Real Salt Lake’s unbeaten streak ends with 3-1 loss at Montreal

Montreal Impact's Ignacio Piatti (10) scores against Real Salt Lake's goalkeeper Nick Rimando as Justen Glad (15) defends during the first half of an MLS soccer match in Montreal, Saturday, Aug. 19, 2017. (Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press via AP)

Real Salt Lake went into Saturday’s match well aware of how dangerous Montreal’s attacking four could be, but it didn’t anticipate Ignacio Piatti taking the RSL defense to task the way he did.

Montreal Impact's Anthony Jackson-Hamel, right, challenges Real Salt Lake's David Horst during the second half of an MLS soccer match in Montreal, Saturday, Aug. 19, 2017. (Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press via AP)

Piatti scored two goals in Montreal’s 3-1 win against RSL at Saputo Stadium, snapping RSL’s six-game unbeaten streak.

“We played a team tonight in Montreal who is firing on all cylinders,” RSL coach Mike Petke said. “We prepared pretty heavily for them. Piatti still goes out and gets two goals. Piatti is a phenomenal player. ... I just think the transition game from them, like we knew [we‘d see], we didn’t do a good enough job [against].”

Despite a tough two weeks of travel, with two trips back east, RSL had been feeling good about playing on the road. It had won its past three away matches, and a 1-0 victory at D.C. last week was the second consecutive shutout performance by RSL’s defense.

All those promising streaks came to an end as the final whistle blew Saturday night. The Impact, on the other hand, extended their winning streak to four matches.

RSL’s back line already had its hands full to start the game, and then center back Marcelo Silva stayed down after a potential goal-saving tackle. He was taken off in the sixth minute with thigh tightness, per the official word from the trainers, and David Horst replaced him.

“To lose Marcelo when him and Justen [Glad‘s] partnership has been so great,” Petke said. “It’s a tough game for David Horst to come on to and get right into the swing of things. I‘m not going to comment on what happened to Marcelo because I have to really get the full report, but it was bad enough that he had to come out of the game.”

Soon after, Piatti struck.

With steady pressure on RSL’s defense in the first 10 minutes of the match, Piatti broke through in the 11th minute and scored his fifth goal in four matches. Blerim Dzemaili played a ball across the goal, and Piatti finished with one touch.

RSL equalized in the 26th minute with a goal by Luis Silva, but just three minutes after Silva’s goal, Piatti found himself in the box with the ball at his feet again. RSL right back Tony Beltran slid in to tackle it away, but Piatti maintained possession and cut back for his second goal of the night.

Piatti almost completed a hat trick in the second half, and he even began to celebrate when his shot went in the net after a multi-player scramble in the box. It was called back, however, when he was ruled offside.

Montreal was able to score in the second half, and this time off the foot of someone other than Piatti. With a 2-1 lead coming out of the intermission, it took just three minutes for Anthony Jackson-Hamel to bury an uncontested shot into the back of the goal.

“I think we had too many soft turnovers in the midfield, and they caught us with their speed up front,” said winger Brooks Lennon, who started in place of Joao Plata.

Petke decided to give Plata a scheduled rest with a long stretch of conference play coming up for RSL.

Real Salt Lake’s lone goal was Luis Silva’s second in as many matches. He left his mark behind with a give-and-go to Albert Rusnák. Rusnák played it behind Montreal’s back line, and Silva struck a line drive into the back of the net.

Luis Silva and Yura Movsisyan each hit the frame in the second half, but the Impact held their two-goal advantage.