Chris Wondolowski Scores Late Brace To Give Real Salt Lake First Loss Of 2021
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Real Salt Lake succumbed to a Chris Wondolowski brace inside the final 10 minutes to lose for the first time this season.
Juarez made changes to the starting XI as Justin Meram replaced an injured Anderson Julio, Andrew Brody got the nod over an injured Aaron Herrera, and Erik Holt saw the pitch for the first time this season as Marcelo Silva did not make the 18.
“First of all, I think the first 80 minutes we played really well,” Damir Kreilach said. “We created more attacking chances but as Rubio [Rubin] mentioned we fell asleep in the last 10 minutes.”
Ride Rubin’s Bicycle
The first half took a while to get going. Very few clear-cut chances were created by both teams. That was, up until the 43rd minute when Rubin scored a goal of the year candidate.
The ball was flicked into the area by Damir Kreilach and landed on the chest of Rubin who corralled the ball, lept off both feet, and struck the ball with his right foot above his head falling back to earth.
A bicycle kick for the ages.
The strike crept under the crossbar and nestled into the back of the net, sending the wild 10,000 fans into a frenzy. Rio Tinto Stadium was alive again.
“My dad taught me how to do a bicycle kick,” Rubin said following the conclusion of the match. “When Kreilach headed the ball to me I knew I could unleash and I was thrilled to see it find the back of the net.”
Second Half Heartbreak
The second half began in a similar fashion to how the first half ended; chaotic.
San Jose flew out of the locker room in the hopes of catching RSL still napping. Clearly, Matías Almeyda had a few choice words for his players during the main interval.
But, as RSL has shown through the first two games of the season, they quickly responded and settled into their own routine.
The match then got chippy when Albert Rusnak made a slide tackle from behind, clipping the heels of a San Jose player. Justin Meram was fast to defend his captain but threw another San Jose player in frustration. Rusnak and Meram consequently both received yellow cards.
Almeyda rolled the dice as only he can do. Wondolowski entered the contest and a center back came off. San Jose opted for three across the back and was willing to go down fighting if they were to lose.
When Wondolowski entered, the RSL faithful took a collective breath.
Then the inevitable happened. Wondolowski pounced on a save by Ochoa and tapped the ball into the back of the net. It was 1-1 with less than 10 minutes to play.
But the Wondolowski story was not over yet.
In the 87th minute, just five minutes after scoring the equalizer, Wondolowski soared for a ball that was played to the back post, made contact with his head, and punished the ball into the back of the net.
Rio Tinto Stadium was stunned. Wondolowski had done it again.
RSL suffered their first loss of the season.
RSL remains home and will take on Nashville on Saturday, May 15th with kickoff slated for 7:30 p.m.
The match will be available to stream for free via the KSL 5 TV app or on KSLSports.com.