by Gavin Lee
Real Salt Lake shut out the San Jose Earthquakes in a 2-0 win on Saturday at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah. They are now in second place in the Western Conference standings with 28 points and lies two points behind first-place Los Angeles FC. The win bumps RSL to an 8-4-4 record on the season as they remain undefeated at home.
Defender Justen Glad led RSL to an aggressive start, missing a header just to the left after a corner by Jefferson Savarino in the second minute. Midfielder Justin Meram followed a few minutes later with a free kick but launched it over the goal.
The Earthquakes attempted to answer in the eighth minute, but Jeremy Ebobisse shot too high. The game then went back and forth until RSL defender Marcelo Silva right-footed into the bottom left corner in the 21st minute to put RSL up 1-0. Tate Schmitt gave the assist.
RSL tried to capitalize again in the 30th minute with Rubio Rubín driving the ball to the center of the goal; however, Earthquakes goalkeeper JT Marcinkowski made the save. Schmitt picked up a yellow card a minute later, but RSL kept the Earthquakes scoreless for the remainder of the half and shot two more shots.
RSL came out of the halftime locker room blazing hot, with Rubín, Savarino, and Sergio Córdova, each attempting close shots that were saved by Marcinkowski. Earthquakes’ Benjamin Kikanovic attempted to respond, but his header was off target.
After more back and forth action, the Earthquakes had another great look by Ján Gregus in the 77th minute. He almost found the left corner, but Zac MacMath made the diving stop. After a blocked attempt, Savarino scored the second RSL goal from a difficult angle in the 81st minute, putting them up 2-0.
The Earthquakes were unable to find any good looks until the 89th minute where Nathan Raphael Pelae Cardoso’s header ricocheted off the goal post. With the deflating miss by the Earthquakes, RSL was able to hold them off for the remaining minutes to come up with the 2-0 victory.
The Earthquakes suffered the loss despite dominating possession 65.4 percent to 34.6 percent and a four-save performance from goalkeeper Marcinkowski. RSL dominated in shots, 16 to seven, and shots on goal, six to one, while taking more corners, 10 to three. This is also the fourth shut-out victory of the season for RSL.
RSL will remain home at Rio Tinto Stadium on Saturday, June 25, to take on the Columbus Crew at 8 p.m. MT. The match can be streamed on ESPN+.
Photo courtesy KSL Sports