Real Salt Lake: RSL endures intense end-of-match pressure, defeats Toronto FC 1-0
Frank Gunn, AP
Real Salt Lake ended one streak and extended a more important one Saturday afternoon in Toronto. Yordany Alvarez's first career MLS goal was the difference in a 1-0 RSL win over Toronto FC, extending Salt Lake's unbeaten streak across all competitions to seven. It also marked the club's first victory in 11 matches north of the border.
Alvarez's goal came right before halftime on a blast from just outside the 18-yard box. The 28-year-old Cuban midfielder was pleased with both the goal and the win, which pulled Real Salt Lake three points clear of Portland for top spot in the Western Conference. The club also stands alone in the lead for the MLS Supporters' Shield.
"It feels good," Alvarez said. "My first goal in the MLS — I'm so happy. We're winning, and we got a big three points."
Goalkeeper Nick Rimando was largely unchallenged in the game's first 90 minutes, but faced a flurry of Toronto chances in second-half stoppage time. Rimando made a left-handed reaction save on the first of two Jeremy Brockie headers, then saw a Steven Caldwell chance cleared off the line after a late corner.
"If you don't have those guys in the back covering every play, we don't walk out of here with three points," Rimando said afterward. "It was a team effort."
Rimando earned his sixth clean sheet of the regular season and third in his last four games. He stopped all 11 attempts on goal, seven of which came after halftime.
"We clogged the midfield," Rimando said. "They had a lot of service into the box, but I thought we dealt with it well. We're happy at the end with three points."
Tempers flared in the 79th minute when Tony Beltran fouled and then pushed Toronto's Luis Silva. Doneil Henry immediately jumped to Silva's defense, shoving Beltran hard to the pitch. Beltran and Henry both picked up red cards, leaving it 10-on-10 for the final 11-plus minutes.
With the win, Real Salt Lake is now 10-1-1 in all competitions since the beginning of May. It was the club's first win in six tries in Toronto.
"It's always been difficult," head coach Jason Kreis said following the match. "This year, for some reason, it seemed very quiet. Maybe that had some contribution to why we won."
Kreis said he wasn't too worried about his team's drought in Canada coming in.
"It's not something we were overly concerned with," he said. "It would be another thing if we weren't a team that knew how to win in other places and a team that's gotten enough wins over the years to be considered successful. But having done it now, it feels good."
Real Salt Lake is back in action Wednesday when it hosts Philadelphia at Rio Tinto Stadium.
Beltran, Rimando and Kyle Beckerman are due to leave the club Sunday to join the United States national team ahead of the Gold Cup and are eligible to play for the U.S. against Cuba in a match at Rio Tinto Stadium on July 13.
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