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RSL rides PK, stingy defense to home win over Impact

RSLImpact (Getty Images)

Real Salt Lake did not make the same mistake twice.

In the club's first home game since dropping a shock result to Chivas USA, Real Salt Lake took care of business Wednesday night, defeating the expansion Montreal Impact 1-0 at Rio Tinto Stadium.

RSL was awarded an early penalty to jump out to the lead. Jonny Steele's cross after a Kyle Beckerman corner kick was headed by Will Johnson and handled by Salt Lake native and Impact striker Justin Braun, marking the third straight game in which Montreal has conceded a penalty.

Paulo Jr. stepped to the spot and buried the penalty past Donovan Ricketts — who made a couple of top-notch saves to keep Montreal in the game — to account for the game's lone goal and his first in almost a year. 

RSL goalkeeper Nick Rimando and a defensive effort spearheaded by centerbacks Jamison Olave and Chris Schuler took care of the rest, silencing a resilient Impact side that maintained pressure until the final whistle but could not find the equalizer. 

The match wasn't all positive for RSL, which announced afterward that Javier Morales suffered a pulled hamstring and Ned Grabavoy played the end of the match with a broken rib. More information about their statuses going forward is expected later in the day.

Here are the match highlights:


  1. Lesser teams know they can’t match up with RSL’s midfield head to head so they alter their typical formation by adding another midfielder in an attempt to clog the middle and turn the matches into sloppy slugfests.

    We saw it with Chivas. We saw it with Montreal. I expect RSL will see this tactic all year long.

  2. Atmosphere was great last night. Props to Montreal. I think that team is going to be dangerous in the future. If they can continue to gel as a team, they actually try to play possession and work things up to goals, rather than booming it over the midfield hoping their strikers can do something. Solid keeper, some very good, but inconsistent play. This team could prove to be good in the not too distant future.

  3. Despite playing much of the season without three or four important starters RSL is tops in the standing. Again LA squeaked out many wins last year and it wasn’t pretty most of the time but they won.

    You can continue to be unimpressed while RSL will continue to be at or near the top of the standings.

  4. Because they win games and earn points. That is how you win silverware. Oh, and Concacaf. How quickly you forget RSL actually went to the finals. If you saw the Chivas game (I am sure you didn’t), RSL dominated but couldn’t find the net. They deserved to lose but it wasn’t a matter of being outmatched. It was a fluke. The next two matches will prove RSL more fully. Crapids and Sporting. Crapids always try to beat up the team they play and sometimes score more points. Sporting is good and will be a true test. Should be two amazing matches to watch. Who are you more impressed with. IF the answer is SKC, the barely beat a crapid team playing a man up on them. You can say the same thing about nearly every team. Not taking anything away from SKC. They are good and got heart.

  5. Remind me again – why are we so impressed with RSL? Dropped a home game to a horrible NE side and now just squeaked out a home win against the worst team in the league…

  6. I was not impressed with how “physical” Montreal played last night. I was excited for Montreal, and have been rooting for them, but it’s becoming clear that they are trying to pass thuggish play as effort.

    More than that I was disappointed with the ref who seemed content to let them play a Rugby match.

  7. Good point about paolo jr. taking the penalty. RSL will need to be better against rapids this Saturday and expect more sexond teamers to lead the way with morales picking up a new injury and the always stellar Grabavoy out for sometime. The team needs to win with the backups. Velasquez needs to keep proving himself and Johnny Steele has made things happen in two games in a row.

    Lay nights win was more like LA of last year. Kreis wants better and the team has the depth to get it done against the Crapids.

    BTW LA will lose in KC. Will the wheels come off in this one with Beckham throwing a bigger tantrum? Should be fun.

  8. Sporting has a quality atmosphere in their new stadium. As an RSL fan, I give them props for the game that I went to in Kansas.

    C.Rapids… now that atmosphere is terrible. The stadium is so empty me and my friends were able to get a bunch of front row tickets. Their fans are the worst.

  9. And we pull it off in a market where there are only 1 million people in the whole county. And our ticket prices are much more than Seattle. I don’t know about Portland’s prices but Seattle’s attendance is largely the result of rock bottom prices.
    When we played the final up there against SL, I bought fourth row tickets on the 40 yrd line for ticket price $36 from a season ticket holder. Those tickets are almost $60 a game at RIO TINTO.

  10. Agreed. I thought Seattle was the best team after OG went down and they lost Ricketts. Obviously a case could have been make for Salt Lake too.

    We are being proven correct. Maybe I am a Rosales injury comeback away from being correct, we will see.

  11. Jason’s RSL is the class of the MLS. They almost always squeak out the result needed (I shake my fist at you Chivas). Picking Paulo Jr to kick the PK is further evidence of the team mentality that exists in the red and blue kit. I know you all laugh at the “team is the star” mantra, but it is so true. Building the confidence of an outstanding player who needed the net was a wise and unselfish act. Beckerman and Kries are proven leaders in a sporting world of fakes with huge egos.
    RSL till I die.

  12. I was surprised at the number of people who picked LAG to repeat as MLS champions in 2012. Oh, LAG had a fine season, and a lot of big names. But that team (and their record last year) was very much a function of their defense. And they lost Gonzalez and gave up on Ricketts (I know Saunders was better at the end of the season but Ricketts is a proven high-level performer). Plus, at the start of 2011, RSL was the class of the league: playing maybe the best defense in MLS, playing superb possession soccer, getting goals from a bunch of players. The “fixture congestion” and the injury to Morales meant the wheels came off the wagon. LAG was a deserving champion. But in mind, it was always about “will RSL return to form, will Morales come back as the player he was?” B/c if the answers are “yes” then I see RSL as the team to beat and the best team in MLS (unless a young and surging KC leapfrogs over everyone).

  13. After Seattle and Portland, Salt Lake has the best atmosphere in MLS (no disrespect to Philadelphia Union fans). +20,000 on a Wednesday night is impressive.


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