ORLANDO (ABC4 Sports) – Real Salt Lake made an abrupt exit from the MLS is Back tournament, losing in the round of 16 to San Jose, 5-2.
San Jose broke a 1-1 deadlock with four second-half goals, and benefited from a red card to RSL center back Marcelo Silva in the 84th minute after his crunching tackle on Jackson Yueill. RSL actually finished with nine men, as Kyle Beckerman was sent off in the 97th minute for kicking the ball at referee Drew Fischer, all shortly after Magnus Eriksson scored his second penalty kick of the evening to complete the rout.
“We are going to take a lot of positives from this,” RSL head coach Freddy Juarez said. “I know it doesn’t feel like it when you take five goals. But the guys fought their hearts out. The only thing we can saw is we fought and we were in the game and that’s all you can ask for from the guys. We just weren’t able to get enough goals today.”
Eriksson’s first PK arose in the 49th minute as Alvin Jones tripped up Tommy Thompson, and saw the Swedish midfielder to lace home to Zac MacMath’s left. That made it 2-1, and his 96th-minute effort sealed the 5-2 scoreline when a Video Review deemed that Beckerman handled the ball in the 18-yard box.
Vako was particularly active for San Jose, and the Designated Player scored the eventual game-winner in the 61st minute. He pounced on poor distribution from MacMath, combined with attack partner Andres Rios and latched onto a clever pass across the six-yard box for a 3-1 lead in the 61st minute. Vako also had an assist in the 21st minute when he helped to engineer Cristian Espinoza’s opener. His fellow Designated Player rifled low and hard past MacMath, giving San Jose a 1-0 lead.
The early San Jose lead was short-lived, as Douglas Martinez equalized in the 22nd minute, just one minute and 13 seconds after Espinoza’s goal, after he ran onto a long ball and leveled at 1-1. RSL’s other goal came in the 75th minute via Damir Kreilach, who made it 3-2 after Silva played him through on goal.
The Earthquakes were solid start to finish, and even benefited from some luck. Chris Wondolowski made it 4-2 in the 86th minute when the ball ricocheted into the net off his outstretched leg.
“I think the first 15-20 minutes we did very well, we pressed them higher up the field and they just kicked the ball long,” Damir Kreilach said. “After going down 1-0 it was a great response from us, at the end of the day, Douglas goal for 1-1 and then after that we went a little bit deeper and then San Jose had some control. But it wasn’t something special that we were aware of because they didn’t create so much. Because of that I told our squad I saw our chance by one even at 3-1 and then 3-2. Overall, we created the chances and we did very well. Unfortunately, we lost this game and we have to see our mistakes to see what we can do better and look forward for the rest of the season.”
Real Salt Lake now awaits the restart of the MLS season, hopefully next month. The proposed plan has each team playing 18 games, nine at home and nine on the road.
I”t was a tough loss to give because we didn’t imagine we would lose it this way,” Juarez said. “But I agree with what Douglas said, we are going to be working hard to prepare us for the rest of the season.”