Real Salt Lake Advance to Western Conference Final with 2-1 Win at Sporting Kansas City
KANSAS CITY, Kansas - Real Salt Lake secured a place in the 2021 Audi MLS Cup Playoffs Western Conference Final next weekend at Portland with a dramatic come-from-behind 2-1 victory at Sporting Kansas City, with yet another last-minute goal from these Claret-and-Cobalt road warriors.
Second-half RSL substitutes Anderson Julio and Bobby Wood each scored in the second half to lift the team to victory, RSL now amassing 20 of its 57 goals this season after the 75th-minute.
Unlike Tuesday's match at Seattle, RSL came out as the aggressors, earning a majority of the possession and shots through the first 20 minutes, before an unfortunate tackle inside the box by Aaron Herrera saw Sporting Kansas City take the lead in the 24th minute off a penalty kick from Johnny Russell. Just prior to the PK, RSL had their best chance at goal, but a breaking Rubio Rubin caught a shove in the back and the ball bounced out the backline. For the remainder of the half the two sides traded opportunities, but neither was able to put one on frame, thus ending the first half 1-0 in Sporting KC's favor.
RSL nearly found the equalizer in the 66th minute when second-half substitute Justin Meram drove towards the endline, before cutting back for a pass to Damir Kreilach. Sporting Goalkeeper Tim Melia was able to save Kreilach's initial shot, but bobbled the ball, leaving space for Julio with an attempt to clean it up, but Melia was able to jump on top of it and end RSL's chance. Just a few minutes later, RSL finally found the equalizer when the team's second-half super substitute, Julio, found the end of a cross from Andrew Brody to level things at 1-1 in the 72nd minute.
In the dying moments of the match, Meram made a long run down the left side of the pitch that ended with a low cross into the box to Wood who was making a run toward the near post. Wood redirected the pass with a flick into the bottom-right corner of the far post to complete the comeback a minute into added time and send Real Salt Lake to the Western Conference Finals at Portland's Providence Park with a 2-1 victory.
UP NEXT: RSL will head to Providence Park to face the Portland Timbers in the Western Conference Final for a berth to the Audi 2021 MLS Cup. RSL playmaker and Captain Albert Rusnák - who missed just 15 minutes of the Club's 34-game regular-season and was RSL's first player in 17 years to surpass 3,000 minutes in a season, returns to the fold for the upcoming match at Portland, after missing this week's Seattle and Kansas City trips due to health and safety protocols.
GOAL SCORING RUNDOWN:
SKC: Johnny Russell (PK) 24th minute: After being awarded a penalty kick for a foul by Aaron Herrera, Russell stepped up the the spot and tucked his shot into the right side of goal, opposite of a diving David Ochoa.
RSL: Anderson Julio (Andrew Brody) 72nd minute: Brody collected a header from Bobby Wood before sending his cross in towards the middle of the box where Julio was able to run in, jumping up to push the ball over and through the hands of goalkeeper Tim Melia.
RSL: Bobby Wood (Justin Meram) 90'+1' minute: Following a long run by Meram down the left side of the pitch, the forward beat multiple defenders before sending a low cross into the six-yard box toward Wood, who redirected the pass with a flick into the far post.
- RSL playmaker and Captain Albert Rusnák - who missed just 15 minutes of the Club's 34-game regular-season and was RSL's first player in 17 years to surpass 3,000 minutes in a season - returns to the fold for the upcoming match at Portland, after missing this week's Seattle and Kansas City trips due to health and safety protocols.
- Including the last two regular season road matches, RSL has been undefeated on the road for the last four matches. The 24th-minute penalty conceded was RSL's lone goal allowed in the last 345 minutes, while the Russell score broke RSL's 187-minute shutout streak against KC, en route to a three-game sweep of rival Sporting during the 2021 campaign.
Match: Real Salt Lake vs. Sporting Kansas City
Date: November 28, 2021
Venue: Children's Mercy Park; Kansas City, Kansas
Weather: Clear and 50 degrees
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
Real Salt Lake 0 2 2
Sporting Kansas City 1 0 1
SKC: Johnny Russell (PK) 24'
RSL: Anderson Julio (Andrew Brody) 72'
RSL: Bobby Wood (Justin Meram) 90'+1'
Real Salt Lake (4-2-3-1): David Ochoa; Aaron Herrera, Justen Glad, Marcelo Silva, Andrew Brody; Everton Luiz, Pablo Ruiz, Jonathan Menendez (Anderson Julio 57'), Damir Kreilach, Maikel Chang (Justin Meram 57'); Rubio Rubin (Bobby Wood 71')
Subs not used: Zac MacMath, Ashton Morgan, Donny Toia, Nick Besler, Erik Holt, Toni Datkovic
Sporting Kansas City (4-3-3): Tim Melia; Andreu Fontas, Graham Zusi, Nicolas Isimat-Mirin, Remi Walter, Ilie Sanchez, Gadi Kinda (Roger Espinoza 70'), Alan Pulido (Khiry Shelton 73'), Daniel Salloi, Johnny Russell
Subs not used: Roberto Puncec, John Pulskamp, Amadou Dia, Cameron Duke, Wilson Harris, Grayson Barber, Jose Mauri
Stats Summary: SKC / RSL
Shots: 5 / 11
Shots on Goal: 2 / 5
Saves: 3 / 1
Corner Kicks: 4 / 5
Fouls: 18 / 14
RSL: Everton Luiz (caution) 49'
Referee: Kevin Stott
Assistant Referees: Logan Brown, Chris Elliot
4th Official: Victor Rivas
VAR: Tim Ford
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Major League Soccer Stories from November 28, 2021
- Nashville Soccer Club Falls in the Eastern Conference Semifinals of the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs - Nashville SC
- Union advance to Eastern Conference Finals of Audi 2021 MLS Cup Playoffs - Philadelphia Union
- Timbers Host Western Conference Final against Real Salt Lake on Saturday, December 4 at Providence Park - Portland Timbers
- Real Salt Lake Advance to Western Conference Final with 2-1 Win at Sporting Kansas City - Real Salt Lake
- Sporting KC Suffers Season-Ending Loss to RSL - Sporting Kansas City
- Keys to the Match: Believe - New York City FC
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