By DAN KARELL
Ned Grabavoy proved to be the unlikely hero for Real Salt Lake on Sunday night.
The 30-year-old midfielder scored two goals, his first finishes since October 16, 2010, to lead RSL to a 4-1 rout over Chivas USA at the Home Depot Center.
In between Grabavoy’s strikes were goals from RSL midfielder Joao Plata and forward Robbie Findley, while Chivas USA midfielder Jorge Villafaña scored for the Goats.
It was the perfect start for RSL as Grabavoy fired home in the fourth minute to give the visitors an early lead. A turnover at one end of the field was converted on the counter-attack to precision, though a poor angle taken by Chivas USA defender Bobby Burling to the ball helped Grabavoy evade the defender.
RSL doubled their lead three minutes after halftime, when Plata beat the offside trap and raced onto a header forward by teammate Kyle Beckerman, finishing past the on-rushing Chivas USA goalkeeper Dan Kennedy.
Chivas hit one back in the 55th minute, as a cross from midfielder Edgar Mejia found the head of the former El Sueño winner Villafaña, sending a looping header into the back of the net. The turning point of the match may have come just two minutes later, as RSL goalkeeper Nick Rimando denied Jose Correa in the box from tying the match.
RSL added their third when Findley, on his way back from a knee injury, scored from close range as Chivas fell asleep on defense again in the 78th minute. Grabavoy put the match to bed in the first minute of 90th minute stoppage time, finishing between Kennedy’s legs and into an open net to bring three points back to Utah.
Here are the match highlights (after the jump):