CARSON, Calif. – The Claret-and-Cobalt picked up right where they left off.
Fabian Espindola scored twice and a Will Johnson added a late tally as Real Salt Lake stayed at the top of the Major League Soccer table with a convincing 3-0 result against CD Chivas USA on Saturday night at the Home Depot Center.
Real Salt Lake improved to a 10-3-2, extending its unbeaten run to seven consecutive matches, and successfully shaking off the rust of not having played a competitive match since May 29.
Espindola’s brace was his third multi-goal match in 108 career MLS matches in an RSL uniform.
His first strike, a blistering header in the 41st minute, came courtesy of a high-arcing cross from midfielder Kyle Beckerman at the edge of the attacking third. The ball floated over the Goats’ defense to Espindola, who cut in front of Chivas’ goalkeeper for the finish.
Beckerman again helped start the sequence that result in the second goal, sliding the ball to midfielder Ned Grabavoy, who hit Espindola with a through ball. Espindola latched on and juked a Chivas defender from 10-yards out on the right angle before slotting the ball to the far post to make it 2-0.
Midfielder Will Johnson, making his return after international duty with the Canadian national team, put a final point of emphasis on the blowout win in the third minute of stoppage time, slicing a left-to-right shot past Kennedy after latching on to a short pass from Javier Morales from 15-yards out.
Espindola’s two-goal performance was the 32nd time an RSL player has scored two or more goals in a match, with the team holding a commanding 25-3-4 record in those contests.
Real returns home on Wednesday to face defending MLS Cup champion Los Angeles for the second time this season. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. at Rio Tinto Stadium.