By TYLER GRAY
SANDY, Utah -Toronto FC arrived at Rio Tinto Stadium with a perfect 2-0 record and a growing reputation as a powerhouse team capable of being a title contender.
Real Salt Lake provided a clear reminder that TFC has a way to go before it can join RSL in the select category of true MLS Cup candidate, overwhelming Toronto FC on their way to a 3-0 victory on Saturday. A brace from RSL forward Alvaro Saborio and another goal from midfielder Luis Gil was more than enough to earn three points in a decidedly one-sided, 3-0 victory.
Saborio highlighted a dominant offensive performance for RSL when he ran on to a ball, chipped it with the outside of his foot and over the left shoulder of Toronto goalkeeper Julio Cesar. The shot glanced off the post and into the net, putting an exclamation point on the veteran forward’s night.
He had already secured his first goal of the match earlier in the game from the penalty spot. It was the Costa Rican himself who drew the PK after Toronto defender, Doneil Henry, pulled him down just inside the box. Saborio calmly stepped to the spot and slotted the ball home, sending the home crowd into a frenzy in just the 11th minute.
RSL head coach Jeff Cassar stressed the importance of getting the early goal and explained that it was an emphasis of the coaching staff’s leading up to the game.
“It was huge,” Cassar said. “It was something that myself and the coaches really stressed to the guys. TFC has never had to come back. They’ve had the lead in all of their games. So we really wanted to see what they would be like if they were under the gun.”
RSL’s offense was much more lively and creative tonight thanks to Saborio’s early goal. It didn’t hurt that U.S. Men’s National Team Coach, Jurgen Klinsmann, was in attendance either.
Midfielder Luis Gil, who was called into the USMNT contributed to the goalfest in the 28th minute, capitalizing on one of the many beautiful passing sequences from the home side when Wingert’s deflected cross made its way to him. Gil put a boot to it and Cesar was unable to save the shot as it bounced over his legs and into the goal.
When asked if Klinsmann’s presence was a contributing factor to his performance, Gil replied that it didn’t cross his mind.
“I didn’t think of it, but it was good just to get a goal in general. It probably wasn’t the prettiest goal but you gotta shoot to score so I’ll take it.”
RSL seemed to relish playing the role of wake up call for a star-studded Toronto FC side that had never trailed in their two previous matches. RSL defender Nat Borchers stressed that it wasn’t so much about taking Toronto down a peg but more about reminding everyone that Salt Lake is still a force to be reckoned with.
“I think there was a lot of hype and a lot of things said in the press, but it’s another game for us and another opportunity to show what a good team we are. I thought we did that tonight.”
Here are the match highlights: