Last week, Real Salt Lake watched a two-goal lead at home evaporate late against Vancouver.
On Saturday night at the Chicago Fire, it was RSL’s turn to come back from two goals down. They did that, and more.
Joao Plata’s goal in the third minute of second-half stoppage time turned a late 2-0 deficit into a dramatic 3-2 win as RSL remained unbeaten at 4-0-5.
RSL is now unbeaten in its last five games at Toyota Park. The Fire remain winless on the year at 0-2-6.
It didn’t start brightly for RSL. Mike Magee opened the scoring for the Fire in the 22nd minute, pouncing on a rebound after Harry Shipp’s initial attempt was saved by Nick Rimando. Juan Luis Anangono made it 2-0 eight minutes later, heading in a cross from Greg Cochrane.
Despite being down 2-0 at halftime, RSL coach Jeff Cassar remained confident his team would get something out of the match.
“It’s crazy because I thought we were playing very good soccer in the first half,” Cassar said. “We created some good chances and [Chicago goalkeeper] Sean Johnson made a couple unbelievable saves, and I was real happy with the way things were going. So the halftime talk was positive.
“It was continuing to keep doing the things we were doing, because all it takes is one [goal] and then everyone starts to get a little nervous. The guys never stopped working. The quality in our attack was fantastic.”
After being continuously denied by Johnson and with the Fire unable to get a third goal at the other end, RSL finally found the back of the net. Plata pulled one back in the 72nd minute after Javier Morales slipped a pass to him just inside the penalty area.
“I was happy with my first goal,” Plata said through a translator. “We were 2-0 down and we were going to get that first goal, and we got three goals. So I’m happy with the result.”
Substitute Kenny Mansally sent a cross in the 90th minute that found Alvaro Saborio, who tapped in from two feet away to make it 2-2. Three minutes later in similar fashion, Saborio turned provider to Plata, who scored the winner from close range.
“That’s why [Sabo and I] have this great chemistry up top,” Plata said. “Luckily, tonight, that’s why they were able to make this happen.”
It was also gratifying to come from behind to win instead of spending the waning moments of the game fending off an opponent.
“This team has unbelievable character,” Cassar said. “And it’s credit it to them. They knew that they had it in them. We needed that first goal, and after they got the second, they thought, ‘We might win this game!’ It’s unbelievable that they wanted to push and win this game, and it’s fantastic.”
RSL remains on the road next Sunday then they take on the Houston Dynamo at 5 p.m. (Ch. 30).
RSL 5, Dynamo 2
Real Salt Lake 3 2 — 5
Houston 1 1 — 2
First half » 1, Real Salt Lake, Morales 1 (Saborio), 1st minute. 2, Real Salt Lake, Morales 2 (Grabavoy, Plata), 17th. 3, Houston, Sherrod 1 (Davis), 22nd. 4, Real Salt Lake, Saborio 6 (Mulholland), 32nd.
Second half » 5, Houston, Sherrod 2 (Barnes), 56th. 6, Real Salt Lake, Mulholland 3 (Morales), 78th. 7, Real Salt Lake, Morales 3 (penalty kick), 89th.
Goalies » Real Salt Lake, Nick Rimando Houston, Tally Hall.
Yellow Cards—Saborio, Real Salt Lake, 26th Garcia, Houston, 45th+ Sherrod, Houston, 90th+.
Red Cards—Carrasco, Houston, 27th.
Referee—Allen Chapman. Assistant Referees—Adam Garner. Claudio Badea. 4th Official—Ismail Elfath.
Salt Lake— Nick Rimando, Aaron Maund, Tony Beltran, Nat Borchers, Chris Wingert (Abdoulie Mansally, 46th), Luke Mulholland, Ned Grabavoy, Kyle Beckerman, Javier Morales, Joao Plata (Cole Grossman, 74th), Alvaro Saborio (Devon Sandoval, 60th).
Chicago—Tally Hall, David Horst, AJ Cochran (Omar Cummings, 71st), Kofi Sarkodie, Corey Ashe, Brad Davis (Brian Ownby, 84th), Servando Carrasco, Oscar Garcia, Andrew Driver (Warren Creavalle, 35th), Mark Sherrod, Giles Barnes.