Real Salt Lake won a 3-0 blowout victory over the Seattle Sounders Saturday in the first leg of the Conference Semifinal.
“We’re very, very pleased with the result,” coach Jason Kreis said. “For me, that was a complete match.”
The victory gives Salt Lake a commanding lead going into next Wendesday’s second leg at Seattle; however, the home side lost both center backs, Nat Borchers and Jamison Olave, to injury.
Neither player’s status was clear as of Saturday evening; however, Salt Lake is used to playing with injuries. Coach Jason Kreis noted that this match was the first time he had started his first choice lineup since April.
“I looked at Will when Olave when out and I said, ‘Well it was nice while it lasted’,” defender Chris Wingert said. “You’ve gotta have a little bit of depth and deal with what comes.”
Salt Lake’s depth was on display for the remaining 60 minutes of the match when Chris Schuler entered for Olave. The side managed to control the run of play for the entire match, dominating possession and shots on goal.
Real Salt Lake had the first good opportunity in the 8th minute when Alvaro Saborio was fouled just outside the Seattle box. Javier Morales took the resulting free kick and found the head of Saborio in the box; however, the Costa Rican’s shot was just wide.
Salt Lake’s next good chance came in the 20th minute when Will Johnson drove forward and fired a hard shot from distance. Kasey Keller made a diving stop, and Salt Lake was unable to recover the rebound for the likely goal.
Andy Williams nearly scored in the 24th minute when a give-and-go with Alvaro Saborio sprung him open in the box. Once again, Keller was able to make a diving save to keep the match scoreless.
Salt Lake finally got on the board in the 41st minute when Morales fed Wingert driving into the box. The left back’s shot found its way across the area and Saborio tapped it in.
Salt Lake continued to dominate into the second half. Saborio scored his second in the 53rd minute with a clinical back heel when Morales served him in the box.
Grabavoy made it 3-0 in the 88th minute when his shot on goal bounced around and fell into the back of the net.
The victory gives Salt Lake a decided advantage going to Seattle next week; however, that advantage may be diminished based upon the availability of Borchers and Olave for the remainder of the playoffs.
Man of the Match
Alvaro Saborio scored twice and created numerous other opportunities. He is the man of the match.
Real Salt Lake had its first-choice lineup available for the first time since April:
- FORWARD: Espindola, Saborio
- MIDFIELD: Williams, Beckerman, Morales, Johnson (79’ Grabavoy for Morales)
- DEFENSE: Russell, Olave, Borchers, Wingert (32’ Schuler for Olave) (84’ Gil for Borchers)
- KEEPER: Rimando
Olave’s injury is a quadriceps strain, while Borchers was diagnosed with a knee strain.
Category: Game Review