SANDY — As elated as the 19,341 fans at Rio Tinto Stadium were when Nat Borchers scored the game winner in the 93rd minute on Saturday night, no one was happier than Kyle Reynish.
The backup keeper's gaffe in the 86th minute on what should've been a routine save allowed FC Dallas to equalize late in the match for the second time. Dropping needless points against a team on an eight-game winless streak would've been a tough pill to swallow at home.
Fortunately for Real Salt Lake and Reynish, Borchers came to the rescue.
Despite Dallas' frantic efforts to clear the set piece, the ball fell fortuitously to Borchers whose curling right-footed shot bent around keeper Kevin Hartman and into the back of the net as Real Salt Lake salvaged a thrilling 3-2 victory in which all five goals were scored in the final 31 minutes.
"It was a roller coaster second half," said Borchers, who became the second player in the last three home matches to bury a winner deep into stoppage time.
Borchers was obviously frustrated by the fact RSL squandered a 1-0 and 2-1 lead in a span of 10 minutes, but he said positives of battling through that adversity far outweigh the negatives.
"We don't shy away from the battles and we definitely aren't afraid to get in games like this if that's the way it's got to be played. We can win games 1-0, we can win games 3-2, that's just the type of team we are," said Borchers.
With the victory Real Salt Lake improved its unbeaten streak to six straight (4-0-2) and moved two points clear of San Jose into first place in the Western Conference standings. San Jose, however, can reclaim the top spot with a victory at Kansas City on Sunday afternoon.
Following a drab first half in which strong winds wreaked havoc with Real Salt Lake's attack, the second half was a much different story.
RSL finally broke the deadlock in the 59th minute with a wonderful link up between Terukazu Tanaka and Alvaro Saborio. Starting in place of injured defender Chris Wingert, Tanaka delivered a fantastic cross near the right corner flag that Saborio headed home in traffic for the 1-0 lead.
"We thought 1-0 would be good enough and it usually is for us, but credit to them, they pushed forward and came back and scored two goals on us," said Borchers.
In the 75th minute, Tanaka did well to seemingly clear a ball out of danger in front of RSL's goal, but his clearance only went as far Dallas' Matt Hedges about eight yards away who drilled it on frame. Reynish appeared to punch it away, but the linesman deemed that the ball crossed the goal line first, and Reynish didn't seem to object.
The momentum was very short lived for Dallas as RSL regained the lead 90 seconds later as a Saborio shot took a deflection off Hedges and harmlessly past Hartman.
Saborio had a chance for a hat trick in the 86th minute, but his close-range stab was cleared off the line by Dallas. It proved to be a huge defensive play as Dallas countered right back and equalized on Reynish's miscue.
He was in perfect position to save Blas Perez's driven shot from 14 yards out, but the ball glanced off the side of Reynish's glove and into the back of the net.
"He probably needed to do better, but those things I think come with playing more," said Kreis.
With Nick Rimando expected to be away with the U.S. National Team for a couple more weeks, Reynish should get more minutes in upcoming U.S. Open Cup matches.
Rimando was one of four RSL regulars unavailable because of either national team commitments or injuries, which Kreis said is an encouraging sign moving forward.
"You're pleased with the resiliency of your group and you're pleased that you can be resilient even when your missing guys like Kyle Beckerman, Nick Rimando, Javier Morales and Chris Wingert," he said. "That's four very strong leaders in our group that weren't out there tonight. To be without them and have the guys react the way they did is a very, very good sign."
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