SANDY, Utah — Fans filing into Rio Tinto Stadium on Monday night expected fireworks. What they got was a classic in the annals of MLS games played on July 4.
Fabián Espíndola scored the last of six goals on the night in the 83rd minute to help Real Salt Lake (7-3-6) overcome both an early two-goal deficit and a red card to defender Nat Borchers in a wild 3-3 draw against the visiting New England Revolution (3-8-7).
Sharlie Joseph gave the Revs their second lead of the night in the 63rd minute when he headed home a Benny Feilhaber free kick, but a second yellow card to defender Ryan Cochrane in the 67th minute helped RSL work their way back into the game and somehow overcome both a one-man disadvantage for much of the match and a 2-0 deficit less than 20 minutes after the opening whistle.
Perhaps the biggest play of the match came in the opening minutes, when Borchers was whistled for a controversial breakaway foul on a streaking Feilhaber in the box, and promptly issued a red card for the last-gasp foul. Rajko Lekic put the penalty kick away with ease, and Chris Tierney added a second goal in the 16th minute with a low, hard shot off a free kick that beat goalkeeper Nick Rimando.
RSL responded in the 24th minute, as a free kick from midfielder Andy Williams caromed off the post before Will Johnson coolly tapped in the rebound to cut the lead to 2-1.
The hosts pulled even at 2-2 in the 56th minute, after Revolution defender Kevin Alston was whistled for a handball in the box on an RSL cross. Álvaro Saborío promptly buried the ensuing penalty kick for this third goal in two games.
Then came Joseph’s goal that put the Revs back in front — his fifth this season — but on this night, it wouldn’t hold up. Espíndola’s goal was the best of the bunch, a nifty breakaway finish after a through pass from Saborío and a pin-point pass from defender Jámison Olave that set the play in motion.
RSL remain in fourth place in the Western Conference with a home matchup against FC Dallas on July 9, while New England are now winless in nine games on the road this season and two points off Toronto FC’s pace for last place in the Eastern Conference. The Revs return to action on July 17 at home against Philadelphia.
NE -- Rajko Lekic 3 (penalty kick) 4
NE -- Chris Tierney 2 (unassisted) 16
RSL -- Will Johnson 2 (unassisted) 24
RSL -- Alvaro Saborio 3 (penalty kick) 56
NE -- Shalrie Joseph 5 (Benny Feilhaber 3) 63
RSL -- Fabian Espindola 5 (Alvaro Saborio 1, Jamison Olave 1) 83
RSL -- Nat Borchers (ejection; Denied Goal Scoring Opportunity (Foul)) 3
NE -- Shalrie Joseph (caution; Persistent Infringement) 13
NE -- Ryan Cochrane (caution; Tactical Foul) 23
NE -- Rajko Lekic (caution; Dissent) 55
NE -- Ryan Cochrane (caution; Tactical Foul) 67
NE -- Ryan Cochrane (ejection; Second Caution) 67
RSL -- Kyle Beckerman (caution; Tactical Foul) 85
RSL -- Alvaro Saborio (caution; Delaying a Restart) 93+
New England Revolution -- Matt Reis, Kevin Alston (Didier Domi 86), Ryan Cochrane, A.J. Soares, Darrius Barnes (Kenny Mansally 46), Sainey Nyassi (Zak Boggs 65), Shalrie Joseph, Benny Feilhaber, Pat Phelan, Chris Tierney, Rajko Lekic.
Substitutes Not Used: Franco Coria, Ryan Guy, Zack Schilawski, Bobby Shuttleworth.
Real Salt Lake -- Nick Rimando, Robbie Russell (Kyle Beckerman 46), Jamison Olave, Nat Borchers, Tony Beltran, Andy Williams, Ned Grabavoy, Collen Warner (Chris Schuler 9), Will Johnson, Alvaro Saborio, Luis Gil (Fabian Espindola 63).
Substitutes Not Used: Jean Alexandre, Nelson Gonzalez, Chris Wingert, Kyle Reynish.
Referee: Yader Reyes
Referee's Assistants: Peter Balciunas; Mike Kampmeinert
4th Official: Allen Chapman
Time of Game: 1:56
Weather: Cloudy and 81 degrees