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RSL finds footing, shuts out Seattle Sounders in 1-0 victory

It was a massive result for Real Salt Lake.

MLS: Seattle Sounders FC at Real Salt Lake Jeffrey Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

Real Salt Lake achieved an unexpected 1-0 victory over Seattle Sounders at Rio Tinto Stadium, putting on a steadfast defensive performance in front of the largest crowd in two years at home.

Damir Kreilach scored the solitary goal for Real Salt Lake in the 48th minute, knocking down a header past Seattle’s Stefan Frei on the back of an Aaron Herrera cross. It was Kreilach’s tenth on the year, and his provider’s ninth assist, continuing what has been a strong season for both keystone players for RSL.

The second half proved a general windfall for RSL, with Seattle Sounders looking exhausted and out of sorts — not a look typical to the team with the highest points-per-game average in the Western Conference coming into the match. Though RSL didn’t create many chances, Seattle created fewer, with David Ochoa snuffing out crosses as they came in.

The match proved one of forgone opportunities for both sides, with possession for either side rarely lasting for extended spells. RSL’s midfield was dominated by Pablo Ruiz, having arguably his best game of 2021.

It was certainly a match of found-footing for Real Salt Lake, who heretofore had conceded an average of three goals per game under interim coach Pablo Mastroeni. And while there is a good deal to be said about Seattle’s inability to put together meaningful attack throughout the 90 minutes, much should also be made of RSL’s staunchness.

Attendance: 19,850