This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2016, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Bronx, N.Y. • Real Salt Lake used three second-half goals to close out its five-game road stretch with a 3-2 victory over NYCFC.
By winning for the first time since a 3-1 triumph at Sporting Kansas City on May 21, Real Salt Lake finished its road trip at 2-3-0.
RSL (7-4-2, third place in the Western Conference), which was coached by assistant Richie Williams following Jeff Cassar's dismissal during a loss to Columbus on May 28, could gather little momentum in an NYCFC-dominated first half. They played deep and tentatively. At the half, the coaching staff changed the approach.
"I thought we started out the second half on the right foot," said Cassar, who watched from the media box. "We applied some pressure, created some opportunities … cleaned things up in the back."
NYCFC's Jack Harrison, the number one pick in the MLS Super Draft by the Chicago Fire and later dealt to NYCFC, made his first start, scoring the game's first goal in the 51st minute. Harrison rolled past two RSL defenders and flicked a left-footed shot through the legs of Justin Glad and past keeper Nick Rimando.
Real Salt Lake answered in the 59th minute, when Yuri Movsisyan took a pass from Sunday Stephen, spun NYCFC defender Andoni Iraola around, and fired it past Josh Saunders.
In a 67th minute, off of a free kick from Javier Morales, an NYCFC header fell to Burrito Martinez. Martinez's right-footed shot deflected off of NYCFC defender RJ Allen and into the goal.
It became 3-1 in the 74th minute, when Morales's cross struck sliding NYCFC defender Frederic Brilliant, skidding into the net for an own goal.
David Villa's penalty kick in the 87th minute made it 3-2.
Aaron Maund preserved the win, clearing away a dangerous ball bound for Villa late.
Cassar expressed concerns about the team's continued turnovers.
"[Turnovers were still a factor] but they didn't hurt us as much as they did at Columbus," said Cassar. "We talked about not playing sideways and negative balls. We played more direct in the second half; it's a credit to the players for doing it and the coaching staff."
Given the dimensions of the field at Yankee Stadium the pitch is 110 yards by 70 yards, making it the most narrow pitch in Major League Soccer it's easy to get hemmed in. In the first half, RSL played very deeply, but changed its approach in the second half.
"In the first half we were a little too deep," said Morales. "In the second half we were able to stretch the field a little bit more."
"The field is so small that you have to spread them out a little and play behind," said Chris Wingert, who played for NYCFC (4-5-6, fourth place in the Eastern Conference) last season.
R Real Salt Lake closes its stretch of five games away from home with a 3-2 victory over NYCFC, giving RSL a 2-3-0 record in the games.
• RSL's goals all come in the second half, when adjustments at the break lead to more aggressive play.
• Because of his dismissal at Columbus on May 28, RSL coach Jeff Cassar has to watch the match from the media box.