By DAVID GUBALA
A match-up featuring two of the top teams in MLS turned into a card-filled mess that finished with each team playing with ten men and visiting Real Salt Lake walking away from CenturyLink Field with a vital three points.
RSL halted Seattle's eight-match unbeaten streak as Alvaro Saborio delivered a game-winning goal in a 2-1 victory on Saturday.
Saborio marked his eight goal of the campaign in the 56th minute when a perfectly driven cross from Fabian Espindola found the Costa Rican unmarked at the far post. Saborio then pounced another left-footed blast after his initial shot was blocked by Tyson Wahl for the eventual game-winning goal.
Seattle came out with their characteristic blistering start, however it was the visitors that managed to get on the score sheet first. A whipping ball from Fabian Espindola found the turf effect to his benefit and saw his effort bounce right into the net. Kasey Keller mis-handled Espindola's effort and scooped it into the net.
The Sounders looked poised to equalize right away when RSL defender Robbie Russell was whistled for a penalty just three minutes after Espindola's goal. Seattle midfielder Mauro Rosales missed the penalty.
Things did get ugly for both teams late in the first half. A red card was given to RSL's Tony Beltran, who picked up a second yellow after his challenge on Rosales in the 35th minute.
About five minutes prior to Seattle's equalizer, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado was shown a straight red after what proved to be a serious foul in the eyes of referee Mark Kadlecik.
The Sounders managed to break even right before halftime after Mauro Rosales had orchestrated a brilliant give and go play with Fredy Montero. Montero managed to find space in the box and swiftly placed it past Nick Rimando to markhis seventh goal of the season.
The lone goal from Seattle was just not enough against a committed Real SaltLake side. With two games in hand, RSL find themselves ten points away fromSupporters' Shield leading LA Galaxy.
Real Salt Lake will now look forward to Sept. 17 when they take on Sporting KC at Rio Tinto while the Sounders travel to Costa Rica next week to take onHerediano in their CONCACAF Champions League group stage match.