Real Salt Lake gave up two early goals and fell to the San Jose Earthquakes 2-1 at Rio Tinto Stadium Saturday.
“When it comes to the two goals against us, I thought it was just a lack of focus to stay with marks in the box,” coach Jason Kreis said. “I think that it’s been a different player on multiple plays all year. The tendency this group is having, to not recognize these danger situations. It’s something we’ve talked about; we’ve talked about it and talked about it. As we see, it’s one of the very few ways that opponents are causing us troubles.”
Salt Lake was done in by poor defending on crosses aimed at Steven Lenhart, who scored both San Jose goals. Set pieces have caused problems for Salt Lake all season and these goals illustrated why, even though only one came from a dead ball situation.
“We’ve talked all year about how we have to be better on set pieces,” defender Nat Borchers said. “They were taking early set pieces, and I hold my hand up for both of those goals.”
The first half played as a mostly dry affair; however, there was a three minute window in which the match’s three goals were scored.
Real Salt Lake came out on attack but San Jose scored first against the run of play. The visitors took the lead in the 18th minute when Cordell Cato sent a cross into the RSL box and Steven Lenhart redirected the ball past Nick Rimando.
Real Salt Lake responded one minute later when Javier Morales put a corner kick from Joao Plata into the top of the net to level things up.
The draw would not hold for long. Lenhart struck again in the 21st minute – heading in a Shea Salinas free kick – to reclaim the lead for San Jose.
Salt Lake continued to attack but struggled to create a good chance. As a result, the first half ended with the score 2-1 in favor of San Jose.
San Jose had the first good chance of the second half. Chris Wondolowski’s header forced Rimando to make a leaping save.
San Jose nearly scored in the 67th minute when Rafael Baca and Wondolowski caught Chris Wingert in a 2 v 1. Wingert cheated off ball with Wondolowski and dared Baca to shoot at Rimando. Baca took the bait and fired right at the Salt Lake net-minder who made the save.
Wingert put a great shot just wide of goal in the 73rd minute and got the crowd cheering. It came off a short corner when the outside back fired hard from just outside the box. The shot was so close that part of the crowd cheered thinking a goal was scored.
That shot, and a similar play from Robbie Findley, proved to be Salt Lake’s best opportunities of the second half as the home side fell to the Earthquakes.
Category: Game Review