Real Salt Lake starts hot, beats Seattle Sounders 2-1
Sandy • All week long, Nat Borchers was in Robbie Findley's ear.
The Real Salt Lake center back told the forward he looked sharp in training, that this was the week. He was going to score.
It took Findley all of eight minutes Saturday night to prove Borchers right. A long throw-in took a deflection and Findley put a left foot on a bouncing ball, slipping it past Seattle goalkeeper Michael Gspurning. Findley's first goal since rejoining RSL helped give the club a 2-1 win over a Sounders team that bounced Salt Lake from the playoffs a season ago.
"It's always good to get the first one, get that off your mind," Findley said.
Coach Jason Kreis put it more succinctly: "Finally."
Findley had found himself in dangerous spots for RSL early in the year, but through four games he had failed to find the back of the net. Kreis said he thought Findley's goal could have been the first of several Saturday, but Findley strained a muscle in his groin on the play and came out just a few minutes later.
Nevertheless, RSL would stay on the attack.
Salt Lake dominated the scoring chances, particularly in the first half. RSL used a short-corner play it had practiced this week to get its second goal. Sebestian Valesquez found Ned Grabavoy, who floated a ball to Luis Gil. The midfielder put his head on the pass and beat Gspurning in the 35th minute.
RSL, playing without Alvaro Saborio, who had scored all of the club's goals coming into Saturday night, forced the issue against Seattle, pushing its midfielders more often into the attacking third of the field.
"Obviously we want him on the field, but now we've got guys scoring goals and not just him," Gil said. "And that's a big thing."
It should be a boost of confidence for Gil, too.
"I need to start being more dangerous," he said. "I feel like one game I'll be dangerous and not be so dangerous the next one. I've got a goal and I feel like I've just got to be more consistent now."
A sellout crowd at Rio Tinto Stadium was on its feet and roaring with applause when midfielder Javier Morales saw the field for the first time this season, coming in for Gil in the second half.
With help from Grabavoy, Joao Plata and rookie Devon Sandoval, RSL peppered Gspurning, launching 25 shots in the game Â 10 of them on frame. The keeper's seven saves kept Seattle in the hunt. And when Brad Evans blasted a falling ball past RSL goalie Nick Rimando in the 57th minute, Salt Lake's lead was just 2-1.
"It was good to see them get all these opportunities," Findley said. "It's just a matter of putting them away now. [Gspurning] did well in goal. He's a big body. But we got the result."
R RSL's two goals Saturday matches the combined number of goals scored between RSL and Seattle in their previous five meetings.
• Robbie Findley's goal in the eighth minute breaks a 408-minute scoring drought against the Sounders.
Real Salt Lake 2, Sounders 1
Seattle FC 0 1 1
Real Salt Lake 2 0 2
First half Â» 1, Real Salt Lake, Findley 1, 8th minute. 2, Real Salt Lake, Gil 1 (Grabavoy, Velasquez), 35th.
Second half Â» 3, Seattle FC, Evans 1 (Rosales, Yedlin), 57th.
Goalies Â» Seattle FC, Michael Gspurning. RSL, Nick Rimando.
Yellow Cards • Rose, Seattle FC, 87th.
Referee • Mark Geiger. Assistant Referees • Corey Parker. Brian Dunn. 4th Official • Andrew Chapin.
Attendance Â» 20,359 (20,008)
Seattle FC • Michael Gspurning, Marc Burch, DeAndre Yedlin, Djimi Traore, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Mauro Rosales, Brad Evans (Andy Rose, 80th), Osvaldo Alonso, Steve Zakuani, Eddie Johnson (Sammy Ochoa, 78th), Obafemi Martins (David Estrada, 62nd).
RSL • Nick Rimando, Tony Beltran, Chris Schuler, Nat Borchers, Kenny Mansally (Lovel Palmer, 81st), Sebastian Velasquez, Ned Grabavoy, Luis Gil (Javier Morales, 62nd), Kyle Beckerman, Robbie Findley (Joao Plata, 14th), Devon Sandoval.