After an embarrassing midweek loss to D.C. United, Real Salt Lake was charged up to face the New England Revolution on Saturday night at Rice-Eccles Stadium.
While RSL played tough against the Eastern Conference leaders, the expansion club still came out on the short end of a 1-0 score. Khano Smith scored an unassisted goal in the 76th minute to give the Revs a road win.
The Revolution, missing Taylor Twellman and Steve Ralston to U.S. national team duty, reached their highest season point point total in team history with their win over RSL in the club's first ever visit to Utah.
Controlling the ball much of the first half, Real got their first real chance in the 21st minute when Robert Scarlett cleaned up a corner that snuck through the box. Scarlett found an open lane to the far post and cracked off a rocket shot. The ball whizzed past Revs 'keeper Matt Reis, but Marshall Leonard came off the back post to out his head on the ball clearing it off the line.
Seven minutes later it was Real again threatening to score. Scarlett played a cross into traffic, where it was cleared by New England. But Andy Williams brought the ball down 25 yards out in the center of the field, found a lane and fired the ball at the far post. The shot appeared to be headed for the back of net, but Reis stretched out and pushed the ball wide.
The play evened out through the remainder of the half. Then, in stoppage time, Jose Cancela found himself with an open path to the goal. He hit a rocket forcing RSL goalkeeper D.J. Countess to make a quick reactionary save. With that the teams headed into half with the game knotted at 0-0.
Real came out tough again in the second half, offering the first scoring chance of the half in the 48th minute. Jason Kreis received a ball between two Revolution defenders and fired a rocket past Reis, but the rising shot hit the cross bar and sailed clear of the goal.
Revolution head coach Steve Nicol brought in midfielder Smith in the 74th minute and his first touch of the game was golden. After being in for only two minutes, Smith out ran Brian Kamler and slotted his shot past Countess into the far netting for his third goal of the year.
From there it was all New England as Real looked to have lost their legs. The Revolution kept the pressure on, but was unable to convert again, settling for the road win.
MLSnet.com Man of the Match: Khano Smith, New England Revolution
David Hale is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.