Harrison, N.J. • When Alvaro Saborio found the back of the net for the third time against the New York Red Bulls, the Real Salt Lake bench went into a frenzy. RSL had been trailing for much of the match and Saborio’s two goals in the waning moments had capped an impressive rally that surely ended the game.
It didn’t, though.
For the second straight week, a shorthanded Real Salt Lake side conceded late to suffer a demoralizing defeat. Whereas last week they gave up a 97th-minute header in a loss to Sporting Kansas City, this time they surrendered an 89th-minute penalty kick that was converted by former RSL forward Fabian Espindola before conceding a last-gasp winner to Dax McCarty in the final seconds of a wild 4-3 match at Red Bull Arena on Saturday night.
“A little bit of a bad situation because it’s two weeks in a row, so we need to fix some things, for sure,” said Real Salt Lake coach Jason Kreis afterward. “What’s interesting in a game like that is that there is a lot of bad but there is also a lot of good. We need to continue to press upon how many good things there were today with the team and we’ll get after the bad things.”
The bad started almost immediately for RSL in a Saturday night match played in front of an announced crowd of 18,604. Yordany Alvarez committed a bad foul on midfielder Tim Cahill in the fourth minute, and Cahill responded by fighting off the injury scare and scoring with a header in the 11th minute.
New York then doubled its advantage in the 23rd. After referee Silviu Petrescu called Abdoulie Mansally for a foul on Brandon Barklage in the penalty area, Espindola chipped the ensuing spot kick to tally against the club that traded him and centerback Jamison Olave to the Red Bulls this past offseason.
Real Salt Lake struggled to muster up a response, but found a lifeline late in the first half through a penalty kick of their own. Markus Holgersson was called for tripping Olmes Garcia in the 18-yard box and Saborio buried his first of the night with a shot that gave RSL some momentum going into halftime.
“It’s truly important to get him back and also scoring goals,” said Kreis. “You know he was critical for us there, and he played a very good match. … Into the game I thought he was a player that looked a little bit more fatigued than I would’ve liked, but he wasn’t the only one.”
Fatigued or not, Saborio went on to score two more goals in the final 10 minutes of the match. He first slipped a shot past Red Bulls goalkeeper Luis Robles in the 80th minute and then buried a sure Goal of the Week candidate with a well-placed effort two minutes later, sending Real Salt Lake’s bench into a frenzy.
The joy was short-lived, however. Espindola drew a questionable penalty kick from Aaron Maund a minute before the end of regulation before converting it for his second of the night.
“It’s always important to score, to help the team and it is special against those guys,” said Espindola. “I have a lot of care for those guys, so that’s all I have to say. Like I said, it was good because it was against them, just because I did my job.”
That late goal opened the door for McCarty’s last-gasp heroics. Barklage whipped in a cross from the right side that McCarty raced onto to nod home, sending Red Bull Arena into festive scenes and forcing Real Salt Lake to settle for a bitter loss.
“We’re very disappointed with the outcome because of the way we played. We worked all game long,” said Saborio. “But we must have better concentration on holding the ball to avoid giving up counterattacks like we did in the second half.”
Storylines Red Bulls 4, RSL 3
R Alvaro Saborio scores in the 80th and 82nd minutes, but ex-RSL forward Fabian Espindola ties it in the 89th.