Home letdown strikes again

By By Jon Gilbert

By Jon Gilbert

Alecko Eskandarian and Jeff Cunningham took turns stabbing at their former teams-but it was Cunningham’s squad that walked away with three points.

Real Salt Lake returned to its losing ways Wednesday night at Rice-Eccles Stadium, dropping a 2-1 decision to Toronto FC.

Collin Samuel scored the game-winning goal in the 79th minute on a penalty kick when he placed the ball in the upper right corner of the net. The shot came after RSL’s Jean-Martial Kipre fouled Samuel just inside the penalty box-much to the chagrin of the Real faithful.

RSL controlled the flow of the first half by creating chances on the offensive end and taking advantage of Toronto FC fouls. The result led to five first-half shots from Real, compared with Toronto’s two.

Despite RSL’s ability to command the pace of the game, Cunningham rattled home his sixth goal of the season in the 19th minute after Danny Dichio chipped the ball ahead for the assist.

Cunningham fired a shot from 15 feet out that banged off the right post and crossed the full plane of the goal while RSL held its collective breath. The ball then bounced off the left post and into the net.

“There was no luck involved,” Cunningham said. “I knew it was going in when I kicked it.”

The scoring in the first half did not stop there.

Eskandarian drew a foul against his former team in the 44th minute. Chris Pozniak earned a yellow card for taking down Eskandarian at the top of the penalty box after the RSL forward sliced through three Toronto defenders.

On the ensuing penalty kick, Eskandarian evened the score by netting his first MLS goal with Real.

“I am extremely disappointed,” said RSL head coach Jason Kreis. “We had a fantastic crowd out there tonight and I felt the boys were ready for it.”

Though Cunningham was busy scoring his third goal of the season for his new team, he made his presence felt beyond the score sheet, as well.

As the end of the first half drew near, Cunningham got tangled up with Andy Williams. Cunningham received a yellow card for his part in the skirmish, but the incident didn’t end there. Cunningham and Williams proceeded to the locker room, giving small pushes back and forth while trading words.

“I love Andy Williams,” Cunningham said after the game. “He and I’ll hang out after the game.”

Tyler Cobb

Former RSL forward Jeff Cunningham celebrates with his Toronto FC teammates after scoring the first of Toronto’s two goals Wednesday to beat RSL 2-1.