Goals from Jefferson Savarino, Corey Baird, and Bofo Saucedo in the first 45 minutes secured Real Salt Lake 4-2 victory over rival Sporting Kansas City on America’s Independence Day Wednesday night.
The game was chippy and rough as you would expect between these two clubs and featured 33 combined fouls and two late red cards shown to SKC.
The magic of the RioT benefited the RSL attack as Baird, Savarino, and Albert Rusnak brought a cogent attack against SKC. SKC’s Daniel Salloi opened up the scoring in the match by popping in a goal off a cross in the 20th minute. However, RSL responded nine minutes later with a Savarino goal and then would take the lead eight minutes after that in the 37th minute as Baird would score off a throw in.
Just before halftime Saucedo would ensure RSL’s lead with a curling shot in the right side of the goal to give the Claret and Cobalt a 3-1 advantage.
The second half proved to be just as action packed as the first, but for sub-optimal reasons. Ike Opara brought SKC back within a goal in the 64th minute and Rusnak for RSL would miss a penalty which would have effectively put the game out of reach. SKC would draw red cards for Salloi by swinging his arm around during a jump ball striking RSL defender Nick Besler in the face.
Besler would then be on the receiving end of another foul which earned Roger Espinoza his own red card in stoppage time. Luis Silva drew a foul in the box which he put away in the top left corner of the goal in the tenth minute of stoppage time.
RSL improves to 7-1-1 at the RioT and currently sit in fourth place and a playoff spot following the victory and will face Western Conference leader FC Dallas this Saturday night in Utah. Sporting Kansas City entered the match tied for the top spot and now sit in second place as the host a Toronto FC side which personifies futility.
If RSL are to compete in the MLS Cup Playoffs they will need to earn all three points this weekend against FCD and earn positive results away from the RioT.
Written by Allen Corbin – (@AllenCorbin)