SANDY, Utah — Real Salt Lake have just one blemish on their home record this season; however, no one would say the results have come easy.
Saturday night’s wild 2-1 win over the New England Revolution comes a week after a last-gasp 3-2 victory over Toronto FC last week.
“The last two matches here have been helter skelter and hectic, but at the end of it all, we got the points we wanted,” head coach Jason Kreis said after the New England match.
The latest match was less a match than a roller coaster for his squad. New England took the lead with a goal by Blake Brettschneider against the run of play in the 22nd minute. Alvaro Saborio then equalized 11 minutes later with the first of his two goals on the evening. The second came — the eventual match winner — came in the 55th minute.
WATCH: Full Match Highlights
But the game was far from over at that point.
Will Johnson was judged to have come into a sliding tackle studs up that earned him a sending off in the 59th minute, and that changed the complexion of the match.
“The first red card, we were a goal up fortunately, and so it just puts us into a shell where we’ve got to defend, and we know we’ve got to defend hard, and work extremely hard,” explained Kreis
Kreis subbed out striker Fabian Espindola for midfielder Johny Steele as a response to the man-down situation.
But Steele didn’t make the difference. Nick Rimando did. His heroics in the RSL goal, particularly in the second half, kept New England from stealing points on the night. Two one-handed deflections with roughly 10 minutes to go were world class and life-saving, while at the other end, New England’s Matt Reis was equally impressive on several point-blank chances.
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“They were both special, special players in the match tonight,” Kreis said of the two goalkeepers. “For me, Nick got us the three points. Without him in goal we probably would be walking away with one.”
Having a world-class goalkeeper is one way to ensure that frenzied games end up in the win column. Good thing then, because the frequency of nail-biters seems higher this season for RSL. The reason for that is not easy to pinpoint.
“If I knew the answer, I’d probably be a genius, and we wouldn’t get scored on,” said midfielder Kyle Beckerman. “I think the best thing about it is that we’re going a goal down, or we’re getting the leads taken away, but we don’t stop believing. Tonight we went down a goal, but there wasn’t any doubt in our mind that we were going to win this game.”.