Forward Joao Plata scored on a penalty kick in the 82nd minute to break a scoreless contest and Real Salt Lake went on to a 3-0 victory over the Colorado Rapids on Saturday night at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah.
Midfielder Damir Kreilach added a goal in the 89th minute and midfielder Albert Rusnak tallied in the 92nd minute as Real Salt Lake stretched its home unbeaten streak to 16 games (12-0-4) versus the Rapids.
Colorado (2-2-2) played with just 10 men after goalkeeper Tim Howard received a red card in the 20th minute for a hand ball that thwarted a scoring chance by Real Salt Lake forward Jefferson Savarino.
Real Salt Lake (3-3-1) had a 29-12 edge in shots. None of Colorado’s attempts were on goal.
The crucial penalty kick was awarded after video review displayed that Colorado defender Tommy Smith swatted the ball away in the box while laying on the ground. Kreilach was ready to boot the ball when Smith slapped it to the side with his left hand.
Plata took the kick and lined it into the left side of the net past the diving right hand of Rapids goalkeeper Zac MacMath.
Kreilach made it 2-0 with his right-footed blast past MacMath. Rusnak later scored by directing a free kick into the top right of the goal.
Colorado was the more aggressive team until Howard was carded on Real Salt Lake’s top chance of the first half.
Rusnak played the ball in front of a breaking Savarino, who was racing to catch up to it. Meanwhile, Howard aggressively charged forward and was out of the box as Savarino beat him to the ball and drilled a right-footed shot.
The ball hit Howard’s left hand and chest and bounced away. Referee Joseph Dickerson approached Howard and pulled out the red card for a hand ball outside of the box on a scoring opportunity.
MacMath replaced Howard and was immediately tested on the ensuing free kick in the 22nd minute.
Plata sent a blast through the wall and a diving MacMath was able to knock away a shot that short-hopped him. MacMath made another save two minutes later when he stopped a head by Kreilach.
RSL held possession 70 percent of the first half and 70.9 percent for the match. MacMath finished with six saves.
–Field Level Media
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