CHESTER, Pa. (ABC4 Sports) – The winless streak finally came to an end in dramatic fashion.
Real Salt Lake goalkeeper Nick Rimando made two stellar saves late in the match to preserve a 2-1 comeback win over the Philadelphia Union, tying him with Kevin Hartman for the all-time MLS record with 180 career victories.
RSL got second-half goals from Joao Plata and Javier Morales to score the fifth comeback win this season as Real earned its first victory since June 22, halting a six-game winless streak.
“I really just said to keep believing,” said RSL head coach Jeff Cassar. “I thought Philadelphia was good in the first half. I thought we were very good. If we keep doing what we’re doing, we will be rewarded. Two world class goals, in my opinion, from Joao and Javi. Sometimes it takes that to break the game open.”
Roland Alberg converted a penalty kick in the 43rd minute on a controversial call, giving the Union a 1-0 halftime lead.
That lead didn’t hold long, though, as Plata netted his sixth goal of the season in the 48th minute.
Plata held the ball on the left side of the box and played it to defender Demar Phillips at the edge of the 18. Phillips touched it back to Plata for a curling shot inside the far post that left Blake helpless to keep it out of the net as Plata equalized at 1-1.
In the 54th minute, Morales made it 2-1 with another impressive strike.
Garcia made a run into the box up the right side and when he was stopped, he turned back and pulled the ball back toward the sideline. He then played a quick ball to Morales alone at the edge of the box and Morales took a touch into the box and lofted a floating shot over Blake’s reach and inside the far post for his second goal of the season.
“Yeah, at halftime I think a lot of guys were looking at each other in the eyes and putting the work in in the second half to get the result,” said Rimando. “I think that’s exactly what happened in the second half. We dug in, committed to defending and we got two special goals from our big players.”
But on a hot and humid night RSL would need some late heroics to finish off the win. In the 89th minute, Philadelphia got shots from Brian Carroll, Ken Tribbett and Richie Marquez in a six-second span, all pouncing on balls in the box. Rimando saved two of the shots and the third was blocked by a defender.
Rimando is now tied with Hartman, and can own the MLS wins record outright with one more victory.
“Yeah, it’s huge,” said captain Kyle Beckerman. “It’s just a testament to his hard work and being a great goalkeeper. I don’t know what other records he has to break, but I’d guess he’ll get it. He works extremely hard so it’s a testament to that work he puts in. I’m really happy for him.”
With the win, RSL improves to 9-6-7 (34 points) and tied for fourth in the Western Conference.
RSL will remain on the road to face Toronto FC on Wednesday night before returning home to host Chicago on Saturday.