Aaron Maund scored the go-ahead goal in the 51st minute and Real Salt Lake beat New York City FC 2-1 on a snowy Wednesday night at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy.
Real Salt Lake (3-7-2) snapped a four-game losing streak, while NYC (5-4-2) had its three-game undefeated streak snapped.
“Mentality was what went right tonight,” RSL head coach Mike Petke said. “That was a big part of it. Again, I’ll go back because you could look at score-lines over the last three, four games. A lot of them, except one of them, it’s not indicative of the actual match. Their mentality was different tonight.
Albert Rusnak tied it at 1 for RSL in the 38th minute on Jefferson Savarino’s first MLS assist. Savarino cut back his defender, rolled it across the top of the 18-yard box and Rusnak settled it for a shot from distance. Rusnak’s corner kick in the 51st was headed in by Maund.
“We talk every week about being careful at the back and not being sloppy especially at the start of the game,” Rusnak said. “The first goal is crucial in a game, it sets the tone and today we give up another one. But let’s forget about that goal. Let’s just enjoy the win. We have another game in two days at Seattle so from now on we should start thinking about that game.”
NYC opened the scoring in the fourth minute to extend its scoring streak to 10 games. RSL’s deflected back pass fell to Sean Okoli’s feet and he dribbled between two defenders to the edge of the six-yard box for a sliding finish inside the far post. It was his first MLS goal.
However, that was the only goal RSL goalkeeper Nick Rimando conceded. With his save in the 27th minute — the 1,476 of his career — Rimando moved into first place in the all-time MLS save list.
“I want to congratulate Nick Rimando for becoming the all-time saves leader tonight,” Petke said. “I believe it was the last category that he didn’t dominate, so we’re very excited and proud of him.”
Rimando was much more concerned with helping his team pick up three much-needed points.
“Albert said it, three points is the most important,” Rimando said. “As long as I have been playing records are going to come. Yes, it is special to me, but the three points is the most important right now. We have been fighting and wanting this win. The last four games has been rough for us. We have been putting in the work so the work showed today, even though we went down 1-0. I saw the pride that we took and we have got to take that confidence to Seattle and not worry about that goal, like Albert said.”