Sporting KC's seven game unbeaten run in MLS play came to a crushing end last night in Sandy, Utah as Real Salt Lake scored a late winner to take all three points. It's the second straight game in Salt Lake between the two teams that has been decided in stoppage time, the last being Ike Opara's 97th minute header back in 2013.
Similar to KC lately, RSL has been facing some injury and international absence issues and was forced to start 18 year old Justen Glad at center back. Glad's play almost led to the opener in the fifth minute as a poor pass went right to Roger Espinoza in the middle of the field. Espinoza took a touch and fired a shot on goal that Nick Rimando had to tip over the bar. RSL though started to control the play in the first half and Glad had a great chance of his own in the ninth minute. Off a Javier Morales corner, Glad won the header and put it on goal only for Tim Melia to come up with a very good save to knock the ball out for another corner. RSL's early pressure allowed them to get the opener in the 15th minute. After an attempted pass by Melia was played wrong, Matt Besler was forced to commit a foul on Morales setting up a free kick. Morales curled the ball to the back post where Sebastian Jaime had lost his mark and headed it into the net to make it 1-0 RSL. The pressure continued for RSL as they kept winning corners and getting chances. In the 26th they hit the post as Joao Plata got around his defender and chipped a nice cross into the middle for Devon Sandoval who beat Melia with his header but put it right into the post and it bounced back into play. The miss would come back to bite RSL as KC equalized in the 30th minute through Dom Dwyer. After keeping RSL pinned in their own end and winning the ball it was played into the middle for Benny Feilhaber who played a nice through ball for Dwyer to run onto and beat Rimando to tie the game at 1-1. KC should better late in the half but wasn't able to capitalize on the better play as the two teams went into half time tied.
In the second half KC came out as the much more aggressive side and pinned RSL in their own end for a good portion of the first part of the half. Unfortunately it didn't amount to a whole lot in terms of chances on goal as the game remained tied. KC's best chance of the second half came in the 64th minute when Jalil Anibaba played a great deep cross towards the back post for Dwyer. Dwyer made good contact with his head, but couldn't beat Rimando as the RSL goalkeeper made a nice save to keep it at 1-1. Krisztian Nemeth had a good opportunity himself after some good work down the left he was able to get into the box but instead of trying to chip the ball over Rimando as he did against LA, Nemeth tried to slide it across the middle for Dwyer but the pass was cut out. In the 76th Sandoval had another good chance as he had the ball played into him in the box. He held off Anibaba and Kevin Ellis, but Melia got a touch at the very end to tip the ball over the bar. Melia again was called into action late in the game off another RSL corner. Sandoval got his head on the ball and put it toward goal, but Melia made the initial save. While he couldn't hold it, Melia was able to respond quickly and get back up and knock the ball away before an RSL player could reach it. KC's good fortune didn't last forever though, RSL just had too much pressure throughout the game with 16 corners and pinning KC deep and it led to the winner in stoppage time. After keeping KC in their own end, Morales got the ball wide to Olmes Garcia who cut inside Anibaba and fired a low shot on the ground that looked like it'd be an easy save for Melia until it hit Ellis' foot, the deflection caused the ball to loop over Melia's head and into the net giving RSL the 2-1 win.
Wizards Man of the Match - Tim Melia - Kept KC in the game with some very good saves during the game. The saves on Glad and Sandoval were absolute class.
Player Ratings - Melia 7, Dia 4, Besler 5, Ellis 6, Anibaba 6, Mustivar 5, Espinoza 6, Feilhaber 5, Zusi 6, Dwyer 6, Nemeth 5. Peterson 4, Abdul-Salaam NR.