SALT LAKE CITY — Coming off Sunday’s loss to Los Angeles FC, and with losses in three of the team’s last six games, Real Salt Lake had hopes of turning things around against the Seattle Sounders Wednesday night.
As center back Justen Glad told the Deseret News, “Everyone on this team hates losing, so coming off a result like that” — RSL lost to LAFC 3-1 — “we want to shift the momentum.”
The Sounders were not the ideal opponent to do that against, however, what with their Western Conference-leading eight wins this season, as well as their status as arguably the best team in MLS.
“In my opinion, (Seattle is) one of the best teams in the league right now,” RSL coach Freddy Juarez said.
He was proven right, as RSL lost to Seattle 2-1 and fell to 4-6-6 on the year.
Sounders’ striker Jordan Morris and defender Yeimar Gómez each netted a goal for Seattle.
Morris netted the game’s first goal, finishing off a cross by Cristian Roldan in the 28th minute of the first half.
Morris appeared to score even earlier in the game, a mere 45 seconds in, but that score was called back due to his being offside.
His actual goal capped off what was a strong first half for the Sounders, who largely got what they wanted from their attack and threatened RSL repeatedly.
Toward the end of the half, though, Real Salt Lake started to gain a little momentum and the team was optimistic headed into the break.
“I think we just have to stay patient, disciplined and stay with the game plan. The last 15 minutes we got on the ball more,” midfielder Justin Portillo said in his halftime interview with KMYU’s Samantha Yarock. “We just have to keep working, give each other support.”
Portillo proved a little too optimistic as the second half was more of the same, especially early on. Just minutes after play resumed, Seattle had created multiple viable scoring opportunities, as Roldan and Will Bruin each had point blank shots after going unmarked in the box.
While those attempts proved ineffectual, Gómez’s did not. He broke through in the 60th minute, heading in a corner taken by Nicolás Lodeiro.
At that point, everything seemed to be going in Seattle’s favor, that is until the 68th minute, when Sounders’ defensive back Nouhou Tolo erred, scoring an own goal.
That miscue enabled RSL to pull within a goal and shifted momentum back in the visitor’s favor.
“I thought the effort was there from everyone,” midfielder Kyle Beckerman said in a postgame interview with Yarock. “You expect that.”
Over the final 20 minutes of play, Real Salt Lake eagerly sought the draw, but ultimately failed to secure the final breakthrough needed to earn much needed points (RSL currently is outside of the playoff picture, holding down ninth place in the Western Conference).
“We came up against a really good team,” Beckerman said. “Nothing to hang our heads down (about). We came up against a really good team and there are positives to take away.
“This isn’t the greatest time for us result-wise, but we have to keep trying to improve, keep grinding and see if we can do better the next game.”
That game will come Saturday night, when Real Salt Lake takes on the Vancouver Whitecaps at 8 p.m.