Monday, July 16, 2018

Real Salt Lake extended its unbeaten start to the 2014 season with 5-2 away win

May 11, 2014 by  
Filed under MLS

Real Salt Lake (5-0-5, 20 points, West #2) extended its unbeaten start to the 2014 season in style on Sunday night, getting a hat trick from MF Javier Morales, goals from FW Alvaro Saborio and MF Luke Mulholland and a penalty kick save from GK Nick Rimando to top Houston Dynamo (4-5-2, 14 points, East #4) 5-2 at BBVA Compass Stadium. The win was RSL’s first ever at Houston, and moved the Claret-and-Cobalt into tie for first in MLS with 2.00 points per game through its first 10 matches.
Morales scored the fastest goal in RSL history to put the Claret-and-Cobalt up 1-0 just 15 seconds in. It was a wonderful goal for the Argentine playmaker, who collected a pass from Saborio on the right side before majestically chipping a 20-yard shot over Houston GK Tally Hall and inside the far post. The strike was the fourth quickest goal in MLS history.

RSL nearly made it 2-0 in the third minute. RSL pushed away a Houston attack and quickly launched a counter, with Morales finding Saborio on a breakaway to set the Costa Rican international up for a 1-v-1 with Hall. Unfortunately for RSL, Saborio couldn’t take advantage of the opportunity, hitting his left-footed effort meekly at the onrushing Hall, who parried it away.

Houston had a decent look in the ninth minute, when DF Kofi Sarkodie clipped a cross from the right wing to FW Mark Sherrod at the back post. The rookie striker got on the ball eight yards out, but sent his header just wide of the left post.

Morales doubled RSL’s advantage in the 17th minute. FW Joao Plata curled a corner in from the right side, with MF Ned Grabavoy heading toward goal from the top of the box. Morales slipped free from Houston MF Andrew Driver just inside the six, redirecting Grabavoy’s header up and over Hall to make it 2-0.

Sherrod pulled one back for Houston in the 22nd minute. Set-piece specialist MF Brad Davis whipped a corner in from the left side, with Sherrod rising over the pack to flick a header home inside the far post from the top of the six-yard box.

Houston was dealt a big blow in the 27th minute, when Referee Allen Chapman showed Dynamo MF Servando Carrasco a straight red card for a heavy, two-footed challenge deep in RSL’s half on Morales.

RSL quickly capitalized on its man advantage, with Saborio restoring the Claret-and-Cobalt’s two-goal lead in the 32nd minute. RSL built up to the goal nicely, with MF Luke Mulholland collecting a DF Tony Beltran pass on the right wing and curling a gorgeous cross into the middle that Saborio ran onto at the near post and flicked home inside the far bar for his sixth goal of the season.

Rimando came up huge for the Claret-and-Cobalt in the 36th minute, saving Houston MF Giles Barnes’ penalty kick to keep RSL up 3-1. RSL DF Aaron Maund was whistled for the PK in the 35th minute, when Chapman called the third-year center back for a foul in the box on Houston DF David Horst during a Dynamo corner kick. As he’s so often done in his outstanding career, Rimando bailed RSL out, stopping the 21st PK of his career by correctly diving to his right and blocking Barnes’ shot.

RSL Head Coach Jeff Cassar was forced to make a change at halftime, bringing DF Abdoulie Mansally on for DF Chris Wingert, who suffered an apparent head injury late in the first half.

Despite the man advantage, Real Salt Lake started the second half on the back foot, looking sluggish in the Houston heat and letting the Dynamo pull within one in the 56th minute. Sherrod again had the goal, collecting in the left side of the area following a sliding challenge from Barnes, cutting into the middle and slamming a low right-footer inside the near post from 12 yards out.

RSL had a chance against the run of play in the 62nd minute, with Grabavoy running onto a Plata through ball in the right side of the area and slamming a shot on frame that Hall parried away nicely with a diving save.

Houston had a pair of chances in the 66th and 72nd minutes. Sherrod had the first look, collecting a cross at the left post that leaked through the area before half-volleying over the top from six yards. MF Boniek Garcia had the second chance, hitting substitute FW Omar Cummings’ cross just wide of the right post from inside the penalty spot.

RSL finally found its footing after Garcia’s near miss, possessing the ball in spades and nearly adding a fourth goal in the 75th minute. Morales found Mulholland just outside the area on the right side with a fine diagonal ball, with the Englishman controlling and firing a shot that Hall smartly blocked at the near post.

Mulholland got the best of Hall three minutes later, finishing from a very acute angle to ice the game for RSL. Morales assisted on the goal, collecting a nice ball from Beltran in Houston’s final third, turning and slipping Mulholland into the right side of the area. Mulholland rounded the onrushing Hall, advancing deep into the box before side-footing a shot from a tough angle past the near post and into the back of the net to put RSL up 4-2.

RSL kept pressing after Mulholland’s goal, nearly scoring in the 81st and 83rd minutes before Morales eventually completed his hat trick in the 89th. Sandoval made the goal, earning a penalty kick when Hall dragged him down by the leg after Sandoval picked up a rebound just four yards from goal. Morales made no mistake with the spot kick, rolling it into the left side of the net to register his first hat trick for the Claret-and-Cobalt and just the fifth hat trick in club history.

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