Streaking Real Salt Lake wins third in a row, shutting out Seattle 2-0

Leah Hogsten | The Salt Lake Tribune Real Salt Lake forward Joao Plata (10) winces from pain in his back and later left the first half as Real Salt Lake hosts the Seattle Sounders at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah, Saturday, June 2, 2018.

Sandy • After months of winning at home and losing on the road, RSL has finally put together an actual streak.

RSL claimed its third straight win Saturday, 2-0 over Seattle on Saturday at Rio Tinto Stadium. It was its second victory over Seattle in eight days and third match in that same span.

“The grit and the work rate they showed tonight — I mean I’m exhausted right now and I can’t imagine what these guys [feel],” RSL coach Mike Petke said. “It was like a towel before the game, I was doing whatever I could to wring out whatever they had left in their legs, some of these guys. And to see them pressing in the second half with intensity still … it’s amazing to me.”

RSL forward Corey Baird’s fourth goal of the season resulted from being in the right place at the right time in the 57th minute. Damir Kreilach played a ball into Danilo Acosta on the left side of the penalty box, and Acosta lined a shot into Sounders goalkeeper Stefan Frei, who made the save — but the rebound went straight to Baird, whose header flew into the open corner of the goal.

“I joked around with him after,” Baird said about Acosta, “that I would have been pretty pissed if we hadn’t scored that because I thought it was open.”

In stoppage time, Luis Silva made the Sounders pay for pulling Frei out of his net on a free kick. Frei missed the header and RSL winger Jefferson Savarino played the ball to Acosta on the counterattack. A deflection sent the ball wide to Silva, and his shot on an open goal from distance doubled the score.

It was only a matter of time for RSL, after one of the shortest halftime speeches Petke has had to make this year.

“The only two things we saw,” Petke said, “were convert your chances, because we’re getting them, and I thought we were a little bit sloppy sometimes out of the back and through the midfield.”

The two goals in the second half came after RSL squandered several chances in the first half. In a 10-minute stretch, Kreilach, Joao Plata and Baird each had shots fly past the goal.

The winning streak has shot RSL up to third place in the Western Conference, as they have taken advantage of twice playing a struggling Seattle team with key pieces away on international duty in Nicolas Lodeiro (Uruguay), Gustav Svensson (Sweden) and Roman Torres (Panama).