NASHVILLE (ABC4 Sports) – After a busy week of acquiring scoring power, Real Salt Lake had trouble finding the back of the net again, and lost to Nashville SC, 2-0 Sunday afternoon.
Dave Romney scored midway through the second half to end a scoreless game as Nashville SC secured their first victory in their new stadium.
C.J. Sapong scored in extra time to seal the outcome.
Romney’s goal came in the 63rd minute following a set piece, with his quick reaction allowing him to convert off a rebound. His left-footed shot from near the center of the box went into the left side of the net out of the reach of Real Salt Lake goalkeeper Zac MacMath.
RSL managed just two shots on goal, and now has just one victory in its last seven games.
“We knew it was going to be a difficult game, and for much of the first half we took on a lot of pressure,” said RSL head coach Pablo Mastroeni. “We made some adjustments at halftime, and I felt the guys came out and approached the game the right way. I felt we grew into it a bit. Again we didn’t create enough in front of goal but great effort from the group, and this is a performance we need to build off of.”
Anderson Julio, who was acquired last week, made his 2022 debut for RSL, entering the game in the 76th minute. Newly acquired defender Chris Kablan was available, but did not play. Jefferson Savarino is expected to join the team later this month.
Nashville SC (4-3-3, 15 points) snapped a three-game winless streak that included a pair of draws. Real Salt Lake (4-3-4, 16 points) was shut out for the fifth time this season.
The goal was Romney’s second of the season, with the other for the defender coming April 9 at Sporting Kansas City.
“It just wasn’t sharp today,” said RSL defender Justen Glad. “It just wasn’t our day and hopefully next week we can clean it up and we can have the ball and get more chances.”
Sapong’s goal came from the center of the box with an assist to substitute Luke Haakenson, who put a pass in an ideal spot for Sapong to convert.
“We don’t take any loss lightly,” said RSL defender Aaron Herrera. “This was a tough one, coming in here, Nashville is a great team. Being in it, I don’t know when they scored, 70th minute or something, and then giving up a goal like we did kind of sucks, but at the end of the day they were the better team. We got to figure out our identity. Our whole identity can’t just be heart, will, grinding it results, and having to get a shutout every game in order to win games.”
Nashville goalkeeper Joe Willis made two saves. MacMath was credited with seven saves.
The home side held the upper hand throughout most of the game. By the end, they had a 10-2 edge in shots on goal, a 21-6 advantage in total shots and 6-4 advantage in corner kicks.
A week earlier, Nashville outshot Philadelphia 15-10 and in two games has taken 36 total shots, compared to 16 for their opponents.
Real Salt Lake, which defeated Nashville 2-1 on March 19, was called for 16 fouls, while the hosts were whistled for eight.
RSL next hosts Austin FC on May 14th at 7:30 p.m.