SANDY, Utah (ABC4 Sports) – Real Salt Lake’s season went about as well as the weather on Sunday.
In near blizzard conditions, RSL ended the season with a 2-0 loss to Sporting Kansas City, as RSL finishes a strange 2020 with a record of 5-10-7.
Sporting KC locked up the #1 seed in the Western Conference, as Khiry Shelton and Erik Hurtado scored goals at the end of the first half and beginning of the second half respectively.
Real Salt Lake managed to get off nine shots on the snow-covered field, putting three on frame. But they failed to score a goal for the third time in their last four games.
“I’m disappointed that we couldn’t give the fans more happy days in such a crazy year,” head coach Freddy Juarez said. “I didn’t think about the relief, I just woke up this morning so excited for the game. There were so many reasons why we wanted to get a win and then all of a sudden crazy weather hits. It was a crazy game, a sloppy game. It was tough for both teams and I thought they probably played a little bit smarter.”
Shelton scored the first goal in the 45th minute with a shot that ricocheted off three players and past RSL goalkeeper David Ochoa, who was making his MLS debut.
Then in the opening minutes of the second half, Ochoa came out of the net, and Hurtado rounded a shot into the net to give Sporting KC a two-goal lead.
By the end of the game, the entire field was covered in a few inches of snow, which Juarez said definitely had an impact on the match.
“It changed the whole game,” he said. “I’m here saying that if it was nice weather that we would’ve played better because they are a very good team. That’s why they are top of the West. It would’ve been a better game for the fans to watch.”
Real Salt Lake ends the season in 11th place in the Western Conference.
Before the game, veteran defender Nedum Onuoha announced he was retiring at the end of the season, his 16th professional season, and he walked off to an ovation from the sparse crowd at Rio Tinto Stadium.
“It was crazy,” Onouha. “You’re going for the game, trying to win and then before you know it, conditions are crazy. I love playing the game, so being out there and being able to play with my teammates one more time felt great. I was really happy on the field. Obviously the result didn’t go our way, but it was a tough game. We fought for each other like we have done throughout the year and obviously things haven’t gone our way, but it’s definitely going to be a memorable game for me.”