SANDY, Utah | John Stertzer and Alvaro Saborio played spoiler as New York City FC lost 2-0 to Real Salt Lake in front of 20,801 on Saturday night at Rio Tinto Stadium.
Sterzer’s first-career goal put the home side up 1-0 in the 25th minute, while Saborio’s header doubled Real Salt Lake’s advantage in the 49th minute.
New York City FC drops to 1-7-4 (7 points), while Real Salt Lake improves to 4-3-5 (17 points).
Devon Sandoval headed a ball to the left corner of the box that was rushed onto by Stertzer, who proceeded to slot it into the low far corner of the net for a one-goal advantage.
It was the eighth goal allowed by New York City FC in the first 30 minutes of matches this season.
The Club trailed 1-0 at the break.
Captain David Villa came close to the equalizer one minute into the second half, cutting inside from the left corner of the 18-yard box, but his curling right-footed effort barely went over the top far corner of the net.
Three minutes later Real Salt Lake doubled their advantage.
Midfielder Luke Mulholland crossed in an enticing ball toward the 6-yard box and Saborio found space in between a pair of defenders and headed it home for a 2-0 lead in the 49th minute.
The home side had the better chances in the match’s early minutes.
In the eighth minute, Chris Wingert’s header went into a dangerous area and was rushed onto Sandoval, but goalkeeper Josh Saunders reacted quickly to slide tackle the RSL forward. The veteran ’keeper was called upon seven minutes later, denying Sandoval yet again.
Saborio helped on a ball over the top toward Sandoval. Saunders hesitated at first then came out and made himself big to reject Sandoval’s right-footed attempt to keep the match scoreless.
New York City FC then had a pair of opportunities to take the advantage.
In the 17th minute, Villa took a free kick and directed the ball to Mix Diskerud. The midfielder made a nifty cut to evade a defender, but his right-footed effort went off the crossbar. Three minutes later, Villa was instrumental again, laying a ball off to Patrick Mullins, but his left-footed attempt was high and wide.
Saunders, who had four saves, denied Saborio’s rocket free kick in the 39th minute. Real Salt Lake was given a spot kick in a great opportunity – just outside the 18-yard box after a hand ball by Shay Facey – but the goalkeeper punched away Saborio’s line-drive effort. The rebound dangerously fell toward Sandoval, but Saunders latched onto it.
New York City FC returns to action against the Houston Dynamo on May 30. Kickoff is 7 p.m. EDT from Yankee Stadium.
- New York City FC head coach Jason Kreis made his return to Rio Tinto Stadium tonight. Kreis coached Real Salt Lake from 2007 to 2013, including the club’s 2009 MLS Cup win.
- Connor Brandt, the 23rd overall pick in the 2015 MLS SuperDraft, made his MLS debut in the 81stminute for New York City FC.
- New York City FC and Real Salt Lake both had 12 shots each.
- Patrick Mullins and captain David Villa partnered together in the attack for the second consecutive match.
Post Game Quotes
Head Coach Jason Kreis
On what RSL was doing to apply pressure
“I think they were better with the ball. I think in the first half they were not as good with the ball as I would typically expect. I think it opened them up to allow us to be on the ball a bit more.”
On the emotions of the game
“It was odd. It was definitely odd to be on the other side of the bench, the other side of the field. It was odd to look out at all those players and see that they were opponents and not my players. But that was really about it. Obviously I think a terrific crowd again, great atmosphere for a game. I tried to enjoy it as much as I could and certainly that’s not going to be much when you lose 2-0.”
On being back at Rio Tinto Stadium
“It has been nice to be here for a few days. In a lot of ways it was my home for nine years. I met a lot of fantastic people, did a lot of things here that I have to be proud of. And that I’ll remember for the rest of my life.”
NYC FC defender Chris Wingert
On New York City FC moving forward
“Go home and try to keep improving and try and win next weekend. We’re obviously not where we’d like to be. We’re finding it really hard to come by some good results so we have got to get back to work this week and try to have a better performance next week against Houston.”
On being back at Rio Tinto Stadium
“It was a little bit strange. The visitors locker room, and not to be coming out of the tunnel with those guys. But it was nice to be back besides the result. Obviously it was really disappointing for our group. But besides that it was nice to be back here and see everybody, and just get a minute to thank the fans.”