SAN JOSE, Calif. (Saturday, October 1, 2016) – Real Salt Lake had a chance to clinch a playoff berth with a win over the San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday. However, sealing that postseason spot would need to wait one more game, as RSL fell 2-1 to the Earthquakes at Avaya Stadium.
GK Nick Rimando finished the night with four saves and DF Justen Glad scored his second goal of the season, but a set piece goal in the second half was RSL’s undoing, falling to 12-11-9 (45 points) with two matches left in the regular season.
In the 17th minute, it took a heroic effort from Rimando to keep Chris Wondolowski from staking San Jose to an early lead. Anibal Godoy took the initial shot from distance and MF Kyle Beckermanredirected it. However, the carom went straight to Wondolowski in alone on Rimando. Wondolowski’s shot looked bound for the far-side netting, but Rimando sprung to his left to make the save, pushing it clear for a corner.
San Jose continued to pepper RSL with shots, outshooting the visitors 10-1 in the first half before finally breaking through in the 34th minute.
Simon Dawkins got out on a break and played to Wondolowski on the edge of the box. He played a first-time ball back to Dawkins cutting toward the middle and he ripped a shot from 18 yards out that found the net to put Salt Lake behind 1-0.
RSL was able to equalize before the half when Glad slammed a shot off the crossbar that ricocheted off David Bingham’s back and into the net. MF Javier Morales sent a free kick into the box from the right side and the ball pinballed around at the penalty spot before spilling to Glad on the left side for the shot. Glad was credited with the goal on the play and the match went into halftime tied at 1-1.
In the second half, the field was tilted in RSL’s favor and Salt Lake outshot the Earthquakes 10-2, but one of those shots found the net for San Jose while Bingham made four second-half saves to prevent Salt Lake from earning a result.
In the 60th minute, RSL nearly captured the lead when FW Juan Manuel Martinez clipped a cross in from the right side. FW Joao Plata was alone for a header, but his lunging shot was stopped by Bingham. RSL chased for the rebound, but Bingham got the block and covered it up to keep the match at 1-1.
A few minutes later, MF Sunny crushed a shot from 30 yards out that forced Bingham to parry it over the crossbar for a narrow miss. Not long after on the other end, a quick throw from the left side led Wondolowski into the box for a first-time shot that forced Rimando into a stellar save of his own to keep the match knotted.
In the 72nd minute, Fatai Alashe broke the deadlock with a header off a free kick. Shea Salinas sent the ball in from the left side and Alashe rose up to head it back across the goal. Rimando got a glove to it, but not enough to keep it out of the net and San Jose took the lead at 2-1.
Salt Lake would press for the equalizer and outshot San Jose 4-0 in the final 18 minutes, but couldn’t get the decisive goal and ran its unbeaten slide to five straight matches (0-3-2).
After a week off, RSL returns to Rio Tinto Stadium for the regular season home finale against Sporting Kansas City on Sunday, October 16.
GAME NOTES – SJvRSL
– With the Portland Timbers 1-0 loss to the Colorado Rapids on Saturday, Real Salt Lake is three points away from clinching the club’s eighth playoff berth in the last nine seasons.
– FW Joao Plata returned to the starting lineup after coming off the bench last week against FC Dallas. FW Yura Movsisyan came off the bench for the final 15 minutes after missing the Dallas match with a heel injury.
– MF Sunny also returned to the starting lineup after being on the bench last week.
– DF Justen Glad netted his second goal of the season after scoring his first career MLS goal on April 2 in a road win over Sporting Kansas City.
SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES 2-1 REAL SALT LAKE
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 1, 2016
Goals by Period 1 2 F
Real Salt Lake 1 0 1
San Jose Earthquakes 1 1 2
SJ: Simon Dawkins (Chris Wondolwoski) 34’
RSL: Justen Glad 40’
SJ: Fatai Alashe (Shea Salinas) 72’
RSL: Javier Morales (Caution; Delaying a Restart) 72’
Real Salt Lake (4-2-3-1): Nick Rimando; Tony Beltran, Justen Glad, Jamison Olave, Demar Phillips; Kyle Beckerman, Sunny (Luke Mulholland 86’); Juan Manuel Martinez, Javier Morales, Joao Plata (Jordan Allen 76’); Olmes Garcia (Yura Movsisyan 76’).
Substitutes not used: Lalo Fernandez, Chris Schuler, John Stertzer, Chris Wingert.
San Jose Earthquakes (4-4-2): David Bingham; Cordell Cato, Victor Bernardez, Marvel Wynne, Kofi Sarkodie; Tommy Thompson (Henok Goitom 79’), Fatai Alashe, Anibal Godoy (Darwin Ceren 62’), Shea Salinas; Simon Dawkins (Chad Barrett 86’), Chris Wondolowski.
Substitutes not used: Andrew Tarbell, Kip Colvey, Shaun Francis, Andres Imperiale
Referee: Kevin Stott
Assistant Referees: Ian Anderson, Cameron Blanchard
Fourth Official: Younes Marrakchi
Weather: 64 and clear