SANDY, Utah — Real Salt Lake will advance to the playoffs for the seventh straight time after they delivered a defeat to the San Jose Earthquakes while at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy Saturday night.
RSL took the lead in the 24th minute as midfielder Ned Grabavoy took a shot from the outside that found the bottom right corner of the goal.
“I can’t remember who it played off of or how it came out,” Grabavoy stated. “Usually, they’re bouncing around a little bit, so you’ve got to try to get over the top it, but that one seemed to be almost rolling, like a pass – which was great so my eyes lit up a little bit. There was little bit of traffic in there, but I just tried to get it rolling on frame.”
Four minutes later, that lead was doubled as midfielder Sebastian Velasquez connected with midfielder Luke Mulholland’s corner kick at close range to make it 2-0 in the 28th minute.
The Earthquakes had no answer, and the 2-0 lead would stand the rest of the match. In their previous match ups, RSL and San Jose concluded with a draw, with a score of 3-3 on March 15 and a score of 1-1 on August 30.
With the win, RSL joins Seattle Sounders FC and LA Galaxy as the Western Conference teams guranteed a spot in the 2014 MLS Cup Playoffs. RSL’s seven straight playoff appearance gives them the longest such streak currently going in Major League Soccer, according to a press release from the team.
RSL Head Coach Jeff Cassar stated he was pleased for his team after they qualified, and he said the season has been a success so far but that they aren’t done yet.
“If you would have said ‘would you take 52 points’ at the beginning of the year, I would have jumped at it,” he stated in a press release. “Super pleased where we are at. We have some business to finish up at the end of the year, we have a lot to play for still, and now it’s getting ourselves ready to head into the playoffs and position ourselves right.”
The team improves to 14-8-10 and has 52 points, putting them in third place in the conference. San Jose’s record now stands at 6-15-11 with 29 points, placing them at the No. 8 spot.
Earthquakes Head Coach Mark Watson said they fought hard until the end.
“The one thing I’ll say about our guys is that I thought they fought right until the end,” he stated. “There’s tons of things that go against you and reasons you shouldn’t win the game, but in the end we weren’t good enough on the night. But our guys kept going to the end so I’m proud of them for that.”
RSL will take the field next in Oregon, when they take on the Portland Timbers on October 17. The game is scheduled to begin at 8 p.m. MT.