Corey Baird scored the go-ahead goal after Jefferson Savarino’s equalizer, and Sebastian Saucedo and Luis Silva also scored, with most the fireworks coming in the first half, as Real Salt Lake celebrated the Fourth of July with a 4-2 win over visiting Sporting Kansas City in Sandy, Utah.
For SKC (9-4-5), the first half provided mixed results. They showed patience, possessed the ball and seemed to be on the verge of carving up RSL’s defense when a completely undefended Daniel Salloi scored in the box off a beautiful Seth Sinovic cross following Roger Espinoza’s free kick in the 20th minute.
However, that goal seemed to wake up RSL, who went on the attack soon after. Baird came dangerously close to equalizing in the 24th minute, but he shot the ball wide after a pinpoint service from Saucedo.
Baird was in the mix again on a service to Damir Kreilach, but SKC goalkeeper Tim Melia was able to tip the ball away.
Savarino struck in the 29th minute, sending home a rebound after SKC failed to clear the ball following a corner for his third goal of the season.
Eight minutes later, Baird capitalized, waltzing into the box after a throw-in and putting the ball past Melia on a tight angle for the go-ahead goal.
A minute into first-half stoppage time, Saucedo put in RSL’s third goal on a savage counterattack, putting SKC down 3-1 at the half.
SKC’s Ilie Sanchez had a nice opportunity with a header off a corner early in the second half, but RSL goalkeeper Nick Rimando easily made the save.
RSL (8-8-2) fell back into a bad habit of surrendering second-half goals — 18 on the season before this match — as SKC cut into the lead in the 64th minute, with Ike Opara getting his first goal of the season on a cross from Johnny Russell.
RSL had a chance to put the game out of reach in the 80th minute, but Albert Rusnak tried to finesse the ball right into the middle of the net on a penalty kick. Melia wasn’t fooled, never came off his line and calmly caught the ball, keeping SKC in the game.
RSL also missed a flurry of chances late after SKC went down two men on red cards to Salloi and Espinoza. In fact, the whole game was a bit chippy, with nine yellow cards and two reds issued.
The final indignity for SKC came in the 10th minute of stoppage time, with Silva putting in a penalty kick for the 4-2 final score on a foul that looked as if it occurred outside the box.
—Field Level Media