SANDY, Utah (AP)—Real Salt Lake took an early lead on a first-half penalty by Paulo Jr. and coasted to a 1-0 victory over the Montreal Impact on Wednesday night in its first game since a dramatic comeback win over Portland.
Impact (0-4-1) was held scoreless for the third time in five games this season. Salt Lake (4-1) did not allow a shot on goal during the entire first half.
“We weren’t playing that great of soccer, but we were creating chances,” RSL defender Tony Beltran said. “To be fair, we could have put the game away a little bit earlier and cut down some of their momentum. That wasn’t the case and we made it a little harder on ourselves.”
RSL got on the scoreboard in the 13th minute. Justin Braun committed a handball while attempting to deflect a header by Will Johnson inside the penalty area. Paulo Jr. slotted the attempt inside the right post.
Real Salt Lake coach Jason Kreis felt that his team didn’t dictate tempo or control possession enough, and that passes lacked crispness.
“I expect and demand a better effort from our guys,” Kreis said. “I’m quite confident we’ll get it.”
The action was much more subdued than when Salt Lake scored twice after the 89th minute to beat the Portland Timbers 3-2 Saturday.
“That’s what matters in the end—you get three points,” RSL goalkeeper Nick Rimando said. “Sometimes (the games) are ugly and that was definitely the case tonight. Everybody can put their hand up and say they could be better. But what’s more important is we got three points.”