SANDY -- The Rio Tinto momentum has proplled Real Salt Lake to the top spot in the West.
Kyle Beckerman scored a goal right before halftime and Robbie Findley added another immediately after it to lift Real Salt Lake to a 2-0 victory over the Seattle Sounders on Saturday night at Rio Tinto Stadium.
The win vaulted RSL (9-5-3) into first place into the Western Conference. Seattle (6-5-3) lost for just the second time in its past nine MLS matches.
"I am really, really pleased," said RSL coach Jason Kreis. "To score two goals, get the shutout at home, and to keep the momentum going is exactly what we were looking for.
" I hope to ride this momentum for the rest of the season," he added.
Seattle finished the match with a total of two shots. RSL tallied 17, putting six on the net.
Salt Lake has scored two or more goals in five consecutive matches. RSL has 27 goals in its last 10 games across all competitions this season, registering eight wins during that same stretch.
"We knew this (home stretch) was critical. We knew had to get the next three. We took them one at a time, building momentum and doing a good job," Beckerman said.
The string of victories includes a pair in U.S. Open Cup play, with a quarterfinal matchup with the NASL Carolina Railhawks up next on Wednesday evening at Rio Tinto.
"It's a big one. We need to keep reminding ourselves, that if we get complacement we will lose," Beckerman said. "We need to keep the momentum going on Wednesday.
Beckerman put Salt Lake on the board in the 41st minute after cleaning up a deflected free kick by Javier Morales. The ball bounced off a defender and took a hop out to Beckerman on the right side of the box. He cleaned it up perfectly, sliding a half-volley under to the crossbar.
Seattle had no shots on goal and did not create a single shot period during the first half.
Salt Lake created a much bigger hole for the Sounders right after halftime. Findley gave RSL a two-goal lead in the 46th minute on a second-chance goal after his initial shot was saved.
Findley tracked down a deep pass from Morales and fired a right-footer just outside the 6-yard box. Seattle goalkeeper Michael Gspurning cleared the ball out to Khari Stephenson, who flicked ahead to Findley again. He launched another shot just outside the right upper corner of the box. This time, he threaded the ball inside the left post.
The Sounders struggled to mount a comeback because they could do hardly anything against a stiff RSL defense. They did not create their first shot of the game until Mario Martinez curled the ball from the right side of the box at RSL goalkeeper Nick Rimando in the 73rd minute.
Seattle finished the match with a total of two shots. RSL tallied 17 shots, putting six on frame.
One key for RSL's success has been the play of young players Carlos Saucedo, Olmes Garcia and Khari Stevenson. Saucedo is in the spotlight after injuries to Kwame Watson-Siriboe and Chris Schuler.
"Carlos has been doing a great job, and he's done that since day one," Beckerman said. "He's proven that he belongs."
* FIRE 2, CREW 1: At Columbus, Ohio, Mike Magee had the winning goal and Joel Lindpere had two assists to help the Chicago Fire rally in the second half for a victory over Columbus.
Lindpere found former Crew midfielder Dilly Duka at the far post for a right-footed stab that tied the game 1-1 in the 52nd minute.
Two minutes later, Lindpere assisted on Magee's 10th goal, sending a cross into the box that Magee chested into the goal.
Magee has scored in four league matches and six straight in all competitions since being acquired from Los Angeles in May.
The Fire (5-7-3) are 3-0-2 in their past five matches and have won six of the past seven against the Crew.
Federico Higuain scored on a penalty kick in the seventh minute for Columbus (5-6-5).
* FC DALLAS 2, SPORTKING KC 2: At Frisco, Texas, Andrew Jacobson and Walker Zimmerman scored in the final two minutes of regulation to lift FC Dallas into the tie.
Jacobson scored in the 88th minute and Zimmerman followed with his first career MLS goal in the 90th to cap the stunning comeback for Dallas (8-3-5), which remains unbeaten at home this season at 7-0-2.
Dallas remains atop the Western Conference standings, despite winning just once in its last five matches (1-2-2).
After Kei Kamara's penalty kick goal in the 43rd minute and an own goal in the 58th, Kansas City (6-5-5) seemed to be in good shape, even after going down to 10 men following C.J. Sapong's ejection in the 68th minute.
Dallas nearly won it in stoppage time, but Kenny Cooper's 20-yard blast curled just wide of the right goal post.
* D.C. UNITED 1, EARTHQUAKES 0: At Washington, Chris Pontius converted a minute penalty kick in the 11th minute and D.C. United (2-11-3) snapped a 13-game winless streak with its first victory since March 9.
San Jose (4-7-6) was shut out for the third time in four games and has failed to score in each of its seven losses this season.
* TORONTO FC 0, DYNAMO 0: At Houston, Joe Bendik stopped four shots for Toronto FC and Tally Hall made three saves for Houston in the scoreless draw.
Houston (6-5-5) is winless in six games, while Toronto FC (2-7-6) extended its unbeaten streak to three games.