Special to CSNNE.com
SANDY, Utah Alvaro Saborio scored his team-leading sixth and seventh goals of the season while Fabian Espindola, Jamison Olave and Robbie Findley all added solo strikes to lead Real Salt Lake to a convincing 5-0 win over the New England Revolution on Friday night at Rio Tinto Stadium.
The five-goal margin of victory matched the second-worst regular-season loss in Revolution history, only surpassed by New Englands 6-0 loss to RSL on its last visit to Rio Tinto Stadium in April of last year. Combined, the Revs have been outscored by a margin of 11-0 in two visits to Real Salt Lakes home in Sandy, Utah.
With the win, RSL (8-3-3, 27 pts.) extended its club-record unbeaten streak to nine games and is now undefeated in its last 18 regular-season home games dating back to last season. Meanwhile, the Revs (3-9-2, 11 pts.) have dropped three straight and havent scored a goal since a 3-2 win over the New York Red Bulls in late May.
Espindola scored what proved to be the game-winner in the 27th minute, while Olave provided the dagger when he made it 2-0 in first-half stoppage time. The floodgates opened in the second half, when Saborio scored twice in a five-minute span (52nd and 57th minutes) before Findley in his first appearance since returning from World Cup duty with the U.S. National Team rounded out the scoring in the 85th minute.
With rookie midfielder Zak Boggs unavailable after sustaining a concussion, head coach Steve Nicol made a few changes from the lineup which suffered a 1-0 loss to the Chicago Fire last Sunday. Chris Tierney moved up from left back into Boggs spot in left midfield, while Seth Sinovic took Tierneys place on the backline. Meanwhile, Jason Griffiths who made his MLS debut with a substitute appearance against the Fire after signing with the Revs last week made his first career start alongside Shalrie Joseph in central midfield.
The Revolution started on the front foot and briefly controlled possession in the opening stages, but it was Real Salt Lake which had the games first quality scoring chance in the eighth minute. Emmanuel Oseis handball set up a free kick in a dangerous area 25 yards from goal, which Javier Morales stepped up to take. Morales free kick got up and over the wall, but New England goalkeeper Matt Reis dove full stretch to his right to push the ball around the post.
The opportunity seemed to spark life into the hosts and they increased their command of the game as the first half wore on. Kevin Alston came to the Revolutions rescue twice in the 20th minute, first clearing a header off the line before repeating the feat on Robbie Russells follow-up attempt.
Alston could do nothing to prevent RSL from taking the lead in the 27th minute, however, as the defending champions finally made their pressure pay off with the opening goal. A long, searching ball from Russell near midfield sprung Espindola, who controlled the ball with his chest and eluded Osei before placing a left-footed shot across Reis body and inside the far post.
Salt Lake came inches from doubling its lead when Espindola turned provider for Will Johnson in the 39th minute, but Johnson poked his shot wide of the right post at the end of an odd-man break.
The Revs were provided no such luck in first-half stoppage time, however, as Olave got on the end of a Morales free kick to give RSL a deserved 2-0 lead going into the break. Morales curling service came from the edge of the box on the right wing, and Olave peeled off his man before expertly placing his header from six yards out.
It was more of the same to start the second half as Saborio scored his first goal of the game to give the hosts a 3-0 lead in the 53rd minute. The play was set up by Russells whipped right-wing cross, leaving Saborio with the task of eluding his marker and poking a shot into the upper right corner from six yards out.
Saborio benefited from some more clever service to notch his second of the game and team-leading seventh of the season in the 57th minute. Morales was given acres of space to maneuver down the right wing and he used the time to blast a low cross into the box. The pass was a bit behind Saborio, but he did well to cleverly back-heel the ball past the surprised Reis and put the game well out of reach.
Griffiths responded with the Revolutions best chance of the game in the 59th minute, but his 20-yard blast was comfortably saved by RSL goalkeeper Nick Rimando as he dove to his right.
RSL had numerous chances to get its fifth and finally did so in the 85th minute, when Findley cut inside from the left wing, moved across the box and finished with an accurate shot just inside the right post.
Next up for the Revolution is a meeting with 2010 FIFA World Cup hero Landon Donovan and the league-leading LA Galaxy on Saturday, July 10. Kickoff from Gillette Stadium is set for 7:30 p.m.