the 61st minute thanks to a massive mistake from Zac MacMath when he rolled the ball straight to Vako from his penalty box. After collecting the rebound from a quick blocked shot, Vako sent the ball in behind to Andy Rios to the left, who then found Vako straight back across goal for an easy tap-in since MacMath had been pulled off his line.
Damir Kreilach, after knocking on the door for a good 25 minutes, finally broke through in the 75th minute after Marcelo Silva fed him a solid pass at the top of the box. Kreilach was able to turn it past Kashia and fire off a left-footed shot right past Daniel Vega, bringing RSL back within one goal with 15 minutes left to play.
Not 10 minutes later, Silva was sent off after a reckless studs-up tackle when RSL was still buzzing off the momentum from their last goal. The effects of his absence were immediately seen as Chris Wondolowski accidentally put the ball in the net after Shea Salinas sent in a shot that bounced off of MacMath. Wondo happened to be in the right spot at the right time — as he always seems to be — and the ball just bounced off of his shin and into the net without him even needing to take the shot.
San Jose earned their second penalty of the night when Beckerman was called for a handball in the box. After a video review, the referee pointed to the spot, and Eriksson stepped up to put the ball past MacMath with ease, bringing the score to 5-2.
To top it all off, Beckerman earned himself a red immediately after the final whistle when he kicked the ball into the back of referee Drew Fischer.
While RSL could have had a chance to tie it up late in the game, the red card from Silva seemed to be the point of no return as they watched the game slip away from them completely.
San Jose will move onto the quarterfinals to face the winners of Columbus and Minnesota, while Real Salt Lake’s time in Orlando is done.
Real Salt Lake
MacMath; Herrera, Glad, Silva, Toia (HT Jones); Luiz (68’ Beckerman), Ruiz; Rusnak, Kreilach, Baird (68’ Meram); Martinez
San Jose Earthquakes
Vega; Thompson (81’ Salinas), Kashia, Alanis, Lima; Judson (90+2’ Jungwirth), Yueill; Espinoza (73’ Fierro), Eriksson, Vako (81’ Cowell); Rios (81’ Wondolowski)
29’ RSL - Aaron Herrera - yellow card
31’ SJ - Cristian Espinoza - yellow card
37’ RSL - Corey Baird - yellow card
66’ RSL - Justen Glad - yellow card
84’ RSL - Marcelo Silva - red card
90+7’ RSL - Kyle Beckerman - red card
21’ SJ - Cristian Espinoza (Vako, Magnus Eriksson)
22’ RSL - Douglas Martinez (Corey Baird)
49’ SJ - Magnus Eriksson
61’ SJ - Vako (Andy Rios)
75’ RSL - Damir Kreilach (Marcelo Silva)
86’ SJ - Chris Wondolowski
90+6’ SJ - Magnus Eriksson