Before the 2018 MLS Rookie of the Year took over, SKC actually got the scoring underway in the 31st minute, as winger Johnny Russell rocketed home a free kick to make it 1-0. From just over 18 yards out, the Scottish winger curled into the top corner and Nick Rimando was late to react.
But then Baird's starring role began in the 38th minute, capitalizing on a second chance from a free kick. The Stanford University product equalized, banging home an Albert Rusnak set piece that rebounded off the post.
Baird made it 2-1 in the 70th minute, finishing off a swift counter attack after being played through by his fellow winger, Jefferson Savarino. Baird collected on his chest, then laced a left-footed volley past Tim Melia.
That was just one moment of frustration for SKC, who missed a penalty kick in the third minute of first-half stoppage time. Felipe Gutierrez stepped up after Russell was yanked down by Donny Toia, but his spot kick slammed off the post and out towards midfield.
Gutierrez thought he earned another penalty-kick attempt in the 75th minute, but Video Review judged that Aaron Herrera’s challenge on the Chilean midfielder was within the laws of the game.
- THE BIG PICTURE: SKC entered the weekend looking to continue their climb up the Western Conference standings, though those efforts were dealt a heavy setback. Playoff hopes are getting increasingly slim for Peter Vermes’ team, plus they’re now 4-5-3 at home in 2019. For RSL, this is their second straight win under assistant coach Freddy Juarez, who’s filling in for the suspended Mike Petke. The Claret-and-Cobalt also swept this regular-season matchup, having won 2-0 at Rio Tinto Stadium back on June 29.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: Daniel Salloi subbed on for the injured Gerso in the 6th minute, surely hoping to positively impact the match. But he did quite the opposite, receiving a late red card that put an exclamation mark on SKC’s frustrating evening and further dented their playoff hopes.
- MAN OF THE MATCH. Corey Baird is the obvious choice here, with his brace giving him three goals on the year. If Baird can get back to his 2018 form that sparked a US men’s national team January camp call-up, then RSL’s attack will have another promising option.