RSL keeps Supporters Shield hopes alive with win vs. Chivas USA

PlataVsPortland

by TYLER GRAY

SANDY, Utah - Real Salt Lake have done their part, beating Chivas 2-1 at home on Wednesday night. Joao Plata and Alvaro Saborio both had a goal each.

Now, RSL will play the waiting game.

With an outside chance at the Supporter’s Shield and playing against a decidedly atrocious Chivas USA side at home, Real Salt Lake should have come out buzzing, but it was the visitors who had the first big chance of the night.

Eric Avila got in behind RSL’s defense and sent a ball into the box to a wide-open Erick Torres who headed the ball at goal. Nick Rimando again showed why he is a leading candidate for goalkeeper of the year as he punched the ball away. It fell to Carlos Alvarez but his follow-up attempt was deflected out for the corner.

RSL generated a couple of solid chances throughout the first half but Chivas USA goalkeeper Tim Melia was up to the task, logging two key saves to keep the home crowd quiet.

“Give them credit”, midfielder Kyle Beckerman said. “They had a lot going against them and not much to play for but jobs and stuff. To make it difficult for us, you know, credit to them. We had to kind of keep at it, keep grinding and we were able to get the goals that we needed.”

Kreis immediately substituted Javier Morales in to start the second half and the claret-and-cobalt looked like a completely different team.

“I think Javier did a great job tonight,” RSL defender Nat Borchers said. “He’s coming off an injury. He needed some rest and he got that. He came back and was sharp. He created a lot of chances for us tonight and that was really the difference in the game.”

RSL didn’t have to wait long to strike in the second half.

In the 48th minute, Morales received the ball at the top of the box and played it into Joao Plata, who attempted to send a pass through but was stopped when Chivas USA defender Mario de Luna put his arm out. Referee Silviu Petrescu pointed to the spot and Alvaro Saborio stepped up.

The Costa Rican calmly approached the ball, got Melia to guess wrong, and blasted the ball into the back of the net.

Just minutes later, in the 52nd minute, Plata doubled the advantage after his initial pass to Morales bounced right back to him, the Ecuadorian decided to have a go himself. He curled a shot from distance, beating Melia to make it 2-0.

Chivas USA made things interesting in the 77th minute when they were able to pull a goal back.

Carlo Chueca lofted a beautiful pass over the top of RSL’s defense, beating the offside trap and finding Julio Morales who was all alone in front of Rimando. The substitute poked the ball past the RSL goalkeeper and into the net to slice the lead in half.

Despite having nothing to play for, Chivas USA played hard to finish out the match and certainly made more than a few of the 20,447 in attendance nervous.

In the end, however, RSL held strong and put the pressure on the rest of the contenders as they wait to see if they will win their first hardware since 2009.

“We gave away the cheap goal, which I think, in the end, may be a good thing,” Kreis said. “It may be a good thing that we have to spend the last 15 minutes really struggling and grinding out a result because that’s exactly what it’s going to take in the playoffs.”

Now ball is in the collective courts of the Portland Timbers, New York Red Bulls and Sporting Kansas City. RSL did what they could and will have to wait and see if a Supporter’s Shield is in their future. At the very least, RSL has secured the number two seed in the west, avoiding a wildcard matchup and buying themselves some valuable rest.

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8 Responses to RSL keeps Supporters Shield hopes alive with win vs. Chivas USA

  1. Vinz Clortho says:

    I feel (a little) for the Goats. The PK was soft. Had a similar call been made against RSL I would have been pissed. Nice to see a goal from open play though….

    Calling upon all goblins and spirits to plague the 3 other SS contenders……

    • Soccer Lee says:

      Calling upon all goblins and spirits to plague the 3 other SS contenders……
      +1 or 10

      It could happen

  2. RB says:

    “not much to play for but jobs and stuff”

    smh

  3. TD says:

    Second sentence says Plata scored both goals. Saborio scored the first, the PK. I was there. No big deal ;-P

  4. Chris says:

    Petrescu was disgracefully poor – waved off a handball in Chivas’ box, let Melia fly into a studs-up challenge and wipe out an RSL attacker in the box with no repercussions (should’ve been a red), and allowed a Chivas defender to hack down Javi from behind while he was making a run at goal just outside the 6 (also could’ve been a red)…that’s 3 MORE PKs that should’ve been given to RSL.

    He also called a foul in RSL’s favor that should have been against us around midfield late in the game when Grabavoy flew into a challenge for a ball in the air, and another earlier just outside RSL’s box when an RSL player should’ve been called for taking down a Chivas player in a scramble for the ball.

  5. CMoss says:

    I think the PK was merited. Arm wasn’t completely into his body. I still think RSL is too predictable, which is why we struggle to score late in the year, teams just need to put 10 guys behind the ball and we will beat ourselves. Hopefully I am wrong come playoff time. But that seems to be the winning formula to beat RSL, bunker bunker bunker.