Real Salt Lake upsets River Plate 4-2 at Dallas Cup XXXVI

Published Monday, March 30, 2015 5:14 PM by William Montero

Welcome to Matchday 2 of Super Group play at Dallas Cup XXXVI.  The noon game featured Real Salt Lake against Valencia CF from Spain.  This was a huge game.  Basically a knockout match in Bracket B as only the winner of this game would have a chance to advance to the Friday semifinal round.  A draw would send both teams packing.

Neither side showed particularly well on Sunday.  Real Salt Lake were looking to rebound from a disappointing opening day 3-1 loss to Brazilians Cortiba while Valencia limped to a 2-2 draw with Tigres in a match where they were thoroughly outplayed by the Mexican side.  Monday offered a chance at redemption for both and boy would RSL shine.

Valencia created the first chance of the match as Javier Mora Zarzo chipped a nicely weighted ball over to Franco Federico whose volley from just outside the 18 missed just wide of the left post.  The chances kept coming for the Spaniards as a MLS-hit cross from Elvio Gelmini looped over RSL keeper Luis Barraza and came off the crossbar.  A minute later Sanchez blew the bet chance so far as he rolled wide after being one v one with Barraza.  Valencia the better side, but still scoreless.

Then lightning struck in the 18th minute as Real Salt Lake scored on their first decent attack of the match.  A ball was slipped to Amar Sejdic who cut inside onto his right foot and fired into the Valencia net.  Completely against the run of play, but RSL had a lead to protect.  Two minutes later and the lead was doubled as Jose Hernandez raced into the box and finished with class.  Valencia were now crying over the missed early chances.

The whooping was on as Real Salt Lake scored again in the 26th minute making it 3-0 via Damian German.  Valencia had completely lost composure spending more time yelling at the referee than actually playing soccer at that point.  The top team in Spain had plenty of work to do to get back in this one.

That work started in the 31st minute as Fran Villalba smashed home from 15 yards out.  Only a  minute later and they almost had another as a ball was crushed off the crossbar.  A fight back was possibly in the cards as Valencia were clearly focused now and going right at RSL. 

It was shortlived though. Real Salt Lake took back control of the game just before halftime as Damian German finished a cross from a Amar Sejdic free kick.  RSL dominating with a 4-1 lead at the break.

The second half started with a horrible call from the referee.  As even he seemed confused/embarrassed after blowing the whistle.  Finally he awarded Valencia a penalty kick as the entire crowd shook their heads.  Justice was served though as the River shooter blazed the spot kick over the crossbar.

Valencia did manage to pull one back in the 65th as Javier Zarzo Mora fired one home from the top of the 18. Still plenty of time for Valencia.  Credit to RSL though as they expertly saw out the final minutes of the match and claimed the impressive 4-2 victory.