Led by Joao Plata’s first goal of the season, RSL snapped Philly’s club-record four-game winning streak with a 1-0 victory Saturday at Rio Tinto Stadium.
Plata’s 36th-minute goal, which came following some clever RSL passes, held up as both goalkeepers — the Union’s Andre Blake and RSL’s Nick Rimando — made some big saves with Rimando coming up with a last-gasp stop on a Haris Medunjanin free kick in stoppage time to earn the shutout.
Real Salt Lake, who came into the game winless in five of their last six, are now 4-0-6 in 10 all-time meetings with the Union.
On top of their four-game winning streak, the Union’s six-game unbeaten streak also came to an end.
- 36' — RSL — Joao Plata WATCH
A PAIR OF KEEPERS: There’s a reason why Nick Rimando recently became the league’s all-time record-holder in career saves and also why Andre Blake was last year’s MLS Goalkeeper of the Year. These guys are really good — and they both showed it Saturday. Blake finished with seven saves, his best probably a diving reflex stop on Luis Silva in the 21st minute. Rimando only made three saves but all proved critical en route to his first shutout since April 8. He also got one huge assist from defender Aaron Maund.
AARON MAUND WITH THE SAVE!!! pic.twitter.com/S4HzsIoAIK— Real Salt Lake (@RealSaltLake) May 28, 2017
STRIKER BATTLES: All eyes this week had been on DP striker Yura Movsisyan, who has been upset with head coach Mike Petke over his lack of playing time recently. But Petke didn’t change his mind, once again bringing Movsisyan off the bench. And the attack looked good without him as Plata and Luis Silva, especially, peppered Blake with some great scoring chances. Movsisyan, meanwhile, played the final 26 minutes and was active with two shots, including one on target.
A UNION DEBUT: Whether it was because of altitude, a long trip or anything else, many of the Union players who had fueled their four-game winning streak were less dangerous in Utah. The club was also dealing with some injuries in their attack, which led to the MLS debut of rookie winger Marcus Epps, who the Union picked in the second round of this year’s draft. And Epps actually had the ball at his feet in the box late in the game but wasn’t able to get a shot off — a microcosm of Philly’s mostly forgettable night.