Not until the regular season begins can it be ascertained if Real Salt Lake is indeed for real, but it couldn't have done much else during the preseason to be convincing.
RSL knocked off Toronto FC, 2-1, Saturday at the Carolina Challenge Cup to win the competition title with a perfect 3-0 record and up its preseason mark to 6-1-1. TFC went down a man after conceding goals to Yura Movsisyan and Clint Mathis in the first 20 minutes and trailed the rest of the way though it got a goal back from Dwayne De Rosario before halftime.
Rookie Stefan Freistarted in the nets and despite conceding those two quick goals kept TFC in the match with a few sharp saves. Yet he could do nothing to stop Movsisyan in the sixth minute when a chip from Javier Morales over the Toronto back line sent the striker clear to shoot low inside the post. Robbie Findley, whose pace and guile caused TFC plenty of problems, broke free into the penalty area to hit a centering pass that Mathis smacked into the net.
"I thought it was a fantastic start," Real Salt Lake coach Jason Kreis said. "We were giving them all kinds of trouble. Some of the troubles we gave them, I think, ended up resulting in getting their player ejected. They were having trouble with our two forwards all night."
Harmse took his second yellow when he took down Morales, who hit the post with his ensuing free kick, and from the rebound Frei saved a shot by Findley. TFC also lost defender Adrian Serioux a few minutes later to a shoulder injury but still managed to get a goal in the 38th minute. Jamison Olave's foul on Chad Barrett provided the opportunity for Amado Guevara, whose shot was headed off the line by Chris Wingert to Carl Robinson, who put it back into the middle for De Rosario to stick into the net.
In the second half, Frei saved from Mathis, and Kyle Beckerman shot over the crossbar. Barrett headed wide from a De Rosario cross with 20 minutes left and in the 85th minute Guevara sent a free kick into the net but an offside call against Fuad Ibrahimnullified the goal.
D.C. United, which lost to RSL and TFC in its first two matches at the CCC, got goals from Luciano Emilio and midfielder Andrew Jacobson to beat the host Charleston Battery, 2-0.
RSL is the only MLS team that won't open league play next week; instead RSL hosts Austin Aztex (USL-1) Saturday at Rio Tinto Stadium. Toronto opens on the road at Kansas City and D.C. heads to Home Depot Center for a game against its former head coach, Bruce Arena, and the Galaxy.
March 14 in Charleston, S.C.
Real Salt Lake 2, Toronto FC 1. Goals: Movsisyan (Morales) 6, Mathis (Findley) 20; DeRosario (Robinson) 38.
Real Salt Lake -Rimando, Beltran (Cox 82), Olave, Horst, Wingert, Johnson, Mathis (Grabavoy 64), Beckerman, Morales (Williams 71), Findley, Movsisyan ( Escalada 79).
Toronto FC --Frei, Wynne, Harmse, Serioux (Velez 26), Brennan, Ricketts (Cronin 54), Robinson, Guevara, De Rosario (Sanyang 89), Vitti (Dichio 71), Barrett (Ibrahim 82).