Real Salt Lake Tops Chivas USA 2-0
SANDY, UTAH (Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2014) - Real Salt Lake (15-8-11, 56 points, West #3) finished the 2014 regular season with a thorough performance against Chivas USA (8-19-6, 30 points, West #8), shutting out its 2005 expansion partner 2-0 in front of a sellout crowd of 20,665 at Rio Tinto Stadium.
FW Alvaro Saborio scored on a first-half penalty and MF Kyle Beckerman added a second-half goal while GK Nick Rimando earned his seventh shutout of the season, extending RSL's shutout streak to three consecutive matches.
FW Joao Plata nearly got RSL out to an early lead in the fifth minute, hitting a first-time shot off a ball from MF Luke Mulholland, but missed high over the crossbar.
In the 12th minute, Chivas GK Dan Kennedy stopped a shot from Saborio, who rose in traffic to get his head on a cross from Plata.
RSL had another near-miss in the 19th minute when Plata found Mulholland for a diving header at the far post, but it missed just off frame and the match remained scoreless.
In the 35th minute, Real Salt Lake was awarded a penalty when Saborio was felled in the box on a free kick from MF Javier Morales, drawing referee Fotis Bozakos to point to the spot.
Saborio drove his penalty hard into the bottom corner of the net to Kennedy's right while the goalkeeper dove left, netting the eighth goal of the season for Saborio in the 36th minute to give RSL the 1-0 lead.
Morales nearly made it 2-0 in the 39th minute when he slotted in a first-time shot off a cross from the right side, but he was flagged offside and the apparent goal was waved off.
The score remained 1-0 until halftime, and RSL outshot Chivas 8-2, with neither effort threatening Rimando.
Early in the second half, Chivas USA MF Marvin Chavez was shown a straight red card when he played the ball into an assistant referee after the whistle, putting RSL up a man for the final 34 minutes.
RSL took advantage in the 74th minute when Beckerman notched his third goal of the season on an assist from Plata. The initial shot from Plata was blocked, but he recovered possession, then played Beckerman in up the left side of the box. Beckerman coolly placed his shot past the oncoming Kennedy for a 2-0 lead.
Salt Lake saw out that lead to close out the regular season with an 11-1-5 home record.
RSL now awaits its postseason fate. The victory sprung RSL into third place in the Western Conference, two points clear of fourth-place FC Dallas. If Dallas loses or draws on Saturday against the Portland Timbers at Toyota Stadium, then RSL will finish in third position and meet the No. 2 team (either the LA Galaxy or Seattle Sounders FC) in the Western Conference Semifinal. If Dallas wins, then RSL will finish fourth and play against either the Timbers or Vancouver Whitecaps FC in the Knockout Round.
Real Salt Lake Match Notes - RSL - CHV
* Tonight's sell-out attendance of 20,665 marked RSL's 15th sell-out in 17 home games this year, and 15th-straight (if including RSL's friendlies against Tijuana and Sacramento Republic FC). Tonight's sell-out marked the club's 46th sell-out across all competitions since Rio Tinto Stadium's 2008 opening.
* With tonight's 2-0 win, RSL became just the second team in MLS history to post five consecutive seasons of 15 wins and 50 points. The other is the LA Galaxy, who reached that feat this season as well.
* Tonight's victory in Sandy was the third and final regular season meeting between Real Salt Lake and Chivas USA. Both previous matches were played at the StubHub Center, with Chivas USA recording 1-0 victories on both occasions. RSL now posts a 13-12-4 all-time regular season record against the Goats.
* With tonight's win, Real Salt Lake finished the 2014 season with an 11-1-5 record at home, tying the club record for most wins at home in a single regular season. The Claret-and-Cobalt finished the year even with the LA Galaxy for the fewest home defeats on the year with one. With two goals scored tonight, Real Salt Lake has now outscored the opposition 33-14 at Rio Tinto Stadium. RSL boasts an 87-17-28 mark in its last 132 home games dating back to the beginning of 2008, the first full season under GM Garth Lagerwey.
* RSL finished the 2014 regular season with a three-game shutout streak and three-game unbeaten streak after posting a 2-0 home win over the San Jose Earthquakes on Oct. 11 and a scoreless road draw with the Portland Timbers on Oct. 17 prior to tonight's win.
* RSL FWs Joao Plata and Alvaro Saborio both earned the start tonight against Chivas, putting them together in the starting lineup for just the third time since Saborio returned from a fractured foot on Sept. 6. Saborio went on to score the opening goal, converting a penalty kick in the 36th minute, for his eighth goal of the year and his sixth career goal against Chivas.
* RSL Captain Kyle Beckerman scored the second goal of the evening to put the Claret-and-Cobalt up 2-0 in the 74th minute. The tally marked Beckerman's third of the year, with Plata earning the assist for his sixth helper of 2014.
* RSL DF Chris Schuler missed his third consecutive match with a fractured sinus suffered in a previous meeting with Chivas USA on Oct. 5.
* Real Salt Lake DF Carlos Salcedo replaced Schuler at center back tonight, his sixth consecutive start for RSL.
* With zero saves on the night, RSL GK Nick Rimando extended his all-time record shutout total to 115 clean sheets.
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