It made things difficult them scoring the second goal so quickly after the first. But I felt like we were in the game the whole time, even after the third goal. But it’s tough coming back from three. —RSL forward Devon Sandoval
MONTREAL — Real Salt Lake’s fate was sealed in less than two minutes.
RSL conceded two quick goals — in the 18th and 20th minutes — in Saturday’s 4-1 loss to the Montreal Impact at Saputo Stadium.
The visiting team never quite recovered.
“It happened so quick,” said forward Devon Sandoval, who scored Real Salt Lake’s lone goal shortly after halftime. “It made things difficult them scoring the second goal so quickly after the first. But I felt like we were in the game the whole time, even after the third goal.
“But it’s tough coming back from three.”
Jeff Cassar’s men (3-3-5) came to Montreal with one of the league’s best away records — eight points from five games — but goals by the Impact less than two minutes apart ended RSL’s three-game unbeaten run.
Impact defender Laurent Ciman got the ball rolling in the 18th. Ciman put Montreal ahead 1-0 by beating Alvaro Saborio to the ball on a corner kick.
Shortly after the restart, with the public announcer still bellowing Ciman’s name, Andres Romero doubled the home side’s lead with a cheeky chip over the head of ‘keeper Nick Rimando.
Midfielder Ignacio Piatti got the play going as he controlled a bouncing ball down the touchline, faked out Elias Vasquez and fed Romero with a chipped through ball into the box. Off his line, Rimando was left helpless as Romero found the far corner.
“I play a little differently when there’s speed up front,” said Rimando, who claimed sole possession of second place in all-time MLS appearances on Saturday with 379. “I get off my line a little and anticipate through balls.
“Once he (Piatti) got that through ball in and Romero was in, I was in an area where I was stuck. He did well to put it over me.”
Add it was all Montreal for the rest of the half.
Romero added to the lopsided scoreline with a third goal in the 29th minute, putting the 12,158 fans at Saputo Stadium in a frenzy.
The Impact almost padded their lead in the 43rd, but Piatti’s penalty kick hit the post to Rimando’s left. The veteran ‘keeper has only conceded three goals from the penalty spot in 11 attempts over the last three seasons.
After 45 minutes of play, RSL had just two attempts on goal to Montreal’s 10.
“Any time you’re not having a great time on the ball, you have to be in good defensive shape,” said Cassar. “When you turn it, and they play one pass and they’re in with through balls, it can be a long night.”
In the second half, Real Salt Lake responded almost instantly with a candidate for goal of the week.
A good run by Luis Gil in the 47th minute took the ball from the touchline to the edge of Montreal’s box. Gil was slide tackled by Ciman and the ball popped out to Sandoval, who curled a left-footed shot up and over goalkeeper Evan Bush.
“There was a nice little passing sequence on the side and Luis (Gil) laid it off to me,” Sandoval said. “That was just what was given to me. It came to my left foot and I hit it one time. I was going for the back post and it worked.”
When asked if the goal was the nicest of his young career, the 23-year-old wasn’t ready to commit.
“Scored a nice one in training a few weeks ago but that doesn’t count,” he said. “This one is up there, for sure.”
Real Salt Lake has now conceded at least three goals in three separate contests just 11 games into the 2015 campaign. Last year, RSL gave up three goals just four times all season.
“At the end of the day, losing the ball in bad areas of the field leaves you exposed defensively,” Cassar said. “Second half I thought was better for a good period of it, and then again we got a little stretched out, a little tired, and got exposed.”