The defending MLS champions prevailed.SANDY, Utah -- Real Salt Lake started their home stand on a high note, beating Toronto FC 2-1 in front of 12, 659 fans on a cold, rainy night at Rio Tinto Stadium. Jamison Olave and Andy Williams scored for the Utah side, while Dwayne DeRosario scored a late penalty kick for the Reds to bring his season total to five goals.
The early minutes featured RSL dominating possession, but unable to create any good chances from it. Ironically, Toronto had the first chance of the game when Nick LaBrocca took a hard left-footed volley from 30 yards which was easily saved by Nick Rimando.
Toronto was unable to withstand the RSL domination for long. In the 14th minute RSL found themselves with a corner from the left side. Will Johnson played the ball short to Andy Williams, who crossed the ball to the far post. Alvaro Saborio beat Stefan Frei to the ball and headed it on goal where Olave was able to poke it home, giving RSL an early 1-0 lead.
But Toronto nearly equalized only three minutes later. LaBrocca lofted a pinpoint cross from the right wing onto the head of Joseph Nene at the far post. Nene put his header across the goal, but Rimando denied him with a spectacular one-handed diving save.
RSL kept up the pressure and nearly doubled their lead in the 22nd minute when Williams played a short free kick to Collen Warner. The rookie put an excellent shot on frame, but Frei made a brilliant diving save to deny Warner his first MLS goal.
In the 31st minute RSL again nearly added to their lead. Will Johnson fired a free kick from a difficult angle by the left edge of the penalty area, but again Frei was up to the challenge and made a strong save.
In minute 42 RSL finally struck again. Tony Beltran made a run up the left wing, collected the ball and slotted a simple touch to Williams. Williams stepped around one defender and curled a sublime 20-yard shot into the near post past the helpless Frei.
Toronto made wholesale changes at half, bringing on O’Brian White, DeRosario, and Julian de Guzman. It paid off almost immediately as Toronto nearly cut the deficit in half in the 53rd minute. DeRosario lofted in a cross from the left side that found White at the far post. White’s header beat Rimando, but couldn’t beat the crossbar. The ball bounced straight down off the crossbar where Olave cleared it away.
But Real still maintained the majority of the possession. They nearly made the game 3-0 in the 60th minute when Williams chipped a soft ball in from the left side to an unmarked Saborio on the far post. Saborio’s header missed by inches.
Toronto looked better in the second half with their three best players on the field, and they were much more willing to attack. However, they were unable to generate any good chances thanks to a stout Real Salt Lake defense and worsening weather conditions.
In the 88th minute Toronto pulled a goal back from the penalty spot. DeRosario whipped in a cross from the right wing that hit Kyle Beckerman in the arm as he ran to cover, leaving referree Kevin Stott no choice, but to point to the spot. DeRosario stepped up and calmly beat Rimando to his left to bring Toronto to within one. Unfortunately for Toronto, they ran out of time to get the equalizer before the final whistle.
Next week Toronto FC return home to BMO Field to take on the Chicago Fire. Meanwhile, Real Salt Lake continue their home stand next Saturday in their first-ever meeting with the expansion Philadelphia Union.
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