SANDY, Utah (ABC4 Sports) – Coming off a two-week international break, Real Salt Lake picked up right where it left off at home, shutting out San Jose Saturday night, 2-0, to remain unbeaten at Rio Tinto Stadium this season.
Marcelo Silva and Jefferson Savarino scored goals for RSL, while Zac MacMath notched his sixth shutout of the season, as RSL improved to 6-0-1 at home.
“We never want to get ahead of ourselves,” said head coach Pablo Mastroeni. “As a team we have been taking it one game at a time.The reason we have been so good at home is we have been working our tails off, and everyone is committed on both sides of the ball. It goes through everyone on the team.”
Making his first start since returning to RSL, Savarino scored one goal and assisted another as Real Salt Lake (8-4-4) moved into second place in the Western Conference standings. This is the team’s best start in franchise history through 16 games.
Silva, who took over the role of team captain when Damir Kreilach underwent back surgery, put RSL on the board after scoring off a corner kick in the 22nd minute. Silva latched onto a cross from Savarino served into the middle of the box and blasted it straight down the middle.
But Silva was even more proud of the shutout by the RSL defense.
“Anytime you get a shutout it’s not just the backline that’s responsible for it, it’s the whole team,” said RSL’s captain. “So when you have your nine out marking up where they’re supposed to be, everybody is defending as a team and that’s really the key. We defend as a team. Then everybody’s involved in defense.”
Savarino, who scored 21 goals for RSL from 2017-2019, got his first goal of the season in the 81st minute, cutting inside against Marcos Lopez to get a takeaway and popped the ball up to himself to set up his goal moments later.
“Obviously I’m thankful for the team for all of the effort that they put into the game so that we could get the victory,” Savarino said. “But it’s always a special game to play right before Father’s Day and have all the fans and the family out with you.”
San Jose generated just a pair of shots in the first 45 minutes. None were on frame. RSL held a 9-2 advantage in total shots while putting two balls on frame.
RSL had a 16-7 advantage in total shots and a 6-1 edge in shots on goal.
Nathan Cardoso came closest to getting San Jose on the board when his header in the 89th minute hit the bar following a corner kick by Cristian Espinoza.
As good of a start as RSL is off to this season, while Mastroeni is happy with his team’s performance, he said his team still has work to do.
“It validates all the work we have put in starting last year and then going into preseason,” Mastroeni said. “This week in training we had several guys communicating very well with each other. To sit back and watch these players take accountability for every aspect of their game has been a great thing to see. The work we have been doing Monday through Friday is being validated on the field. It’s a great way to start but we have a long way to go and it’s on us to maintain that level.”
“Pablo has installed so much belief and confidence in this group, especially at home with these fans,” said forward Justin Meram. “We can matchup against anybody, and you see that’s why our record at home is undefeated up to this point.”
RSL next hosts the Columbus Crew Saturday June 25th at 8:00 p.m.