HARRISON, N.J. — The script being written was historic.
Real Salt Lake rallied from an early two-goal deficit to take a late lead on Alvaro Saborio's third goal against the host New York Red Bulls.
"We're flying and you're thinking at that moment if we could get this kind of win it would just be monumental," RSL coach Jason Kreis said. "It would be historic."?
Instead, it was another painful last-minute loss as Dax McCarty's goal four minutes into second-half stoppage time lifted New York to a 4-3 victory Saturday night in front of 18,604 at Red Bull Arena.
It was RSL's second consecutive loss, and in each game the squad conceded a late goal to lose.
"To walk out losing and not gaining any points, you begin to become concerned that it's going to take a mental toll on our players," Kreis said. "We hope it doesn't."
The culprit, as it was against Sporting Kansas City, was a failure to keep possession late in the match. On both of New York's final two goals — an equalizing penalty kick from former RSL standout Fabian Espindola in the 89th minute and McCarty's dramatic winner — RSL had unforced turnovers in midfield.
"It's something that we actually spend a lot of time on, the tactical things that need to happen at the end of matches in order not to give up late goals," Kreis said. "Most of it comes down to what we do with the ball. Tonight again, and Kansas City was the same way, we gave it away too cheaply."
Espindola also scored from the penalty spot in the 23rd minute to give New York a 2-0 lead after referee Silviu Petrescu ruled that Kenny Mansally pulled down Brandon Barklage just inside the box. Tim Cahill struck for New York's opening goal in the 11th minute.
"I think we kind of scratch our heads and say, 'I'm not so sure Fabian would get those kind of calls when he played for us,'" Kreis said.
But RSL roared back. Despite missing 10 players to a combination of international duty, injuries and suspension, Real Salt Lake rallied behind Saborio, who pulled his team within a goal just before halftime with a penalty kick. He then leveled the match at 2-2 in the 80th minute, putting a low shot off Red Bulls goalkeeper Luis Robles and into the net from 13 yards away.
"We love playing with Sabo — he does so much for us offensively and defensively," Borchers said. "He's just a clinical goal scorer. He did a great job for us tonight. I only wish that we would've been able to return the favor."
In only his third match with RSL since April 20 because of injuries and international call-ups, the Costa Rican forward scored a remarkable go-ahead goal just two minutes later, taking a pass from second-half substitute Joao Plata, cutting inside of McCarty and slotting the ball inside the far post from 16 yards out to give RSL a 3-2 lead.
It was Saborio's team-leading seventh goal of the year in just his ninth match.
"In that moment we thought we could win the game, but we didn't do good with the possession," Saborio said. "We have to be more careful with the ball in the last moments."
While Saborio made his triumphant return to the RSL lineup, the team still only fielded four regular starters. That will change next week when Kyle Beckerman, Nick Rimando and Tony Beltran return from competing for the United States at the Gold Cup. Beltran, though, will serve a one-game suspension because of a red card against Toronto on June 29.
RSL will also be without Chris Wingert again next week. The left back was suspended two games for his challenge on Sporting Kansas City's Kei Kamara last week.
"They are big players, our captain, keeper and right back," Saborio said. "We have to train this week very hard and be focused for the next game and win."