SANDY, Utah – Blake Brettschneider scored his first goal with the New England Revolution midway through the first half but Real Salt Lake forward Alvaro Saborio responded with a pair of strikes either side of halftime as RSL secured a 2-1 win over the Revs on Saturday night at Rio Tinto Stadium.
Brettschneider scored a fantastic goal to put the Revs (3-6-0, 9 pts.) ahead in the 22nd minute, but the lead was short-lived as Saborio pulled RSL (7-3-1, 22 pts.) level with an opportunistic finish in the 33rd minute. Saborio scored what proved to be the game winner in the 55th minute, getting on the end of a Javier Morales free kick.
Both sides had players ejected in the second half as RSL’s Will Johnson (59th minute) and New England’s Fernando Cardenas (81st minute) were both issued straight red cards.
Three days after securing a 2-1 win over the Colorado Rapids at Gillette Stadium there were several changes to the Revolution’s lineup, including a switch from a 4-4-2 formation to a 4-5-1 alignment. Brettschneider served as the lone forward with Jose Moreno (R calf strain) unavailable and Saer Sène (illness) taking a place on the bench, while Lee Nguyen and Kelyn Rowe returned to the wings. On the backline, John Lozano replaced Stephen McCarthy in central defense.
Revolution goalkeeper Matt Reis – fresh off his 100th career victory – came up big in the fifth minute to deny Fabian Espindola’s breakaway chance. Morales sprang Espindola from 40 yards out but Reis charged off his line to stuff the Argentine’s first effort before smothering the attempted rebound.
After absorbing pressure for the opening 20 minutes, the Revs stunned the Rio Tinto crowd by scoring on their first shot of the game as Brettschneider finished off a spectacular individual effort. Shalrie Joseph played Brettschneider into space down the left wing and the second-year forward cut inside past two RSL defenders before unleashing an unstoppable drive inside the far post.
The hosts pulled level just 11 minutes later when Saborio pounced on a loose ball inside the box. Kyle Beckerman’s deflected right-wing cross fell to Saborio following a brief scramble and the Costa Rican forward made the most of his chance by lashing home from eight yards out.
Lee Nguyen tried to respond for the Revs in the 38th minute and forced RSL goalkeeper Nick Rimando into a smart save at his near post, but the teams went into the halftime break all even at 1-1.
That changed 10 minutes into the second half when Saborio notched his second of the game to give RSL a 2-1 lead. From the right channel, Morales delivered a curling free kick to the back post, where Saborio eluded his marker and sent a deft header back across the goal and inside the post.
Just four minutes after taking the lead, RSL was reduced to 10 men as Johnson was issued a straight red card for a reckless challenge on Clyde Simms. The Revs responded by bringing on Cardenas and Sène, prompting a switch to a 3-5-2 formation.
Only a pair of fantastic saves from Rimando kept the Revolution from equalizing in the 71st minute. Cardenas forced the RSL ‘keeper into a sprawling stop with an outside-of-the-foot shot from the top of the box, while Brettschneider’s bullet header from the resulting corner kick was headed just under the crossbar before Rimando tipped it over.
Reis matched his counterpart in the 79th minute, stoning Saborio from close range as the Costa Rican bid for his hat trick with a clever chip from the left side of the box.
New England’s comeback bid took a hit in the 81st minute when Cardenas was ejected following a collision with RSL defender Jamison Olave, although replays showed Olave’s studs actually caught Cardenas on the top of his boot. Still, the Revs forced Rimando into two more saves in the dying minutes as Simms was denied from 35 yards in the 89th minute and Feilhaber was stuffed from close range in the first minute of stoppage time.
The Revs will be back at Gillette Stadium for their next two matches, beginning Saturday, May 12, when the Vancouver Whitecaps visit Foxborough. Kickoff for that match is set for 7:30 p.m.
