Nat Borchers scored on a header in the 54th minute and Real Salt Lake won its fourth straight match with a 1-0 victory over Sporting Kansas City on Saturday night.
Salt Lake (14-7-6) is in third place in the Western Conference behind Los Angeles and Seattle.
By halftime, Sporting KC and RSL combined for 18 fouls and a pair of yellow cards.
"It was the most boring game I've been a part of in my life," Salt Lake midfielder Kyle Beckerman said. "There was no rhythm to the game. There was no soccer played. Just a bunch of free kicks. It wasn't fun."
RSL had been struggling offensively until Beckerman sent a free kick into the penalty box as Borchers streaked toward the right post and Borchers drove the ball home.
"It's almost like Kyle and I drew it up like basketball, like an inbounds play," Borchers said. "I just made sure I curled my run and he hit the perfect ball."
Kansas City (10-9-10) pressed its attack throughout the first half and kept Salt Lake from really getting into its usual possession game.
It nearly paid off in the 24th minute when Aurelien Collin tracked down a loose ball inside the 6-yard box and tried to slip a right-footer past Nick Rimando. The Salt Lake goalkeeper came up with a huge save, going down to the bottom left corner to bat the ball away.
RSL coach Jason Kreis said his team anticipated a physical match and it affected how the players approached things in the early stages.
"We just weren't good enough with the ball," Kreis said. "I felt like we were really rushed in our decisions. We weren't calm enough to be willing to play through their team."
The teams combined for 34 fouls and four yellow cards in all. Kreis felt surviving this type of game showed his team can win in multiple ways.
"It sends a message to the rest of the league that if a brawl is going to break out or there's going to be a wrestling match, we can win it that way too," Kreis said.