Real Salt Lake 2, Sporting Kansas City 0 | 2019 MLS Match Recap
Real Salt Lake snapped a three-match winless streak, and got to do it against one of their most implacable rivals, beating Sporting Kansas City 2-0 before a home crowd at Rio Tinto Stadium on Saturday night.
The first half belonged to Sam Johnson, starting with him winning the match's first corner kick in the fifteenth minute. He scored on the resulting set piece, a nice team goal that involved Damir Kreilach crossing to Kyle Beckerman, who headed to the far post where Johnson finished. Johnson's second goal, in the 29th minute, was also a team goal of sorts — on an SKC turnover in RSL's, Albert Rusnak led a break and crossed to Kreilach, who got a foot to the ball before a converging Johnson swooped in and finished.
Both teams tried valiantly — without success — to add to the tally in the second half, including making strategic subs that didn't quite pan out. Yohan Croizet started the second half, surprisingly spelling Nemeth. Brooks Lennon, who came in for a lively Sebastian Saucedo, had a point-blank shot blocked by Tim Melia and was then whistled for a handball on the rebound. It appeared that Kreilach scored a doubt-erasing goal for RSL in the 85th minute, but it was waved off on VAR review.
- THE BIG PICTURE: RSL, who started the night 8th in the West, but just one point better than 11th-place SKC, opened up a bit of lead on the rest of the missing-the-playoffs pack. They're now just one point behind a flagging, now-in-7th Houston. How weird of a night was it for SKC? They had to sub off an apparently-injured centerback (Botond Barath) at a juncture in the match when they needed to mix it up offensively. They also brought on a final sub (Benny Feilhaber) who entered the match on a yellow card. (He'd "earned" it while warming up on the sidelines, for getting the official's attention and pointing out a potentially-cardable offense by RSL's Donny Toia.)
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: The first goal ended up being the game winner, and for a match in which both teams seemed disjointed for stretches, it was a rare moment of sublime fluidity.
- MAN OF THE MATCH: Clearly, it's Johnson, who is now up to seven goals on the season.