The Lone Star drought is finally over.
After going winless in 22 matches in Texas, including an 0-11-2 mark against FC Dallas, Real Salt Lake received goals from Javier Morales, Ned Grabavoy and Olmes Garcia to extend its unbeaten streak across all competitions to 11 straight games with a 3-0 victory.
RSL continued to show its incredible depth when backup goalkeeper Josh Saunders went down with what appeared to be a serious knee injury early in the second half. 3rd string goalie Jeff Attinella stepped in and made two big saves in his MLS debut to help preserve the victory.
"I'm pleased," said head coach Jason Kreis. "I'm pleased that the guys continue to believe, pleased that we get contributions with guys off the bench. Another player enters our team tonight in Jeff Attinella and comes in and does a fantastic job. So, I'm just really pleased with this group right now. I couldn't be happier."
"Honestly, I really don't know how to feel right now," said Attinella, who may be RSL's goalkeeper for the next few games until Nick Rimando returns from the U.S. Men's National Team. "Josh went down in the first half, and he was having a great game. I was just excited that our team got that insurance goal."
Javier Morales scored the first goal of the game on a beautiful shot that went between the legs of defender Zach Loyd and into the corner of the net. It was Morales' 5th goal of the season.
After originally injuring his knee in the first half, Saunders tried to play through the pain in the second half, but collapsed on the field after a goal kick. The pain brought Saunders to tears as he exited the match. He was diagnosed with a sprained knee and will have an MRI on Monday.
Enter Attinella, who was up to the challenge, making two big saves in his first MLS game.
Attinella had some breathing room to work with when Ned Grabavoy gathered a pass from Kenny Mansally and blasted in his 4th goal of the season, giving RSL a 2-0 lead.
Olmes Garcia capped the scoring with his 5th goal of the year after Joao Plata whiffed on a pass from Luis Gil in the 90th minute.
"For me, it just comes down to work, belief and togetherness," Kreis said. "The camaraderie and the fellowship in this group right now is just second to none. Whether they're starting the game or not, there is no holding their heads down. They know they're going to contribute in some fashion. That's what it takes in this league, and that's what it takes for Real Salt Lake in particular."
Real Salt Lake (11-5-4) still hasn't lost a match since May 11th. RSL now has 37 points as it extends its lead over FC Dallas in the Western Conference to six points.
RSL next returns home to battle the first place team in the Eastern Conference, Sporting Kansas City, Saturday, July 20th. The game will start at 7:30 p.m. and be televised by CW30.