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RSL runs riot in Rio Tinto
by Ridge Mahoney, August 27th, 2009 7AM



[MLS] Real Salt Lake pumped some life into its playoff quest by beating Chivas USA, 4-0, Wednesday at Rio Tinto as three players shared the goals. Team top scorer Robbie Findley added two late goals after Pablo Campos opened the scoring in the 43rd minute and Fabian Espinola's clincher with 15 minutes left.


Outshot, 16-6, Chivas lost goalkeeper Zach Thornton, who came off at halftime with a right quad strain that appeared to be aggravation of a similar injury he suffered during All-Star Game in late July on the same field.

Campos, acquired in a trade with San Jose last month, got his first RSL goal on a feed from Espindola, whose ball Campos drilled between Thornton and the post. RSL had already threatened repeatedly; three sharp saves by Thornton thwarted Will Johnson, who tested him twice from close range and once with a free kick.

Lance Parker replaced Thornton for the second half and RSL prompted most of the play, though a floated ball by Sacha Kljestan dropped into a breakaway lane for Maykel Galindo, whose shot to the far post skipped past it. A run by Johnson up the flank past Carey Talley produced a clear chance he hit wide, but a dozen minutes later, Espindola didn't miss.

Espindola came up the left, cut past Talley into the penalty area and fired high into the corner, setting the stage for substitute Findley (for Campos in the 66th minute) to finish off the night. He outraced the defense to a ball from Chris Wingert to score in the 85th minute, and added his 10th of the season five minutes later.

With only its second win since the All-Star break, RSL (8-9-6, 30 points) nevertheless joins three other teams - New England and Toronto FC, both Eastern Conference teams, and nearest rival Colorado - as those bunched with 30 points and in the 7-8-9-10 slots amid the 15 teams. The cutoff is eighth, with the only top two teams in each conference guaranteed a spot and the next four up for grabs.

Chivas (10-8-3, 33 points) remains tied for third with Seattle and has still played two fewer games than the Sounders, as well as the second-place Galaxy, which is just two points ahead. The chasing pack of 30-pointers is close behind.

Aug. 26 in Sandy, Utah
Real Salt Lake 4, Chivas USA 0.
Campos (Beckerman, Findley) 3, Espindola 75, Findley (Wingert) 85, Findley (Mathis) 90.
Real Salt Lake -- Rimando, Wingert, Borchers, Olave, Beltran, Beckerman (Grabavoy 78), Williams, Johnson, El Khalifi (Mathis, 53), Campos (Findley 66), Fabian Espindola.
Chivas USA -- Thornton (Parker 46), Trujillo (Galindo 46), Bornstein, Talley, Jazic, Nagamura, Marsch (Stepanovic 71), Padilla, Saragosa, Kljestan, Maicon Santos.
Referee: Terry Vaughn.
Att: 14,747.


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