SANDY — While Real Salt Lake didn’t pick up a full three points on Wednesday night, it certainly took a strong step forward.
Commanding the pitch from start to finish, including a 65.2 percentage clip in possession, Real battled to a 0-0 draw with slumping Seattle in front of a sold-out crowd of 20,363 at Rio Tinto Stadium.
The tie ended Real’s three-match losing streak, giving the Utah side a key point against the Sounders, and moving it within three points of Western Conference table leader San Jose.
Seattle moved to 7-5-6 as its winless streak in Major League Soccer play hit nine consecutive matches. The Sounders have not won a league match since topping FC Dallas 2-0 in May 9.
Real outshot the visitors 11-8, allowing just one shot on frame in 90 minutes.
Seeking to end the slump his team was caught up in, Real boss Jason Kreis elected to start two new faces, Kwame Watson-Siriboe and Kenny Mansally, across the back defensive four, and both more than earned their keep.
Mansally especially was crisp and sharp playing on the left flank, providing key plays while both defending and attacking, until he was subbed off in the 79th minute.
Real also benefitted from the stabilizing return of midfielder Kyle Beckerman to the defensive midfielder role as RSL blistered the Sounders from start to finish with its passing.
Real Salt Lake attempted 485 passes during the match, just less than double Seattle’s 245, and was accurate with 87.4 percent of its attempts.
Perhaps the only dark mark of Real’s stellar play was Fabian Espindola’s 86th minute caution, which means that he will have to miss Saturday’s match with Portland.
The match vs. the Timbers is set to kickoff at 7 p.m. at Rio Tinto Stadium.
• SPORTING KC 3, MONTREAL 1: At Montreal, Kai Kamara and Graham Zusi scored on penalty kicks in the second half Wednesday night, lifting Sporting Kansas City to a victory over the Montreal Impact.
Fans booed through much of the second half after referee Sorin Stoica called Montreal’s Patrice Bernier for an accidental hand ball in the area for one penalty and then awarded another after what looked like incidental contact by captain Davy Arnaud.
After Kamara and Zusi converted from the spot to erase a 1-0 deficit, substitute Jacob Peterson put the match away for Kansas City (10-5-2) with a goal from the right side in the 82nd minute as Sporting ended a two-game skid.
Bernier scored in the 49th minute for Montreal (5-11-3), which lost its third straight.
• UNION 2, GALAXY 1: At Carson, Calif., Michael Farfan scored the tiebreaking goal in the fifth minute of injury time on a beautiful pass from Lionard Pajoy, and Philadelphia stunned Los Angeles.
Chad Barrett tied it with his first goal of the season in the 73rd minute for the Galaxy (6-10-2), who played without David Beckham due to suspension.
Jack McInerney scored in first-half injury time for the Union (4-9-2), who won for just the second time in nine MLS matches.
The defending champion Galaxy had far more good scoring chances, but Farfan set up McInerney’s first-half goal before scoring the winner deep into injury time. Pajoy made a slick back-heel pass on the run to Farfan, who scored through the Galaxy’s defense to silence a large Los Angeles holiday crowd.
• FC DALLAS 1, TORONTO FC 1: At Frisco, Texas, Kevin Hartman made a lunging hand save in the 84th minute to preserve the draw for FC Dallas.
Zach Loyd scored in the fifth minute for FC Dallas (3-9-6). The 38-year-old Hartman, playing in his MLS-record 400th career game, helped the club avoid a loss but it still extended a franchise-record winless streak to 12 matches (0-8-4).
Danny Koevermans tied it for Toronto (2-10-4) in the 31st minute with his ninth of the season.
David Ferreira, who won the 2010 MLS MVP award and led Dallas to that year’s MLS Cup final, returned after a 14-month absence following a broken ankle in April 2011 that required multiple surgeries.
• WHITECAPS 1, RAPIDS 0: At Commerce City, Colo., Darren Mattocks scored in the 43rd minute to lift Vancouver past Colorado.
Mattocks scored his fourth goal of the season on a defensive breakdown and gave Vancouver (8-4-5) its third win in five games and the second-year team’s first victory in Colorado. Joe Cannon, who had 25 shutouts while playing for the Rapids, earned his seventh shutout of the season for the Whitecaps.
Colorado (7-9-1) also lost 1-0 to Vancouver on June 16. The latest loss pushed the Rapids seven points behind the third-place Whitecaps in the Western Conference.