Sandy, UT – The tides have changes as Real Salt Lake defeats Chivas USA 2 – 0 after falling the last three attempts. Forward Alvaro Saborio scored on a first-half penalty kick and midfielder Kyle Beckerman added a second-half goal while goalkeeper Nick Rimando earned his seventh shutout of the season, extending RSL’s shutout streak to three consecutive matches.
The match wasn’t without it’s excitement as RSL had two scores called back by offsides calls and near misses early in the game by Joao Plata, Luke Mullholland and an amazing shot by Javier Morales that went wide right but the juggling prior to the shot was amazing.
Real Salt Lake: Nick Rimando; Chris Wingert, Nat Borchers, Carlos Salcedo, Tony Beltran; Kyle Beckerman (C), Ned Grabavoy, Luke Mulholland (Luis Gil, 75’), Javier Morales; Joao Plata (Olmes Garcia, 87’), Alvaro Saborio.
Substitutes not used: Jeff Attinella, Robbie Findley, Abdoulie Mansally, Sebastian Velasquez.
Chivas USA: Dan Kennedy; Akira Kaji, Bobby Burling, Eriq Zavaleta (Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, 45’), Donny Toia; Marvin Chavez, Matthew Dunn, Nigel Reo-Coker, Leandro Barrera (Agustin Pelletieri, 84’); Erick Torres, Felix Borja (Kris Tyrpak, 75’).
Substitutes not used: Trevor Spangenberg, Eric Avila, Andrew Jean-Baptiste, Nathan Sturgis.
Quotes from Real Salt Lake
On finishing the season with 56 points with largely a new coaching staff
“It feels great. Obviously we’re extremely blessed to have such an incredible group of men in that locker room. As far as the staff, we came together quickly; that started in the preseason. It’s a great group to work with. We are all passionate about the team. But we still all have a lot of work to do and that is exciting. It’s a credit to the guys in the locker room; to the core group of that have been here for a while.”
On what he’ll be doing this Saturday to prepare for the playoffs
“I’ll definitely be in front of the TV. Scouting, preparing. I’m going to be preparing for two teams, Vancouver and Portland and then we’ll see where it goes from there. It’s definitely not time to sit on the couch and relax. I’ll be taking notes and preparing. Not rooting for anything. I’m just going to prepare my team the best that I can.”
On finishing the season with three straight shutouts
“It’s very important. It’s important for all those guys in the locker room. We were aggressive with our attacking. We were aggressive with our defending. So to get a shutout in this game was huge.”
On sensing a different attitude this time around against Chivas
“This is an experienced group of players that know what time of the season this is. We had been preparing for Portland as a playoff game, this was a playoff game. I was really pleased with the overall urgency that our guys played with, both offensively and defensively.”
On the team’s consistency
“I think obviously everyone in this group would expect that we would be in the playoffs somewhere. Where we end up now, we will see. There’s obviously some really good teams in the West. Seattle and LA in particular with the points. They have had unbelievable seasons. I’m not quite sure where the whole league is, but I think we might finish top 5 in points again, 4th or 5th something like that. And so I think it’s sometimes overlooked. I just think that sports fans in general like to see consistency. We like to see the flair of the unknown, which is completely different and completely understandable, but I think this group has been just very, very consistent over the past 6 or 7 years. We will see how it goes in the playoffs. We know that we’re going to have to line up with one of the big boys, but we know that we can play with them, and we know that we can be successful.”
On playing under Jeff Cassar
“I think going into the season it’s not just Jeff. It’s a completely new staff that he has, so it’s a lot of new faces on the coaching staff. I think that their biggest goal this off season I think was to keep things as constant as they could. I think we probably made less changes to the group than we have had any other year since I’ve been here, and we’ve probably made less changes than any other team in the league, so I think that when we have a veteran core like that, you can lean on those guys. Like I said, when you go through rough patches in this league, it’s that group of guys that you know you can roll out week in and week out and have confidence that these guys are going to get you points going forward. We have had a consistent group here. We have been consistent with our play and like I said, we’re kind of right where we have always been, so it’s just a bit more of the same for us.”
On the mentality shift going into the playoffs
“We kind of always find ourselves in this position a little bit. Obviously there’s the danger of the play-in game, but we kind of always find ourselves in a position where the Supporters’ Shield is a little bit out of reach, and so we have these last handful of games where we’re jockeying for position a little bit, but ultimately we know that this season is about to start, so now that this game is over, I think that the thought process is where the flip just switches and we think to ourselves that the season is just beginning now, so I think that we all collectively feel that in this locker room. The important time has come now.”
Up Next For Real Salt Lake
THE PLAYOFFS! The victory sprung RSL into third place in the Western Conference, two points clear of fourth-place FC Dallas. If Dallas loses or draws on Saturday against the Portland Timbers at Toyota Stadium, then RSL will finish in third position and meet the No. 2 team (either the LA Galaxy or Seattle Sounders FC) in the Western Conference Semifinal. If Dallas wins, then RSL will finish fourth and play against either the Timbers or Vancouver Whitecaps FC in the Knockout Round.