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Recap: Saborio powers RSL past Revs in testy affair

SANDY, Utah — If you give Alvaro Saborio chances to score, he’ll make you pay.

Two goals from five shots by the Costa Rican striker led Real Salt Lake to a 2-1 comeback victory over the New England Revolution at Rio Tinto Stadium on Saturday night.

The game was an open affair, particularly, the second half, which was punctuated by two red cards and a flurry of chances and highlight-reel saves from both goalkeepers, RSL’s Nick Rimando and the Revs’ Matt Reis.

WATCH: Full Match Highlights

The win pulls RSL into a tie with the San Jose Earthquakes atop the Western Conference. New England fall for the fourth time in five matches, falling further in the Eastern Conference standings.

LINEUPS AND BOX SCORE

RSL should’ve opened the scoring when Fabian Espindola broke in alone on goal. Instead, he was blanked by Reis, and the Revs took some confidence from the play. They soon got on the board.

Blake Brettshneider, making only his second start of the season, took off on a counter attack down the left side. RSL had numbers back, but the young Brettschneider — starting in place of the ill Saer Sene — cut toward the middle and sent a curling laser into the far side netting.

In the 33rd minute, Saborio got Real Salt Lake level. Kyle Beckerman’s partially deflected cross bounced around in the middle, finally ricocheting off Saborio’s chest. It fell nicely to his feet, and he struck it low and hard before Reis could react.

In the 55th minute, Saborio completed the comeback with his second goal of the game, the fourth of the season. This time, he didn’t need any deflections. Javier Morales’s free kick found the Costa Rican somehow unmarked on the back post, and he headed it home with the least difficulty.

However, the game changed drastically just a few minutes later when Will Johnson was shown a red card. The midfielder took a heavy touch and chased the ball to recover it, lunging into a challenge studs up on New England’s Clyde Simms. At first, it seemed like Johnson would escape with a yellow card, but after conferring with his assistant, referee David Gantar issued the ejection.

Up a man, New England chased the equalizer, forcing two brilliant saves from Rimando. The first, in the 71st minute, came from a strike by substitute Fernando Cardenas at the top of the area. The second came on the resulting corner kick, as Rimando pushed Brettschneider’s header up and over the bar.

OPTA CHALKBOARD: Break down the RSL comeback

In the 80th minute, the referee evened the numbers. He issues a red card to Cardenas for a seemingly benign foul when the young Colombian clipped RSL’s Jamison Olave while challenging for a bouncing ball.

The last 10 minutes were frantic on both ends as the visitors searched desperately for an equalizer and RSL countered. NE’s Benny Feilhaber nearly got on the end of a cross from Sene — who came on in the 66th minute — but Rimando smothered the chance. Then Saborio went in alone only to be stopped by Reis.

In the end, completing the hat trick wasn’t necessary for Saborio or RSL.

Salt Lake next travel to Chicago this Wednesday. The Revolution host Vancouver next Saturday.

MLSsoccer.com Men of the Match

Rank Player What We Saw
1 Alvaro Saborio (RSL) He did exactly what he’s paid to do: score goals. These two were clinically finished.
2 Nick Rimando (RSL) Three vital saves in the second half preserved the three points.
3 Blake Brettschneider (NE) A world-class goal and brilliant header attempt augmented strong targetman play.