SANDY, Utah — New-look Toronto FC may have enjoyed a dream first two games this season, but Real Salt Lake gave them a nightmare of a third.
RSL handed TFC their first loss of the season on Saturday, claiming an emphatic 3-0 victory at Rio Tinto Stadium. Alvario Saborio led the way in the triumph with a brace that included an early penalty kick, and so too did an impressive Javier Morales. Luis Gil scored the other goal for the hosts.
The result kept RSL undefeated at 2-0-2 under first-year head coach Jeff Cassar while dropping TFC to 2-1 and giving the star-studded Reds a hard lesson.
Saborio's first goal came when referee Baldomero Toledo pointed to the spot in the 10th minute after Toronto defender Doneil Henry gave him little choice. Just inside the 18, Henry was anything but subtle as he spun Saborio around and flung him to the turf.
Saborio took the PK himself and made it look easy. As TFC goalkeeper Julio Cesar dove to his right, Sabrio gently but firmly placed his shot in the opposite direction to put RSL up 1-0. The goal improved the Costa Rican's efficiency on PKs to 92.3 percent, as he's now 12 for 13.
Gil then added the second in the 28th minute. Saborio dummied a ball that made its way to defender Chris Wingert's, whose shot rebounded and fell at Gil's feet. The 20-year-old midfielder then took a shot that was deflected before beating Cesar.
In the stands watching Gil's first goal since Aug. 30 of last year was US national team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann, who was high-fived by RSL owner Dell Loy Hansen after the goal.
TFC fell further behind in the 55th minute. Morales popped the ball up over the defenders and inside the 18, where Saborio latched onto the pass and flicked it off the inside of the right post to put his RSL up 3-0.
The Claret-and-Cobalt continued to control much of the run of play for the remainder of the game. But the home team also had to stave off a number of TFC attacks, and Nick Rimando got some help from the post on a shot by Michael Bradley to preserve his 110th career shutout — two short of the all-time MLS record held by the retired Kevin Hartman.
Toronto forward Jermain Defoe, who had buried all three of his team's goals as they got off to a 2-0 start, was held scoreless in the match. Not that he didn't have chances, but Salt Lake's defenders repeatedly played him off the ball until he was subbed out — heading straight to the locker room with a member of the training staff — for Dwayne De Rosario in the 61st minute.
Real Salt Lake's next game will see them take on Sporting Kansas City on Saturday for a rematch of December's MLS Cup final. TFC, meanwhile, continue their road trip with a Saturday match at Columbus.
MLSsoccer.com Men of the Match
|Rank||Player||What We Saw|
|1||Javier Morales||Didn't find the back of the net, but helped RSL's midfield dominate that of TFC. Had a magnificent assist to highlight his impressive performance.|
|2||Alvaro Saborio||Set the tone for the win by drawing and converting an early PK. Also netted on a well-taken effort in the second half to cap the scoring.|
|3||Kyle Beckerman||Was a big part of the reason why Real Salt Lake dominated the match for large stretches, snuffing out several TFC attacks and quickly moving the ball forward.|