Real Salt Lake needed points and other results to go its way to hold on to its playoff positioning in the Western Conference.
RSL lost 2-1 to the Seattle Sounders on Wednesday at a fanless CenturyLink Field. The loss put Salt Lake out of the playoff picture for now, with seven games left and a road game against the Portland Timbers looming on Saturday.
Midfielder Kyle Beckerman told KMYU after the game that he was proud of the team’s effort.
“Nothing to put our head down [about],” Beckerman said. “We gave a good right.”
RSL conceded in the first half, where it has been outscored 11-3 this year. They gave up another before an own goal cut their deficit in half. But the scoreline stayed put for the final stretch.
Jordan Morris scored in the opening minute, but the goal was called back because he was offside. In the 28th minute, though, he gave the Sounders a 1-0 lead off a pass from Cristian Roldan.
In the 61st, Yeimar Gómez headed in a goal off Nicolás Lodeiro’s corner kick. Gómez was wide open in the box when he received the pass.
“I’m really disappointed in the set piece goal,” RSL coach Freddy Juarez told KMYU. “That set piece goal kind of complicated things.”
RSL forward Maikel Chang, who came on as a sub, put a cross into the box on the attack in the 68th. Nouhou Tolo attempted to kick it away, but slid into the ball and scored an own goal.
Salt Lake and Seattle finished with the same number of shots. But the telling statistic Wednesday night was shots on goal. RSL did not have a single one, while the Sounders had three.
Seattle won the clearances battle 16-6, and the possession battle, 50.8% to 49.2%.
Salt Lake made six changes to its starting lineup after having just three days between games. Midfielder Damir Kreilach wasn’t on the game day roster due to rest.
RSL drew Seattle 2-2 the last time they played. Real came back from one-goal deficits twice in that game to earn the point. That game was at Rio Tinto Stadium.
But Salt Lake couldn’t make the full comeback against the Sounders this time around.
Seattle had some good chances at goal before the own goal. Two of them in particular came right at the goal when players were unguarded. RSL goalkeeper Andrew Putna saved one of them.
RSL came into Wednesday’s game against the Sounders just above the playoff line in the Western Conference at eighth place. With more road than home matches in the final stretch of the season, the matchup against Seattle was an opportunity to pick up some badly needed points.
RSL had won just once in its previous five games. That win came against the L.A. Galaxy.
The Houston Dynamo beat FC Dallas to leapfrog Salt Lake in the playoff standings. The Sounders stayed atop the conference and now has 27 points.
With San Jose’s 3-0 win over the Vancouver Whitecaps, RSL now sits 10th in the Western Conference. But it’s just three points away from fifth place.