Real Salt Lake Return Home With Emphatic Victory Over SKC

Jul 17, 2022, 9:27 PM | Updated: Aug 8, 2022, 3:32 pm

SALT LAKE CITY – Real Salt Lake picked up its first three points since June 18 with an emphatic 3-0 victory over rivals Sporting Kansas City.

Manager Pablo Mastroeni welcomed Jefferson Savarino and Justen Glad back to the starting XI while Anderson Julio returned to the bench following injury stints. Zac MacMath remained in goal, and Aaron Herrera, Marcelo Silva, Glad, and Andrew Brody started across the backline. Justin Meram, Pablo Ruiz, Jasper Löffelsend, and Maikel Chang played in the midfield behind Savarino and Sergio Córdova in a 4-4-2 formation.

Peter Vermes and SKC operated in a 4-3-3 with Dániel Sallói and Johnny Russell the two big threats at the point of the formation.

First Half Dominance

Despite sitting deep and giving up a lot of ground in the opening five minutes, Real Salt Lake began to play the brand that has become synonymous with them at home. Andrew Brody, Justin Meram, and Jefferson Savarino began to find space on the left side of the pitch, and 10 minutes in Brody slipped a ball through that found the feet of Córdova whose left-footed strike from the six-yard box was saved by SKC keeper John Pulskamp’s leg.

Five minutes later, Brody played another wonderful through ball onto the running legs of Meram who cut in onto his preferred right foot and was denied by Pulskamp’s chest despite getting a fantastic purchase on the shot.

The first yellow card of the match was shown to SKC midfielder Roger Espinoza when he went through the back of Löffelsend who was sprinting at the SKC backline. In the ensuing free kick, Ruiz forced a diving save from Pulskamp for the first of three RSL corner kicks.

Real Salt Lake was building momentum and applying pressure on a disheveled SKC defense.

Glad became the first RSL player in the book when he accidentally slapped Espinoza. The referee cited two previous challenges of Glad’s to warrant the yellow card to be shown.

At the half, Real Salt Lake had already managed 10 shots with 6 on target whereas SKC only mustered 3 shots with 1 on target comparably.

Nevertheless, the game remained scoreless.

Real Salt Lake Breaks Through

The breakthrough came 50 minutes in when Maikel Chang drifted to the other flank. Meram found Chang in space who played a ball onto the left foot of Brody who whipped in a cross that found the diving head of Córdova. The header beat Pulskamp to his left and into the back of the net. Córdova then proceeded to take his shirt off in celebration which forced the referee no option but to show him a yellow.

Minutes later, Real Salt Lake knocked on the door again when Herrera sent an SKC defender flying with a cross fake before sending a wonderful ball into the box that found the wide-open forehead of Córdova again. This time, however, Córdova sprayed his headed attempt inches wide of the bottom left corner of the net.

The game was flipped on its head in the 62nd minute when Espinoza recklessly challenged for a ball with his studs showing and was shown a straight red card.

Then, seconds later, Ruiz rocketed a shot that cut the grass from the 18-yard box and found the bottom right corner of the net to double the lead.

Savarino then scored a brace in the 77th but the goal was disallowed as Pablo Ruiz, the player who crossed the ball into Savarino, was ruled offside.

Real Salt Lake ended with 18 shots, 9 on target while dominating 55% of the possession.

Next Real Salt Lake Match

Real Salt Lake will stay in Utah and prepare for a clash with FC Dallas next Saturday evening. Kick-off is scheduled for 8 p.m. at Rio Tinto Stadium.

The match will be available to stream for free via the KSL Sports and KSL 5 TV apps or on KSL Sports dot com.

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