Since opening in 2008, Rio Tinto Stadium — home of Real Salt Lake — has been one of the most difficult places to play in Major League Soccer.
And one of England’s top clubs found that out Monday night as Manchester United found itself down in the first half against RSL, a team that was coming off an impressive 6-2 victory over the Los Angeles Galaxy on the Fourth of July.
In the 23rd minute, RSL’s Jefferson Savarino played a perfect pass to Luis Silva who managed to beat his defender and used his left foot to poke a shot past the keeper to score the game’s opening goal.
But that seemed to awaken the sleeping giant as the soccer power answered right back with goals from Henrikh Mkhitaryan (29th minute) and Romelu Lukaku (38th minute) to take a 2-1 lead into the half. The goal was Lukaku’s first for United and proved to be the winning goal.
RSL had a number of chances in the second half after United was forced to play with 10-men due to a red card, but couldn’t put it all together as RSL fell 2-1 at home. After subbing his starters in the 30th minute, RSL head coach Mike Petke gave his youngsters a chance to play against some of the world’s best.
RSL will return to MLS action on Wednesday as the team goes on the road to take on Portland, before returning home to host the West’s league-leader in Sporting Kansas City.