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RSL downs Revs to take Supporters Shield lead

By IAN HOLLIDAY

Good teams find a way to win, even when they're not at their best.

Real Salt Lake did just that on Saturday, winning a game it could have easily lost, and setting itself up for a strong chance at winning the MLS Supporters Shield.

The visitors were out-shot 20-6 and struggled to maintain possession for much of the game, but RSL still walked away from Gillette Stadium with a 2-1 win over the New England Revolution Saturday night. Nat Borchers and Alvaro Saborio scored second half goals to put their team in the lead in the race for the MLS Supporters Shield.

The win moves RSL to 14-4-9 for a league-best 51 points, one better than the Los Angeles Galaxy, who play Chivas USA Sunday night. For the Revs, who were already eliminated from playoff contention before the start of the match, the loss was the third in a string of disappointing results in hard-fought games against the league's top teams.

After a first half largely controlled by the Revolution, Real Salt Lake improved significantly at the start of the second half, eventually taking the lead in the 68th minute through Borchers' header off of a Javier Morales free kick. The defender got behind his marker and flicked the ball over Revolution goalkeeper Matt Reis and into the back of the net.

The goal brought the Revolution to life. They earned corner after corner and created several scoring opportunities. Marko Perovic had a chance to equalize for the Revs just three minutes after the RSL goal, but the Serbian's free kick was caught by a diving Nick Rimando.

New England's effort paid off in the 82nd minute when Perovic and second-half sub Kheli Dube sprang Sainey Nyassi in the RSL box. The Gambian's shot was initially saved by Rimando, but the rebound looped behind the RSL keeper and trickled over the goal line.

The Revs joy was short-lived, however, as Real Salt Lake took the lead again just two minutes later when Alvaro Saborio headed home his 10th goal of the season off of a corner kick.

RSL head coach Jason Kreis praised his players' resilience, both for shaking off their poor first half and for responding to the late equalizer.

"They reacted fantastically well to playing on Tuesday in what was a very emotional match, and tonight – to allow the goal late, they responded great to that too," Kreis said.

The Revolution controlled possession for most of the first half, but couldn't find a breakthrough and only managed a few real chances.

Ilija Stolica nearly put the Revs ahead in spectacular fashion in the 22nd minute. The Serbian did well to hold up a Chris Tierney free kick deep in the RSL box and sent an overhead, not-quite-bicycle kick just wide of the far post.

The Revs best chance of the half came in the 27th minute when Sainey Nyassi hit the RSL crossbar. The Gambian ran onto a nicely weighted ball from Stolica and ripped a shot that beat Rimando, but couldn't stay under the bar.

"Salt Lake’s a good team, but I thought we were better than them tonight," said Revolution head coach Steve Nicol of his team's performance. "Just in that final third, we didn’t quite produce that extra bit of whatever to take advantage of the changes we had."

Fabian Espindola was the best offensive player for Salt Lake in the first half, making several good runs and creating a few good shots. Espindola thought he should have had a penalty in the 13th minute when he was one-on-one with Emmanuel Osei in the Revolution box. The Argentine went down, but referee Ricardo Salazar declined to call the foul.

Both teams have road matches next week as Salt Lake visits the New York Red Bulls Saturday afternoon and the Revs travel to Houston on Sunday.

Here are the highlights from the match:

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What did you think of the match? Think RSL are favorites to win the Supporters Shield? Surprised at the lack of finishing from New England?

Comments

  1. The game against RBNY will be better considering they have this whole week to rest with no CCL games in between. I’m surprised there haven’t been more injuries outside of Schuler breaking his foot.

    Reply
  2. What was not said in the article, and what was obvious to anyone who watches RSL on a regular basis, is that they were bone tired from playing their 14 match in 51 days. It showed in their passing, where they were uncharacteristically sloppy, but which is a result of tired legs. They played purely on heart and pulled out a victory.

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  3. Resilient Salt Lake. Great win and one that they should win against the struggling Revs. Of course that doesn’t take into account the fact that RSL is serious about being first MLS team to win the CCL trophy and therefore having to dig deep into their squad for fresh players.

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  4. Thought we’d lose, then win, then tie, then finally win with SaborĂ­o’s header. Rev’s were terrifying for most of the game, but Good defense and somewhat lucky offense pays off.

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  5. I have to agree with what Nichols said. The Revs looked the better team all night. They kept possession well and they kept RSL’s midfield from dominating the match. All RSL could do was boot the ball over the midfield to Saborio to hold it up or send a long ball down the side to Espindola (Findley). You very rarely heard Morales named called through out the match. Good game plan by the Revs.

    Borchers is the man!!!

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