for this game

Second-half surge leads Real Salt Lake past Earthquakes

Jun 1, 2008 - 5:04 AM SALT LAKE CITY (Ticker) - Robbie Findley wasn't even supposed to be on the field. But when starting forward Fabian Espindola went down with an injury, he stepped in and scored a goal for Real Salt Lake in its 3-1 triumph over the visiting San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday.

Findley scored just minutes after coming into the match for Espindola - who succumbed to a sprained left knee - and later assisted on another, as Real Salt Lake (3-5-2) turned a messy, defense-dominated first half into a lopsided victory.

"Everybody wants to start, but when I come off the bench, I try to focus on just giving a little spark to the team, giving some energy," Findley said.

Real's three goals were its most in a game since a 4-0 triumph over D.C. United on April 12, taking advantage of a shorthanded team in the Earthquakes (2-6-1), who were missing leading scorer Kei Kamara and midfielder Ivan Guerrero to their respective national teams.

"I think the guys that came in for (Kamara and Guerrero) did OK," San Jose midfielder Ramiro Corrales said. "I don't think it was that. I think we just lost it a little bit in the second half."

After the two clubs played to a scoreless stalemate at the half, Real Salt Lake's offense came out aggressively after the break, with Findley leading the charge.

"I really felt like we raised our level in the second half and got a lot better," Real Salt Lake midfielder Javier Morales said. "I felt like in the first half, when I missed that (penalty kick), we just didn't respond well. But in the second half, luckily, we were able to recuperate a little bit."

It didn't take long for the effort to pay off. Findley found a seam in the San Jose defense, took a pass from midfielder Javier Morales and got off an open shot from 25 yards out, sliding it just inside the left net past San Jose goalkeeper Joe Cannon.

Twelve minutes later, Findley and Morales reversed roles.

Taking advantage of a lackluster Earthquake defense, Findley delivered a soft pass to a streaking Morales inside the box. Morales waited a few moments before finally committing to the shot, sending a dribbler past Cannon and inside the right corner of the net for a commanding 2-0 lead.

"He's a great player in the midfield, he has great vision," Findley said of Morales. "He's good at giving those balls and moving off of it. When he gave it to me, I saw him move and he deserved the goal, so I gave it right back to him and he finished it off."

In the 73rd minute, San Jose defender Nick Garcia pulled down RSL midfielder Dema Kovalenko just in front of the net, drawing a penalty. Kovalenko drilled a laser inside the left post for a 3-0 lead.

San Jose's John Cunliffe added a goal in the 84th minute to cut the deficit to 3-1, but it was far too little, and far too late for San Jose.

Nick Rimando needed to make just one save for Real Salt Lake. Cannon turned away seven shots for the Earthquakes.