Salt Lake take control of play-off semi
Real Salt Lake took a big step towards reaching the Major Soccer League Western Conference final after easing to a 3-0 victory over Seattle Sounders in their play-off semi-final first leg.
Jason Kreis' men could barely have wished for a better situation heading into the second leg, with Alvaro Saborio's brace (41 and 53) having put them in command at Rio Tinto Satadium.
Salt Lake did not allow a single shot on goal in the 90 minutes and, when substitute Ned Grabavoy scored with a minute left the game, and perhaps the tie, was over.
"We wanted to make a 90-plus effort tonight," Salt Lake goalkeeper Nick Rimando said. "We know we get our offensive chances when we play good defense."
Salt Lake controlled possession and pressed the attack throughout much of the first half. The aggressive play resulted in some early scoring chances.
Saborio finally took advantage in the 42nd minute. With goalkeeper Kasey Keller out of position, Saborio took a pass from Chris Wingert and tapped the ball across the line.
Saborio doubled his side's lead in the 53rd minute, taking a pass from Javier Morales after a throw-in and flicking the ball around Seattle defender Jeff Parke with a back heel and finishing with aplomb.
"I'm so happy he put himself in the right spot," Wingert said. "He's a guy that can step up like that and score a couple of goals like that in big games."
Grabavoy capped off the scoring in the 89th minute when he tracked down a poorly cleared ball, shook off a defender and slotted the ball inside the right post.