SANDY, Utah - Will Johnson scored a late goal and Real Salt Lake beat nine-man Chivas USA, 1-0, at Rio Tinto Stadium on Saturday. However, RSL lost playmaker Javier Morales to a broken ankle in the process.
Morales was stretchered off following an awkward tackle by Chivas’ Marcos Mondaini in the 38th minute. The referee initially appeared to show a yellow card to Mondaini, but the striker was eventually ejected with a straight red. Morales was rushed to a nearby hospital.
Shortly after the game, RSL announced via Twitter that Morales suffered a fracture-dislocation with ligament tears of his left ankle. Morales will have surgery on Monday and, according to team doctor Andrew Cooper, will be out for a "minimum of four months."
Johnson supplied the go-ahead goal in the 87th minute after RSL had played with a man advantage throughout the entire second half. The score was created by substitute Collen Warner, who put a cross in front of goal that defender Nat Borchers got a foot on. Johnson then blasted it into the net from close range to seal the win.
Chivas USA defender Andrew Boyens was also ejected, receiving his marching orders in the 28th minute after picking up a second yellow card.
RSL had started the game aggressively, but Chivas initially held their shape well. However, in the 15th minute it appeared RSL’s efforts would pay off as Alvaro Saborio chased down a seemingly harmless ball over the top. He managed to beat Boyens for position but was taken down by the defender just outside the penalty area.
Boyens drew his first yellow for the play, despite the home team’s insistence that it was an “imminent scoring threat” and that a red card was deserved.
That would become a moot point ten minutes later when Boyens earned a second yellow — and the accompanying ejection — for again taking Saborio down outside the area.
It appeared that RSL were set to take control of the match with the man advantage. In the 33rd minute goalkeeper Dan Kennedy came way off his line to meet Fabian Espindola before deciding to retreat. Espindola sent a nice cross through the goal mouth that just missed connecting with Saborio.
But in minute 38th disaster struck for RSL. Morales sealed off a defender in the final third and began running toward goal with the ball, but Chivas striker Mondaini made a clumsy two-footed tackle from behind, scything down the RSL playmaker.
Morales was in visible physical pain following the challenge as RSL players surrounded the referee and clashed with Chivas players. When play resumed, Andy Williams subbed in for the home team.
Coming out in the second half, it seemed as though Chivas were set on riding the game out to a 0-0 scoreline. RSL countered by bringing in Arturo Alvarez in favor of defender Robbie Russell.
Though most of the second half was spent in the Chivas end, RSL seemed to be missing their playmaker’s inspiration as they tried to break down their opponent’s compact defensive formation. However, the visitors were able to maintain their shape and absorb the pressure.
As the frustration mounted, it seemed likely that the game would end in a scoreless draw, but RSL finally broke through in the 87th minute allowing them to collect all three points.
RSL -- Will Johnson 1 (Nat Borchers 1) 87
Chivas USA -- Dan Kennedy, Zarek Valentin, Andrew Boyens, Heath Pearce, Ante Jazic, Ben Zemanski, Simon Elliott, Nick LaBrocca, Jorge Flores (Justin Braun 57), Marcos Mondaini, Alejandro Moreno (Mariano Trujillo 72).
Substitutes Not Used: Victor Estupinan, Gerson Mayen, Francisco Mendoza, Michael Umana, Zach Thornton.
Real Salt Lake -- Nick Rimando, Robbie Russell (Arturo Alvarez 54), Jamison Olave, Nat Borchers, Chris Wingert, Ned Grabavoy, Kyle Beckerman, Javier Morales (Andy Williams 44), Will Johnson, Alvaro Saborio, Fabian Espindola (Collen Warner 65).
Substitutes Not Used: Jean Alexandre, Tony Beltran, Chris Schuler, Kyle Reynish.
CHV -- Andrew Boyens (caution; Tactical Foul) 15
CHV -- Andrew Boyens (caution; Tactical Foul) 24
CHV -- Andrew Boyens (ejection; Second Caution) 24
CHV -- Marcos Mondaini (ejection; Serious Foul Play) 37
Referee: Paul Ward
Referee's Assistants: -Anthony Vasoli; Chris Strickland
4th Official: Allen Chapman
Time of Game: 1:54