REAL SALT LAKE
Real Salt Lake Falls For First Time In 2023
SALT LAKE CITY – Real Salt Lake lost for the first time in 2023 after goals from Jordan Morris and Héber led the Seattle Sounders to a consecutive home victory.
Real Salt Lake manager Pablo Mastroeni was forced into one change entering the fixture following Jasper Löffelsend’s one-game suspension. He was replaced by veteran midfielder Scott Caldwell who partnered with Braian Ojeda in the heart of the midfield. It was the only change to the starting XI from a week ago in Vancouver.
As expected, Real Salt Lake was forced to defend deep in their own half as the home team looked to create an early opportunity to find the back of the net. That opportunity came in the 14th minute when Brazilian striker Héber’s shot was cleared off the line by Justen Glad.
Shortly thereafter, Real Salt Lake countered with three consecutive corner kicks in a five-minute span and began knocking on the door themselves.
Real Salt Lake Caught Sleeping
Seattle continued to push Real Salt Lake and eventually caught Real Salt Lake sleeping in the 35th minute when Alex Roldan was awarded far too much time to compose himself before playing a cross into the area that ended up finding the forehead of Jordan Morris. Justen Glad and Andrew Brody were defending Morris but the ball was inch-perfect and split the gap.
Then shortly into the second half, Seattle doubled their lead when Héber got on the end of a Christian Roldan cross in the 58th minute. The second goal came following a poor clearance by Marcelo Silva that left the Real Salt Lake backline scrambling to get back into position.
Right place. Right time. @Heber__Araujo scores his second goal of the season! 👏 pic.twitter.com/KTEsyENd0s
— Seattle Sounders FC (@SoundersFC) March 5, 2023
Immediately following the second goal Mastroeni introduced Andrés Gómez and Rubio Rubin to the fold. Gomez appeared far more poised and dangerous in his second appearance for his new club than he did a week ago in Vancouver when he debuted.
The second goal forced Real Salt Lake to play with a greater risk. The addition of Justin Meram and Diego Luna made his first appearance for Real Salt Lake in 2023 after returning from US under-20 duty.
Jefferson Savarino went down in the box after having his legs swiped from underneath him in the 76th minute but the referee opted not to reward a penalty.
Despite a two-goal deficit, the final 20 minutes were dominated by Real Salt Lake. The likes of Gomez, Savarino, and Meram all threatened Stefan Frei’s net.
Seattle had one final chance that should have added to the lead when 31-year-old midfielder João Paulo skied his shot from the penalty shot over the bar despite Zac MacMath being out of position and the entire goal available for Paulo to aim at. Right before Paulo made contact the ball took a bobble that resulted in the miscue.
Home Opener Awaits
Next week Real Salt Lake returns home for the first time in 2023 when they host Austin FC at America First Field on Saturday, March 11, with kickoff scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
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