MLS Match Recap: Real Salt Lake 2, Seattle Sounders 1

SANDY, Utah — Real Salt Lake finally got a goal from somebody other than Álvaro Saborío as Robbie Findley and Luis Gil hit the back of the net to beat the still winless Seattle Sounders 2-1 on Saturday night at Rio Tinto Stadium.

Findley sniffed out two good chances early, and made good on the second after being stoned by Seattle ‘keeper Michael Gspurning on the first. The World Cup veteran pounced on a failed Sounders clearance, then eventually bundled the ball home to put the home side up inside 10 minutes.

It ended Seattle’s 408-minute shutout streak against RSL, and it was the first goal of 2013 by anyone other than Saborío, who missed the match after double-duty with Costa Rica last weekend.

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RSL were soon on the hunt for another, but Gspurning, who put in a Man of the Match performance in defeat, repeatedly stoned RSL attacks from all angles. That included a spectacular triple stop in the 34th minute, and a breakaway stuff of Joao Plata – who came on for an injured Findley in the 14th minute.

It looked like Gspurning would drag the listless Sounders into halftime down just a goal, but the RSL lead doubled in the 35th minute thanks to a set piece straight from training. Ned Grabavoy, positioned along the endline, flicked a Sebastian Velasquez corner back across the area for Luis Gil to finish with a acrobatic diving header and the 2-0 lead.

The Sounders finally came into the game somewhat in the second half, with right back DeAndre Yedlin pushing up higher and the attacking combination of Obafemi Martins and Eddie Johnson both stretching the RSL backline. On the other side of the field, rookie Devon Sandoval proved a handful for the Seattle defense, holding up the ball well and providing countless opportunities for his fellow attackers.

Plata, in particular, should have benefitted as Sandoval slipped him through on 55 minutes, yet Gspurning was there once again.

That let Seattle close the gap in the 57th minute. Yedlin’s deep cross was flicked into the path of Brad Evans by Mauro Rosales, and Evans’ left-footed shot nicked off of Tony Beltran before nestling inside the right post. It was only the second goal of the season for the Sounders.

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They didn't find a third, and suffered injury to insult when Johnson came off, apparently having suffered a slight injury, in the 77th minute. With neither him nor Martins – who also came off with just less than a half-hour left – Seattle never seriously threatened for the equalizer.

RSL, who move to 2-2-1 (7 points) are back in action next weekend when they head to Colorado for the second leg of the Rocky Mountain Cup. Seattle fall to 0-3-1 (1 point) and will next face Mexican powerhouse Santos Laguna on Tuesday in the first leg of the CONCACAF Champions League semifinals.

MLSsoccer.com Men of the Match

Rank Player What We Saw
1 Michael Gspurning Gspurning was beyond excellent in this one, and deserved at least a point for his heroics.
2 Luis Gil The best field player on the pitch in his time, he's looking more and more comfortable at the heart of everything RSL does.
3 Devon Sandoval Is this the man who can lift the burden from Saborio? He looked like it on the night, creating so many chances for his teammates.