Nick Besler, Sebastian Saucedo and Corey Baird all scored early, Nick Rimando saved yet another penalty kick before the break and Real Salt Lake gave a major boost to its Audi 2018 MLS Cup Playoff hopes with a 4-1 win over the New England Revolution on Thursday night.
Damir Kreilach added a fourth goal early in the second half as RSL moved four points clear of the playoff line and seventh-place LA Galaxy with the victory, keeping control of their own playoff destiny. Kreilach's header was initially ruled offside, then subsequently awarded on a Video Review.
Kelyn Rowe struck a late consolation goal for the New England whose first-half performance was so poor it drew a scathing review in coach Brad Friedel's halftime TV interview. The Revs were playing their second game after being eliminated from postseason contention following D.C. United's 1-0 victory over FC Dallas on Saturday afternoon.
- 4' - RSL - Nick Besler | Watch
- 14' - RSL - Sebastian Saucedo | Watch
- 29' - RSL - Corey Baird | Watch
- 50' - RSL - Damir Kreilach | Watch
- 69' - NE - Kelyn Rowe | Watch
THE BIG PICTURE:
Salt Lake could've still made the playoffs had they dropped points here, but with an away trip to Portland looming on Sunday, this was probably a must-win. If they also win at Providence Park, they'll seal their place and have a nerve-free Decision Day presented by AT&T while watching the MLS' other 22 teams in action.
MOMENT OF THE MATCH:
In a game featuring plenty of goals, it was the one that wasn't scored that stood out. Salt Lake goalkeeper Nick Rimando made an absolutely silly save to deny Teal Bunbury from the penalty spot. MLS penalty takers are now only 56 for 88 against Rimando all time.
MAN OF THE MATCH:
Baird had a part to play on all three first-half goals, setting up the opener with an inch-perfect cross during a sizzling counter attack, and used some filthy footwork to help free Saucedo. After that legwork, his stylish finish to make it 3-0 was truly deserved.