CARSON, Calif., (Sunday, Oct. 5, 2014) – Real Salt Lake (13-8-10, 49 points, West #3) was unable to clinch a playoff berth on Sunday night, falling 1-0 to Chivas USA (7-18-6, 27 points, West #9) at StubHub Center.
Despite controlling the majority of the match with 74 percent of possession, Real Salt Lake was unable to stage a comeback after falling behind in the 47th minute. Chivas USA took the lead after capitalizing on an RSL giveaway, allowing FW Erick Torres an open look that hit off the crossbar. Red-and-White FW Felix Borja was able to knock in the rebound in what would end up being the lone goal of the match.
Real Salt Lake saw the first chance of the night in the third minute. The Claret-and-Cobalt earned a free kick 40 yards out that MF Javier Morales whipped into the box. RSL FW Alvaro Saborio was able to get a head to it but his attempt sailed high over the bar.
Real Salt Lake controlled the early stages of the match, but was unable to create any clear-cut chances until the 27th minute. Claret-and-Cobalt DF Chris Wingert started the play on the left side, sending a perfectly weighted through ball for Morales in behind Chivas USA’s back line. The Argentine picked up the ball at the touch line, cutting a pass back for an open Saborio in the center of the box, but the Costa Rican international’s one-timed shot went high.
The Claret-and-Cobalt suffered a severe blow in the 33rd minute when DF Chris Schuler went down after a collision with fellow teammate DF Nat Borchers. The 27-year-old center back had to be subbed out with DF Rich Balchan entering the match and moving to right back, and RSL DF Carlos Salcedo moving centrally to take over for Schuler.
Chivas USA started to come alive towards the end of the first half, creating a scoring chance in the 42nd minute. Chivas USA MF Leandro Barrera was able to catch RSL on the break, sprinting into the area on the left side and blasting a shot on frame. RSL’s Borchers was able to deflect the attempt but it ended up requiring a big save from RSL GK Nick Rimando, who was able to punch the dangerous shot away.
Chivas USA was able to make the most of an RSL giveaway just minutes into the second half, taking a 1-0 lead in the 47th minute. Claret-and-Cobalt substitute Balchan misplayed a pass in RSL’s defensive end, allowing Chivas USA’s Torres to pick up the ball and sprint to the top of the box and chip a shot that smacked off the crossbar. Borja was there for the follow-up, easily slotting the ball past a helpless Rimando from close range.
Rimando came up huge for the Claret-and-Cobalt in the 64th minute, saving Torres’ penalty kick to keep Chivas USA’s lead to one. RSL’s Balchan was whistled for the controversial PK, when Gantar called the defender for a foul in the box. Rimando continued to do what he does best, stopping the PK by correctly diving to his left and blocking Torres’ shot.
Rimando was called into action again with a fantastic save in the 73rd minute. Chivas USA was able to find Torres open just inside the area on the left side. The Mexican striker laid the ball off to Barrera at the top of the 18 yard box and blasted a left-footed shot on frame. Rimando was there though, making an acrobatic save to push the ball out of harm’s way.
Chivas USA had another opportunity to double its lead in the 79th minute. The Goats earned a free kick just outside the 18 yard box on the left side. Barrera whipped a ball into the box that Red-and-White DF Bobby Burling headed off the left post.
Real Salt Lake saw a handful of half-chances to level the match throughout the final 10 minutes, but could not find the equalizer to fall 1-0 to Chivas USA for the second time this year.
Real Salt Lake will return to MLS action on Saturday night, when it hosts San Jose Earthquakes at 7:30 p.m. MT at Rio Tinto Stadium. Saturday’s match will be broadcast on CW30, ESPN 700 AM and 102.3 La Gran D FM.
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