Joao Plata scored his first goal of the season, and Real Salt Lake beat Philadelphia, 1-0, on Saturday night in Sandy to snap the Union's club-record winning streak at four games.
RSL sustained the majority of the possession and created numerous chances in the first half before Plata got his goal. Plata scored in the 36th minute after quickly exchanging short passes twice with Jefferson Savarino. Tony Beltran got the play started by saving the ball just before it went over the goal line.
“I had some words with Plata over the last couple of weeks over a goal will come, and once the goal comes then it will open up a bit for more goals to come,” RSL head coach Mike Petke said. “He was getting frustrated, and I didn’t want the frustration to affect his game and I am very happy that he got the goal tonight because he deserved it. He played a hell of a game and now this is going to do something a bit more for his confidence.”
The Union (4-5-5) had a chance to tie it in stoppage time, but goalie Nick Rimando blocked Haris Medunjanin's belt-high free kick, and Salt Lake (4-8-2) cleared it after a scramble in front of the net.
The second half, much like the first, saw RSL hold the majority of the possession and chances created as the backline stood firm. Rimando had three saves to earn his 132nd career shutout and third of the season en-route to the win.
Union goalkeeper Andre Blake made seven saves.
“I think it is more satisfying, the 1-0 game, the shutout and holding on and showing character, grinding it out at certain points,” Petke said. “I thought the first half we played some of our best soccer at times, I even thought the second half at times as well. We managed the game well and that was a big thing that we talked about coming into this, about managing the first 15 minutes specifically because of the last month and half of giving up early goals and making mental mistakes.”
RSL will head south for a Texas two-step as they take on the Houston Dynamo on May 31 and then will travel to Toyota Stadium to take on FC Dallas for the second time in 2017 on June 3.