Tuesday , March 18, 2014 - 1:21 PM
When Alvaro Saborio calmly headed home Terukazu Tanaka's cross from the corner, Real Salt Lake looked to have taken firm command of its clash with FC Dallas after a fairly uninspiring opening hour.
A goal advantage against the rapidly sinking Hoops in the friendly confines of Rio Tinto Stadium, was a seemingly safe bet with just a half-hour to play.
Turns out it wasn't all that safe, as those final 30 minutes, and a few of stoppage time, became a breakneck race to the finish line.
"(It was) a little bit of mayhem after two letdowns," midfielder Ned Grabavoy said. "It's frustrating to keep giving up leads, so it's crazy to react that quickly and go for it and get it back. I think it's great to show that our team can win games that way."
The whipsaw from excitement to frustration, from elation to exasperation, and then finally jubilation was a breathtaking finish that had fans, coaches and players buzzing long after Nat Borchers' wild goal scoring celebration faded.
"Oh, to be a season ticket hold right now ... we're giving them their money's worth for sure," Salt Lake boss Jason Kreis said. "Another crazy game tonight. Dallas played really hard, there was no giving up for them, and that made our night difficult for sure."
While dramatic finishes have become the norm in recent weeks, the Utah side, however, is cognizant of the need to finish matches a little stronger, putting the clamps down so that teams don't have an opportunity to get back in matches, and have it come down to waning seconds of injury time.
"Obviously any time you win, it's good; it's exciting the way we're winning at the moment," midfielder Will Johnson said. "We probably just need to be a little more professional finishing up games, because we can't rely on an injury time winner every week."
With the international window now open, Real won't face another league match until June 16 when it travels to Carson, Calif., to take on Chivas.
Open Cup contest on deck tonight
Real Salt Lake makes its third-round entrance into the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup tonight against Minnesota Stars FC.
Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. at Rio Tinto Stadium against the North American Soccer League (Tier 2) side.
"With this break that we have, we need games, so it's an opportunity for us to win this first round, and get ourselves another game," Kreis said. "I'm going to put out the best lineup that we have possible, which some teams wouldn't do, but I think is very important. We need to try and succeed in this tournament, because we haven't before."
Outlaws heating up
The Ogden Outlaws enjoyed a strong home stand over the weekend, gaining four points against two Southwest Division sides. With the results, Ogden (1-2-1) matched its second-best start in franchise history, set in 2008 and 2010. Ogden plays in the Premier Development League, which is the second tier of the United Soccer Leagues, and the fourth tier on the U.S. Soccer organizational chart, behind Major League Soccer and two levels of professional soccer.
WPSL kicks off
The Women's Premier Soccer League recently kicked off its season, with three teams from the Beehive State competing in the 74-team league.
In-state rivals Salt Lake United and Utah Starzz played have already played twice, including a 1-0 win by United at Rio Tinto Stadium on Saturday.
Seven members of Salt Lake United are current or former Weber State players, including Rebecca Ritchie, Ashley (Wood) Milliron, Ari (Wood) Aki, Alyssa Amano, Chelsea Wallis, Collette (Simmons) Cosgrove, and Lindsay Ortgiesen.
You can follow Justin Johnson on Twitter at: @jjohnson801 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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