Rio Tinto Stadium, Sandy, UT –It was a pair of handballs that helped Real Salt Lake defeat the Colorado Rapids and denied them once again a win at Rio Tinto Stadium. In the opening match of this years Rock Mountain Cup Colorado went down a man early when Tim Howard handled the ball outside the box, but RSL had a hard time capitalizing on the advantage. Late in the second half Colorado fell victim to the handball for a second time. It took a video review to award RSL a PK for a handball that Plata put away past reserve goal keeper Zac MacMath. Albert Rusnak and Damir Kreilach added their own goals to give Real Salt Lake a win and a much needed three points.
Both clubs appeared ready to play tonight and both clubs looked to be in good form during the opening quarter of the first half, that was until Tim Howard left the box to counter Jefferson Savarino, as the last defender Howard deflected the ball outside of the box and the result was a red card and ejection in the 20th minute. With Colorado down a man RSL dominated possession for the remainder of the half but couldn’t get anything past Zac MacMath who took his place in the goal after subbing in for Jack McBean.
With the start of the second half the Claret and Cobalt continued to dominate possession and shots, they ended the night with 70.8% of possession and took a massive 29 shots on goal. It was late in the affair before the either teams account was opened, the moment came in the 82nd minute. After a scrum in the penalty box, the ball was partially cleared, and Justen Glad was fouled near the out line, but the previous play was not over yet as the VAR reviewed the tussle in the box. It was determined that Tommy Smith had handled the ball in the penalty area and Joao Plata punched the shot home past MacMath. Real was not done by a long shot, with Damir Kreilach getting his first MLS goal in the 89th minute and Albert Rusnak putting away a free kick past a stunned Zac MacMath.
There were few high points for Colorado to take away from tonight’s match where they were dominated in almost every category and only possessed the ball for 29.2% of the time, took 10 shots with none of them being on frame.
With Plata’s PK he is not the leading scorer for RSL with 3 on the year. Damir Kreilach finally has that first goal out of the way and as he continues to get accustomed to Major League Soccer his stats should continue to improve. Another first for tonight was the introduction of Pablo Ruiz to the home crowd, Ruiz had a great chance late in the game when he was fed the ball with nothing between him and the net but he couldn’t get his body turned enough and sent the ball out to the side of the framework. There was plenty of positive to take away from the match and we will see next week if they are able to carry over the excitement as they travel to take on the Vancouver Whitecaps for their second meeting this season
Goals by Period 1 2 F
Real Salt Lake 0 3 3
Colorado Rapids 0 0 0
RSL – Joao Plata – 82′ (PK)
RSL – Damir Kreilach – 89′
RSL – Albert Rusnak – 90’+2′
COL – Tim Howard – 20′ – denial of obvious goal scoring opportunity (handling)
COL – Dominque Badji – 32′ – unsporting behavior
RSL – Nick Besler – 75′ – unsporting behavior
COL – Yannick Boli – 77′ – unsporting behavior
COL – Tommy Smith – 81′ – handball
COL – Bismark Boetang – 90′ + 1′ – unsporting behavior
Referee: Joseph Dickerson
Assistant Referee: Ian Andersen
Assistant Referee: Jonathon Johnson
4th Official: Hilario Grejeda
Video Assistant Referee: Ricardo Salazar
Real Salt Lake: Nick Rimando; Danilo Acosta (Pablo Ruiz, HT); Justen Glad; Nick Besler; Brooks Lennon; Kyle Beckerman; Albert Rusnak; Damir Kreilach; Jefferson Savarino; Joao Plata; Luis Silva (Corey Baird, 69′)
Substitutes Not Used: Connor Sparrow; Adam Henley; Aaron Herrera; Sunny; Alfredo Ortuno
Colorado Rapids: Tim Howard; Axel Sjoberg; Deklan Wynne; Tommy Smith; Johan Blomberg; Bismark Boateng; Enzo Martinez (Shkelzen Gashi, 68′); Jack Price; Edgar Castillo; Domionque Badji (Dillon Sema, 76′); Jack McBean (Zac MacMath, 22′)
Substitutes Not Used: Dillon Sema; Danny Wilson; Michael Azira; Kip Colvey; Yannick Boli
Next up for RSL
Real Salt Lake travels to British Columbia to take on the Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday April 28th.