Real Salt Lake 1 - 0 Chicago Fire

RSL beat Fire, set MLS home unbeaten mark


 Real Salt Lake set a new MLS home unbeaten record as the defending MLS Cup champions downed the Chicago Fire 1-0 on Saturday afternoon for their 23rd consecutive undefeated match at Rio Tinto Stadium onAlvaro Saborio's penalty kick just before the half.

The turning point of the match came in in the 44th minute as Fire defenderWilman Conde pulled down RSL midfielder Ned Grabavoy in the box. Conde, who was already carrying a yellow, did not receive an immediate booking but was eventually shown his second caution and given his marching orders by referee Jorge Gonzalez.

Saborio stepped up to convert from the penalty spot for his 9th goal of the season, beating goalkeeper Sean Johnson, who had guessed right, but could not reach the well-placed shot.

Chicago and Real Salt Lake flexed their midfield muscle in the first half with much of the opening stanza played between the penalty areas. As a result there were few solid chances, with most of the opportunities coming on hopeful efforts from outside the area and only two shots on goal.

The Fire came closest on a powerful blast from Collins John in the 22nd minute which hit the top of the crossbar. Two minutes later RSL forward Robbie Findley missed a one-on-one opportunity, lofting the ball over the Chicago goal.

After RSL took the 1-0 lead before halftime on Saborio's PK, Chicago broughtPatrick Nyarko to start the second half, and followed up with Calen Carr coming in for Freddie Ljungberg. The tactical adjustment appeared to be an effort to bring in players with speed and fresh legs as the visitors pushed for an equalizer while playing with 10 men.

This approach appeared to have some initial success, as RSL struggled to deal with the speed and energy that the Fire brought to the game, but eventually the home side managed to create several opportunities late in the match.

In the 76th minute newly acquired forward Paulo Araujo Jr. struck the right post in his first minute of action on the field. That was followed up by a nice cross to the far post by Will Johnson that was just out of reach of the sliding Araujo in the 84th minute.

Scoring Summary: 

RSL -- Alvaro Saborio 9 (penalty kick) 47+ 

Chicago Fire -- Sean Johnson, Dasan RobinsonC.J. Brown, Wilman Conde, Gonzalo Segares, Bratislav Ristic, Freddie Ljungberg (Calen Carr 60), Logan PauseMarco Pappa (Mike Banner 85), Collins John (Patrick Nyarko 46), Nery Castillo.

Substitutes Not Used: Baggio HusidicDeris UmanzorKwame Watson-Siriboe,Andrew Dykstra.

Real Salt Lake -- Nick RimandoTony BeltranJamison OlaveNat Borchers,Chris Wingert, Ned Grabavoy (Nelson Gonzalez 64), Kyle BeckermanAndy Williams, Will Johnson, Robbie Findley (Paulo Araujo Jr. 76), Alvaro Saborio (Pablo Campos 63).

Substitutes Not Used: Jean AlexandreRobbie RussellChris SchulerKyle Reynish.

Misconduct Summary: 

CHI -- Wilman Conde (caution; Reckless Foul) 30 

RSL -- Kyle Beckerman (caution; Reckless Tackle) 33 

CHI -- Wilman Conde (caution; Tactical Foul) 46+ 

CHI -- Wilman Conde (ejection; Second Caution) 46+ 

Referee: Jorge Gonzalez 

Referee's Assistants: Adam Garner, James Conlee 

4th Official: Tyler Ploeger 

Time of Game: 1:53 

Attendance: 14,440

Weather: Clear and 85 degrees