Recap vs. Real Salt Lake

Espindola gives RSL a late victory over Chivas USA

May 22 vs. RSL Thornton save

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Fabian Espindola proved to be a super sub as his goal in the 89th minute gave Real Salt Lake a hard-fought 2-1 victory over Chivas USA and keeps the defending champs in a tie for second place in the Western Conference.

Salt Lake faced an uphill battle from the get-go after losing team captain Kyle Beckerman to a left foot sprain in just the 20th minute of play. The visitors’ offense sputtered in the absence of the midfield stalwart at first, but were able to find a bit of momentum after substitute Jean Alexandre settled into the pace of the game.

Javier Morales provided most of the offensive spark for RSL in the first half. The Argentine midfielder proved a menace for the Chivas USA defense, sending all manner of passes into the box from the right flank. His hard work finally paid off in the 45th minute, when he slipped around Goats left back Carlos Borja and drilled a low ball toward the far post. His shot ricocheted off the post and out to Chris Wingert, who blasted a one-touch shot from the top of the 18-yard box to give his team a 1-0 lead going into the break.

After a lifeless first half, Chivas USA finally started finding some cohesion. Relying on enthusiastic play in the midfield from Ben Zemanski and Blair Gavin, the Goats pushed hard into Salt Lake’s end and managed a handful of good attempts on Nick Rimando’s net.

It was substitute striker Justin Braun who finally found the equalizer for the Red-and-White. The big Utah native tried to control a pass from teammate Marcelo Saragosa just outside the box, which turned into a high bouncer. Braun turned around and let loose a hard volley between two defenders that dipped over RSL goalkeeper Nick Rimando and into the top left corner to tie the game at 1-1.

Reinvigorated by the late goal, Chivas USA continued pushing forward. But any momentum the home side had garnered was quickly snuffed out in the 89th minute when, racing onto a ball from Alvaro Saborio down the right wing, substitute striker Espindola cleverly tucked a ball around Zach Thornton for the game-winner.

With the victory, Real Salt Lake improved to 5-3-2 while Chivas USA suffered their third straight loss to remain in last place with a 3-6-2 record.

RSL -- Chris Wingert 1 (unassisted) 46+
CHV -- Justin Braun 3 (Marcelo Saragosa 1) 80
RSL -- Fabian Espindola 2 (Alvaro Saborio 3, Andy Williams 2) 89

CHV -- Marcelo Saragosa (caution; Reckless Foul) 26
RSL -- Andy Williams (caution; Reckless Foul) 39
RSL -- Jean Alexandre (caution; Unsporting Behavior) 66

Real Salt Lake -- Nick Rimando, Robbie Russell, Jamison Olave, Nat Borchers, Chris Wingert, Andy Williams, Kyle Beckerman (Jean Alexandre 24), Javier Morales, Ned Grabavoy, Alvaro Saborio (Nelson Gonzalez 89), Pablo Campos (Fabian Espindola 78).

Chivas USA -- Zach Thornton, Mariano Trujillo, Michael Umana, Dario Delgado, Carlos Borja, Michael Lahoud (Jose Macotelo 54), Ben Zemanski, Marcelo Saragosa, Jesus Padilla (Chukwudi Chijindu 77), Maicon Santos (Justin Braun 63), Blair Gavin.

Referee: Yader Reyes
Referee's Assistants:
Corey Rockwell; Ian Anderson
4th Official:
Jasen Anno
Time of Game:
Clear and 62 degrees