SANDY, Utah — Just a day after returning from Brazil, Kyle Beckerman and Nick Rimando returned to Real Salt Lake's starting lineup — and RSL returned to its winning ways, beating the New England Revolution 2-1.
The massive cheers that greeted the two as they returned to Rio Tinto Stadium for the first time since mid-May — and the first time since the U.S. Men's National Team was eliminated from the World Cup – were only exceeded by the cheers when Javier Morales and Joao Plata scored to give the home team its first win since May 17.
All three goal came of set pieces, including two penalty kicks by Real. The winner came in the 65th minute after New England midfielder Chris Tierney took out Salt Lake's John Stertzer and referee Allen Chapman pointed to the spot. RSL forward Joao Plata stepped up and put it high and to the right as NE goalkeeper Bobby Shuttlesworth went left.
Throughout the majority of the first half, RSL played the role of Belgium — relentlessly attacking; New England played the role of the USMNT, fending off attack after attack. The Claret-and-Cobalt had 68.5 percent of the possession, much of that on the Revolution's side of the field, with eight shots on goal, four on target.
Shuttleworth had a starring role, making like Tim Howard as he made save after save.
Midfielder Javier Morales went left as Shuttleworth went in the opposite direction, giving the home team a 1-0 — which didn't hold up for long.
Just two minutes later, New England tied the game on a series of events featuring the same players in different roles. Morales was called (and yellow-carded) for a foul.
Chris Tierney's free kick was a thing of beauty, setting Barnes up perfectly for a diving header that made the score 1-1.
Both teams dodged a lot of bullets in the second half. It was bad luck for NE and good luck for RSL in the 53rd minute when Jose Goncalves ripped off a shot that bounced off Rimando's back and dribbled just outside the goalline and out of bounds.
RSL is now 2-1-7 in 10 Independence Day matches, with both wins (and one of the ties) coming against New England. With the win, RSL snapped a five-game MLS winless streak (six games overall) and improved to 7-3-7 (28 points). Next up for the Claret-and-Cobalt — a trip to Carson, Calif., for their third and final meeting with the Los Angeles Galaxy this season.
The Revolution, which lost their fourth consecutive MLS match, fell to 7-7-2 (23 points). They return home on Saturday to face the Chicago Fire.
MLSsoccer.com Men of the Match
|Rank||Player||What We Saw|
|1||Kyle Beckerman||Calmly dominated the midfield, breaking up play after play and seemed to make the right pass every time.|
|2||Javier Morales||Midfielder benefitted from Beckerman's presence, playing confidently as he pushed the RSL attack all night.|
|3||Darrius Barnes||The PK call against him was questionable; put in a solid performance at right back and scored a great goal.|