Real Salt Lake Wins In Thriller Over Atlanta United

May 24, 2019, 9:38 PM
Kristin Murphy, Deseret News...
Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

SANDY, Utah – Real Salt Lake picked up its third straight win with a 2-1 victory over Atlanta United, the defending MLS Cup champions.

The win came in thrilling fashion as Jefferson Savarino scored on a terrific shot in stoppage time to topple the champs.

Bofo Saucedo also scored for the second consecutive game in the victory.

RSL’s lineup was once again a topic of interest as head coach Mike Petke chose to roll out the same starters as last week. In that match against Toronto FC, Petke benched striker Sam Johnson after he was late to a team meeting. RSL played well without him, scoring a 3-0 victory and as a result Petke chose not to switch things up against Atlanta.

Slow First Half

The first half was a bit slow and was likely attributed to the wet conditions on the pitch. In the rain, the ball is often harder to control and it was evident in the opening 45 minutes and change.

Savarino shined in the first half although at times his touch was a little heavy. He had a wicked shot on goal that came off the hand of Atlanta goalkeeper Brad Guzan and kept rolling until it hit the goal post.

Atlanta, who came into the game as winners of seven of its last nine matches, really had only one legitimate goal-scoring chance in the first half, but RSL legend Nick Rimando was able to out-run Atlanta’s best player, Josef Martinez, to a ball that was in a dangerous area near the top of the box.

Saucedo Continues Strong Play

In his second consecutive start, Saucedo continued to show how much he feels he should be a mainstay in the Starting XI. He had a hard shot on goal from outside the box, a play that is becoming a signature of his game, in the 36th minute that found the back of the net.

Last week, Saucedo made his way to head coach Mike Petke after his goal and embraced the coach in celebration. This time, there was no hug, but Petke was still proud of his hard-working Homegrown Player when speaking to the media after the match.

“Bofo’s taken advantage of his opportunities over the last couple of weeks,” said Petke. “I have to keep my best to keep him as grounded as possible because he has a long way to go, cleaning up certain little things but he’s shown over the last couple of weeks what kind of player he can be.”

Saucedo continued his exceptional play in the second half with some unreal passes across the pitch while his team was on the attack.

Comeback Kids

Adversity struck RSL near the end of the second half when Atlanta superstar scored to tie the game up at 1-all. It looked like a tie game or worse was certain for RSL.

However, in stoppage time Savarino took on the hero’s mantle with a fantastic shot that found the net and secured the win for RSL.

Savarino’s shot came just a minute or so after Albert Rusnak’s wide open shot sailed over the net. At that moment, it seemed that RSL had lost its best chance at claiming a win. Savarino, on the other hand, had other plans and refused to let his team come away without the win.

They had earned it.

“We deserved that win, 100 percent,” said Petke.

Next Up

RSL will hit the road to face the Montreal Impact on Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. The match will streamed live on or on the KSL TV app.

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