Seattle, WA – Real Salt Lake cemented its place atop the Western Conference for another week as its 1-0 defeat of Seattle Sounders FC at CenturyLink Field on Saturday saw the club improve to an MLS-best 26 points on the season.
The Claret and Cobalt entered the weekend in the top spot, a position that they will retain after Fabian Espindola's 51st-minute strike extended their unbeaten run to five games.
Real Salt Lake (8-3-2) goes four points ahead of the second-place San Jose Earthquakes - the 'Quakes have three games in hand, one of which will be played Sunday against Chivas USA. Seattle (7-2-1) suffers just its second lost of the season, a defeat that snaps its five-game winning streak and six-game unbeaten run.
The Sounders had the better running of the opening period on Saturday, but it was all for naught as they failed to stick one past Nick Rimando.
Their inefficiency in front of goal came back to haunt them as Real Salt Lake grabbed the lead early in the second half. Luis Gil chipped a through ball over the Seattle defense and Espindola powered a sneaky effort off the bounce and into the back of the net, catching Sounders goalkeeper Bryan Meredith off guard.
Salt Lake never looked back as a stout defensive performance in a tough road environment guided the club to all three points.
Seattle heads into an important Cascadia Cup match at Vancouver Whitecaps FC next Saturday, while Real Salt Lake will enjoy a week off before returning to action against FC Dallas at Rio Tinto Stadium on May 26.