Sandy • After he scored his screamer in the first half, Real Salt Lake forward Sebastian Saucedo ran over to coach Mike Petke and embraced him tightly. It was Saucedo’s first goal of the season and helped give RSL a two-goal cushion.

But the moment pointed to more than what had just transpired on the field. It was the culmination of several talks between the two, trying to figure out a way for the 22-year-old to find his place on a team where opportunities can be scarce at times.

Saucedo, who has now started two consecutive games, said Petke believing in him is what prompted him to seek out his coach and hug him. He said he had “a huge discussion” with Petke in the offseason regarding what was expected of him both on and off the field.

“I think we came into an agreement and it has finally paid off,” Saucedo said.

Saucedo’s goal was part of an RSL performance that saw it blank Toronto FC 3-0 Saturday afternoon at Rio Tinto Stadium. The win marked the second time in as many games that Real has scored three goals and its second consecutive win after narrowly escaping Colorado last week with a victory over the bottom-feeding Rapids.

Several players said the win over Toronto was the club’s most complete of the season.

“All 11 guys were working both sides of the ball,” right back Aaron Herrera said. “We have to give a lot of credit to our front guys. They were all putting in the work defensively and it paid off in the end.”

This season has been mired with inconsistent performances from RSL. The team would exhibit strong play for stretches of 25 or 30 minutes or one half before falling off. At times, those lapses have led directly to losses and frustration over not capitalizing on opportunities to pick up points.

When asked if he thought Saturday’s win was the most complete of the season, center back Nedum Onuoha pondered the concept before affirming that it was, but offered a caveat.

“I don’t think we were like 10 out of 10 for the whole game,” Onuoha said. “But I think for longer periods compared to other games, we probably were. … I think we’ve had good 30-minute spells, 40-minute spells. But it felt like 60 to 75 minutes in this game we were in control.”

Petke, on the other hand, did not think it was a complete game from his team. He said that after the first 15 minutes of the game, RSL made the proper adjustments.

“We never really felt completely threatened at goal,” Petke said. “Weathered the storm a little bit, then we started playing a little and three really good goals.”

Saucedo had a hand — or foot — in two of those three goals. After he scored in the 28th minute on a 43-yard bomb, he floated a long ball in the 60th to Jefferson Savarino, who outran his defender into the box. His defender then slipped, giving Savarino enough daylight to score RSL’s third goal of the game.

Salt Lake’s first goal came when midfielder Albert Rusnák crossed a perfect ball into the box where Damir Kreilach was waiting. Kreilach settled it with his chest and managed to finish in the 14th minute with several defenders around him.


Toronto’s Alejandro Pozuelo received a red card after tackling Saucedo in the 61st minute. … RSL goalkeeper Nick Rimando returned the starting lineup after missing four straight games.