New England Revolution at Real Salt Lake
May 5, 2012 – Rio Tinto Stadium (Sandy, Utah)
Real Salt Lake 2, New England Revolution 1
NE – Blake Brettschneider (Shalrie Joseph) 22
RSL – Alvaro Saborio (unassisted) 33
RSL – Alvaro Saborio (Javier Morales) 55
New England Revolution: Matt Reis, Chris Tierney, A.J. Soares (Diego Fagundez 79), John Lozano (Saer Sène 65), Kevin Alston, Lee Nguyen, Shalrie Joseph ©, Benny Feilhaber, Clyde Simms, Kelyn Rowe (Fernando Cardenas 59), Blake Brettschneider
Substitutes Not Used: Bobby Shuttleworth, Darrius Barnes, Stephen McCarthy, Bjorn Runstrom
STATS: Shots 13, Shots on Target 7, Corner Kicks 4, Saves 5, Fouls 16, Offsides 1, Passes (percentage) 389 (75.8%), Possession 47.6%
Real Salt Lake: Nick Rimando, Chris Wingert, Jamison Olave, Nat Borchers, Tony Beltran, Will Johnson, Javier Morales, Kyle Beckerman ©, Ned Grabavoy, Fabian Espindola (Jonny Steele 63), Alvaro Saborio
Substitutes Not Used: Kyle Reynish, Emiliano Bonfigli, Yordany Alvarez, Luis Gil, Paulo Junior, Chris Schuler
STATS: Shots 13, Shots on Target 7, Corner Kicks 4, Saves 6, Fouls 16, Offsides 6, Passes (percentage) 431 (83.3%), Possession 52.4%
RSL – Jamison Olave (caution) 36
NE – Chris Tierney (caution) 57
RSL – Will Johnson (ejection) 59
NE – Fernando Cardenas (ejection) 81
RSL – Alvaro Saborio (caution) 95+
Real Salt Lake – 7-3-1, 22 pts.
New England Revolution – 3-6-0, 9 pts.
Referee: David Gantar
Assistant Referees: Corey Rockwell, Adam Garner
Fourth Official: Abbey Okulaja
Weather: Clear and 55 degrees
· With the loss, the Revs lowered their all-time record against Real Salt Lake to 4-7-4, including a 2-4-2 mark in away games
· The Revs remain winless at Rio Tinto Stadium, now 0-3-1 … the Revs picked up their only point at the venue last season in a 3-3 draw on July 4
· Kelyn Rowe, who rested on Wednesday night against Colorado, returned to the starting lineup … it was his eighth start of the season
· Blake Brettschneider made his third start of the year and his first since March 24 in the Revs’ home opener against Portland … he had not made an appearance since
· Jose Moreno, who has made five appearances and started the last three matches, was unavailable for tonight’s game after not traveling to Salt Lake City … he exited Wednesday night’s game against Colorado with a right calf injury and remained in Foxborough for further treatment
· Blake Brettschneider’s goal in the 22nd minute was his second career goal and first as a member of the Revolution … it was his first goal in almost 11 months as his only prior career goal came on June 11, 2011 with D.C. United in a 4-2 loss to San Jose at RFK Stadium
· Shalrie Joseph’s assist on Blake Brettschneider’s goal was his third of the season and the 34th of his career … he is now one shy of second place on the Revolution’s career assist chart, behind Joe-Max Moore who had 35
· Will Johnson’s red card in the 59th minute was the first ejection for a Revs opponent this season
· The clubs have seen seven players ejected combined in the last three meetings between them
· This is the third straight meeting that an RSL player has been ejected: Will Johnson at New England (April 9, 2011), Nat Borchers at RSL (July 4, 2011) and Johnson tonight
· The Revs have had four players ejected in that span: Shalrie Joseph and Pat Phelan (April 9, 2011 at New England), Ryan Cochrane (July 4, 2011) and Fernando Cardenas (tonight)
· Diego Fagundez made his second appearance of the season, and his first since March 17 in a 3-0 loss at Kansas City