TFC swept aside by resurgent Salt Lake
Mike Petke and Nedum Onuoha stopped short of saying Real Salt Lake’s 3-0 victory over Toronto FC at the Rio Tinto Stadium was the team’s most complete and best game of the season. However, they were pretty good nonetheless.
Damir Kreilach got the scoring going early. Before Sebastian Saucedo and Jefferson Savarino added goals later in the fixture. While Nick Rimando finished with the clean sheet on his return from a four-game absence because of an injury. As RSL picked up their second straight win.
“Overall, they had a lot of the possession the first 15, 20 minutes. But we never really felt completely threatened at goal. We weathered the storm a little bit and then we started playing a little and scored three excellent goals,” Petke said.
Added Onuoha: “I don’t think we were like ten out of ten for the whole game. But I think for longer periods compared to other games. We’ve had good 30-minute spells, 40-minute spells. But it felt like 60 to 75 minutes in this game. I thought we were in control.”
Indeed Toronto did control possession early on. But in the 14th minute, Albert Rusnak took a throw-in from Saucedo and immediately delivered it into the 18-yard box. Kreilach settled it with his chest, got free from two defenders and rifled a shot past the TFC goalkeeper Quentin Westberg and into the back of the net.
Just 14 minutes later, Saucedo delivered what some called one of the best goals in Rio Tinto Stadium history when he sent an absolute rocket from about 30 yards out past Westberg’s outstretched arms.
Then in the 60th minute, Saucedo lofted a ball over the top of the TFC defense from just past midfield, Savarino beat his defender to it and sent a shot past Westberg.
“That’s my bread and butter, trying to receive the ball out wide and cutting in and shooting from 30, 40 yards out,” Saucedo said of his laser. “I’m not scared to shoot. Definitely, something I practice in training, shooting back post, near post, whatever it is. Thank God I scored the goal. I’m happy for the group that we were able to give three points to our fans.”
With the three points, RSL at least momentarily jumped over Minnesota United FC in the table and into sixth place in Major League Soccer’s Western Conference. On the afternoon, RSL finished with a whopping 19 shots compared to 10 for Toronto. The win was good from a goal differential standpoint, as the home side went from -5 to -2 on the campaign.
After Savarino’s goal, which came as he got the start over designated player Sam Johnson after Johnson was late to a pregame team meeting, it appeared as though RSL could do even more damage, as Toronto’s Alejandro Pozuelo was shown his second yellow card of the day in the 61st minute.
The Spaniard was remorseful after the game. Speaking to reporters, he said: “I want to say that I spoke with some players and I want to say sorry because it is a difficult situation. I know we lost 3-0 and the red card, so the team needed to play with 10, so it’s not good for me and not good for the team. I need to learn from this red card, and we need to continue.”
From that point, however, Toronto stayed dangerous even with the game effectively over. TFC forced Rimando into a couple of excellent saves late on to preserve the clean sheet.
Salt Lake have now won two straight games and scored six goals in the process. However, things get tough this week as the club will host the defending MLS Cup champion, Atlanta United FC, on Friday.
Meanwhile, TFC are winless in their last four. They will host the San Jose Earthquakes next.