Alan Pulido bagged his first goal of the 2021 season, but Real Salt Lake responded with three unanswered goals — including two from Rubio Rubin — to beat their Sporting Kansas City rivals 3-1 at Rio Tinto Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

The match got off to a relatively quiet start, but then SKC got onto the board in the 17th minute, breaking quickly on a pass intercepted by Luis Martins for a goal involving three attacking players. Khiry Shelton send a cross through the box, which Gianluca Busio smartly dummied, leaving Pulido open with time for the finish.

Even though RSL had a lot of time on the ball in the first half, SKC ran at the host's defense throughout the period. That defense had to make a key change in the 30th minute, when Aaron Herrera was subbed off with a quad injury for homegrown player Andrew Brody. Brody, making his MLS debut, put his stamp on the game within his first five minutes, whipping in a cross that Damir Kreilach headed in for his first goal of the season, to level matters heading into the halftime break.

RSL nearly captured the lead less than two minutes after halftime, with Rubin gathering a Route 1 ball and crossing it to Anderson Julio, but the Week 2 hero went wide with his headed attempt.

Rubin and Julio continued to pressure the SKC defense, and in the 52nd minute, Rubin shot RSL into the lead.

The hosts continued to threaten, but saw efforts from Rubin and Albert Rusnak go wide in the 68th minute to keep SKC in it. Pulido had a 71st-minute attempt that was denied, taking a high boot to the face from Marcelo Silva in the process, but was ruled offside on the potential penalty shout.

Then, in the 77th minute, Rubin got his brace, fending off two defenders on the left flank with some footwork before firing in a shot from near the 18, providing the insurance goal that RSL threatened to put in throughout the half. The visitors simply couldn't answer the remainder of the way.

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Goals

  • 17' — SKC — Alan Pulido | WATCH
  • 35' — RSL — Damir Kreilach | WATCH
  • 52' — RSL —Rubio Rubin | WATCH
  • 77' — RSL —Rubio Rubin | WATCH

Three Things

  • THE BIG PICTURE: RSL, to the surprise of many, are just one of two MLS squads to win their first two matches of the 2021 season. SKC, who looked on the front foot for the first half-hour but fell flat after, suffered their first loss of the season after four points from their opening two games, and move into a thicket of similarly-positioned teams in the West.
  • MOMENT OF THE MATCH: Rubin’s second goal was a great individual play that put the match away, and it also happened to be his last touch on the ball for the match.
  • MAN OF THE MATCH: Clearly, it goes to Rubin, whose should-have-been-an-assist to start the second half signaled RSL’s intent to break the deadlock, and whose brace made that happen.

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