Real Salt Lake 1, Chivas USA 0 | MLS match recap
SANDY, Utah — Real Salt Lake remained unbeaten at home as they topped Chivas USA 1-0 Saturday night at Rio Tinto Stadium behind Javier Morales' first goal of the season.
RSL (3-3-2, 11 points), opening the first of a three-game home stand, moved to second place in the Western Conference, overtaking Chivas USA (3-3-1, 10 points), who suffered their second consecutive loss.
The opening minutes belonged to RSL, as their possession-oriented attack was finding open spaces through the middle of the field. Chivas, employing their high-risk, high-reward style of play, was getting spaced out in the midfield, favoring the home side.
Fresh off his first career MLS goal last week against Vancouver, Olmes Garcia took advantage of his first career start. Time after time the ball was sent over the top and he would run it down to set up the offense. He had a shot that deflected off the crossbar in the sixth minute and was an overall headache for the Goats.
If Garcia wasn't the top star of the half, that honor would certainly go to the goalkeepers — Dan Kennedy of Chivas and Nick Rimando of Real. Kennedy was tested often, saving a Luis Gil one-on-one shot and an Alvaro Saborio effort. Meanwhile, Rimando had one more save on the night than his counterpart, and that additional save was another in his long list of career highlights.
Off a Chivas corner kick in the 35th minute, the ball deflected toward net and hit the arm of Ned Grabavoy in the box. Referee Jorge Gonzalez immediately pointed to the spot, and the call looked quite controversial, and Real Salt Lake was aggrieved to concede a second penalty in two matches. But the MLS all-time leader in penalty kick saves, Rimando, was up to the task as he parried away Edgar Mejia's shot headed toward the right side of the net for his 18th career penalty save. For Chivas, it was their second unconverted penalty in as many matches.
In first-half stoppage time, Carlos Alvarez nearly put the visitors ahead as following yet another dangerous corner kick from the Goats, he broke in from the left side after the ball was sent back in. His left-foot blast sailed just wide of the back post.
Chivas came out with a renewed intensity to beging the second half, but as their shot total increased, so did Rimando's save total. Julio Morales hit a sharp shot just outside the box in the 52nd minute, but Rimando was able to save the chance.
After another Garcia shot hit off the crossbar, Real finally hit pay-dirt in the 53rd minute. Garcia hit a ball forward into the right side of the box to Saborio, who deftly chipped the ball to the middle. Morales timed his run perfectly and headed the ball to the bottom-left corner of the net for his first goal since September 2012.
Real finished off the game, giving Chivas only a couple more scoring opportunities, while keeping possession for long stints, but failing to capitalize on a few quality scoring chances of their own.
Controversy will certainly emerge from this match for Chivas. Head coach Chelís began arguing with Javier Morales, presumably for exiting the field slowly on a substitution, which escalated to an argument with RSL coach Jason Kreis. Chelís and his staff reportedly exited the field before the final whistle, while Mejia received a red card during stoppage time for a forearm to Ned Grabavoy to only add insult to the Chivas loss.
Real remain home to face the defending champion LA Galaxy next Saturday, while Chivas return home for a match against last year's Supporter's Shield winners from San Jose.