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MLS: RSL routs Sounders in opener

Alvaro Saborio scored twice and Real Salt Lake came out winners in their Major League Soccer playoff opener Saturday, routing visiting Seattle, 3-0, in the first leg of the most widely anticipated first-round series.

Saborio finished a Chris Wingert feed in the 41st minute, on a play in which he appeared offside, then scored a glorious second goal in the 53rd, backheeling into the net Javier Morales' ball to the near post despite blanket coverage by Sounders defender Jeff Parke.

Ned Grabavoy added the third in the 88th.

Real Salt Lake finished third in MLS's overall standings, and Seattle was second. The winner of the the home-and-home, total-goals series will meet the Galaxy or New York in the Nov. 6 Western Conference final.

Both of Real Salt Lake's central defenders -- Jamison Olave (quad strain) and Nat Borchers (knee strain) -- departed with injuries, and their statuses for Wednesday's second leg in Seattle are uncertain.

The Sounders should be facing more of a handicap than just a three-goal deficit. Osvaldo Alonso should have been red-carded for shoving Saborio in the face away from the ball in the 54th minute, but referee Mark Geiger pulled out the yellow card. The league could assess a suspension for the second leg.

  • SATURDAY'S SUMMARY

Rio Tinto Stadium (Sandy, Utah)

Real Salt Lake 3, Seattle Sounders 0

RSL -- Alvaro Saborio (Chris Wingert, Javier Morales) 41

RSL -- Alvaro Saborio (Javier Morales) 53

RSL -- Ned Grabavoy 88

Real Salt Lake: Nick Rimando; Robbie Russell, Jamison Olave (Chris Schuler, 32), Nat Borchers (Luis Gil, 84), Chris Wingert; Andy Williams, Kyle Beckerman, Javier Morales (Ned Grabavoy, 79), Will Johnson; Alvaro Saborio, Fabian Espindola.

Seattle Sounders: Kasey Keller; James Riley, Jeff Parke, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Leo Gonzalez; Lamar Neagle (Erik Friberg, 60), Osvaldo Alonso, Brad Evans, Alvaro Fernandez (Roger Levesque, 77); Sammy Ochoa (Mike Fucito, 63), Fredy Montero.

Yellow cards: Espindola 30, Alonso 54, Montero 91+, Friberg 93+.

Referee: Mark Geiger. Att.: 17,067.

  • PLAYOFF SCHEDULE

FIRST ROUND, FIRST LEG

Saturday

Real Salt Lake 3 (Saborio 41, 53, Grabavoy 88), Seattle 0

Sunday

Galaxy at New York, noon (ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes)

Houston at Philadelphia, 2 p.m. (ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes)

Sporting Kansas City at Colorado, 6:30 p.m. (Fox Soccer Channel)

FIRST ROUND, SECOND LEG

Wednesday

Colorado at Sporting Kansas City, 5 p.m. (Fox Soccer Channel)

Real Salt Lake at Seattle, 7 p.m. (ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes)

Thursday

Philadelphia at Houston, 5:30 p.m. (ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes)

New York vs. Galaxy at Home Depot Center (Carson), 8 p.m. (ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes)

CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIPS

Sunday, Nov. 6

Western or Eastern final, 2:30 p.m. (Fox Soccer Channel)

Western or Eastern final, time TBA (ESPN or ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes)

MLS CUP 2011

Sunday, Nov. 20

At Home Depot Center (Carson), 7 p.m. (ESPN and Galavision)

PREVIOUS ROUNDS

WILD CARDS

Wednesday, Oct. 26

FC Dallas 0, New York 1 (Lindpere 61)

Thursday, Oct. 27

Colorado 1 (Cummings 45), Columbus 0