Photo credit: @SJEarthquakes
By Pearl Allison Lo
In a highly contested game between the fourth and fifth teams in the Western Conference, Real Salt Lake won out at home as the San Jose Earthquakes struggled on the road again.
Real Salt Lake moved to a second-place tie with the Seattle Sounders after the game. Meanwhile, it was the Quakes’ fourth straight road loss. They have been shutout in the last two with a total of two goals scored during the four-game stretch. San Jose was outshot also (12-9) for the first time since they last played Real Salt Lake on July 6.
6’1” Damir Kreilach was the hero for Real Salt Lake. His fifth shot of the match broke an eight-game scoreless match since July 13. After a corner, Brooks Lennon chased down the ball on the other side of the net, sent the ball back and Kreilach headed the ball successfully in the 75th minute.
After a ball from San Jose’s Cristian Espinoza, Carlos Fierro had a chance on net in the 16th minute, but Nick Rimando off his line, was able to diverte the ball sideways.
Vega made a critical save in the 36th minute. After Paul Marie was intercepted by Lennon near midfield, Kreilach sent forward a downwards header, but Vega was able to block it with his right lower leg.
Kreilach was the only one with multiple shots in the first half. His two shots were both on goal. For the game, the players with the second-most shots only had two apiece.
Judson was able to avoid a serious ankle injury in the second half.
Vega warded off a free kick by Sebastian Saucedo in the 68th minute, but could be seen favoring his left thigh after.
In stoppage time, Real Salt Lake’s Jefferson Savarino nearly had a goal of his own, hitting the bar from the near post, in between yellow cards issued to the Quakes’ Florian Jungwirth and Anibal Godoy.
Notes: Godoy had his first start since the game versus Los Angeles Football Club. Fierro made his first MLS start. Real Salt Lake’s Douglas Martínez made his MLS debut.
Up Next: San Jose next plays New York City Football Club quickly on Saturday in a 9:30 am start for the middle game of their road trip.