Real Salt Lake defender Jamison Olave scored in the 85th minute to sour the professional debut of goalkeeper Tyler Miller and the Seattle Sounders lost their second straight game of the young season 2-1 on Saturday at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah.
Olave leapt in front of Miller on a Juan Manuel Martinez cross to nod home the winner for RSL, who erased a 1-0 deficit to win their fifth straight game over the Sounders at Rio Tinto Stadium.
Midfielder Osvaldo Alonso scored his first regular-season goal in nearly four years in the 29th minute for the Sounders (0-2-0, 0 pts.), who once again played without two injured starters and lost two more during the course of the match on Saturday. Miller – who turned 23 years old on Saturday – started in place of veteran Stefan Frei (elbow inflammation) and played admirably in his debut before Olave’s goal decided the final result.
Offseason pickup and Nigerian midfielder Sunny also scored for RSL on a wide-open header off a corner kick in the 42nd minute.
Alonso’s goal came on a picture-perfect buildup for the Sounders down the left side. Defender Joevin Jones sailed a cross in from the flank to the foot of striker Nelson Valdez, but RSL goalkeeper Nick Rimando parried the shot away. The ball landed on the foot of Alonso, who calmly buried the volley at the back post for his first regular-season goal since July 28, 2012.
The Sounders controlled much of the flow in the first half and nearly scored on a handful of other occasions. The best of those came off the foot of a Valdez bicycle kick in the 12th minute and a thumping header from Chad Marshall in the 34th that was steered away by Rimando.
Those missed chances came back to haunt the Sounders, however, who allowed Sunny to blast an unmarked header into the back of the net for the equalizer, the third time in four games across all competitions this year the Sounders have allowed a goal in the final five minutes of the first half.
Neither team seriously threatened to score in the second half until the goal from Olave, who scored just his second goal since 2013.
The Sounders battled injuries for the second time in as many games in the loss, missing both Frei and center back Brad Evans, who continues to recover from a shoulder injury suffered in the season opener on March 6.
Midfielder Erik Friberg returned to the lineup after clearing the league-mandated concussion protocol earlier this week, but his day didn’t last long. He went down with a knee injury in the 14th minute after a tackle on RSL’s Jordan Allen and had to be replaced by second-year midfielder Cristian Roldan.
Jordan Morris also had to be pulled in the 76th minute after he banged heads with RSL defender Chris Wingert, replaced by Darwin Jones.
Jones nearly found the equalizer in the waning minutes of a cross from fellow sub Aaron Kovar, but the chance went begging and sealed the Sounders’ second loss of the young season. This marks just the second time in Sounders history that the club has lost the first two games of the MLS season (2011).
The Sounders return to action at home against Vancouver Whitecaps FC on Saturday, March 19.
Seattle Sounders FC 1 – Real Salt Lake 2
Saturday, March 12, 2016
Venue: Rio Tinto Stadium (Sandy, Utah)
Referee: Juan Guzman
Assistants: Corey Rockwell, Mike Kampmeinert
Fourth Official: Allen Chapman
Weather: 61 degrees and mostly cloudy
SEA – Osvaldo Alonso 28’
RSL – Sunny (Joao Plata) 43’
RSL – Jamison Olave (Juan Manuel Martinez, Joao Plata)
SEA – Erik Friberg (caution) 13’
SEA – Zach Scott (caution) 35’
SEA – Joevin Jones (caution) 38’
RSL – Kyle Beckerman (caution) 73’
SEA – Clint Dempsey (caution) 88’
LINEUPS & STATS
Seattle Sounders FC – Tyler Miller; Tyrone Mears, Zach Scott, Chad Marshall, Joevin Jones; Osvaldo Alonso, Erik Friberg (Cristian Roldan 18’), Andreas Ivanschitz; Jordan Morris (Darwin Jones 76’), Nelson Valdez (Aaron Kovar 90’+2’), Clint Dempsey
Substitutes not used: Charlie Lyon, Dylan Remick, Tony Alfaro, Nathan Sturgis
Total shots: 7 (Dempsey/Valdez, 2)
Shots on goal: 3 (3 players tied at 1)
Fouls: 11 (Dempsey, 4)
Offside: 4 (Valdez, 2)
Corner-kicks: 8 (Ivanschitz, 8)
Saves: 2 (Miller, 2)
Real Salt Lake – Nick Rimando; Tony Beltran, Jamison Olave, Aaron Maund, Chris Wingert; Sunny, Kyle Beckerman, Juan Manuel Martinez, Jordan Allen (Olmes Garcia 81’), Yura Movsisyan (Yura Movsisyan 89’)
Substitutes not used: Jeff Attinella, Justen Glad, John Sterzer, Luke Mulholland, Omar Holness
Total shots: 12 (Beckerman, 3)
Shots on goal: 4 (4 players tied at 1)
Fouls: 14 (Beckerman, 4)
Offside: 2 (Movsisyan, 2)
Corner-kicks: 5 (Plata, 4)
Saves: 2 (Rimando, 2)