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Real Salt Lake beats winless Toronto FC 3-2
SANDY, Utah (AP) Jonny Steele is forging a reputation for making clutch plays in his first season with Real Salt Lake. If he keeps it up, he might find a way into the starting 11.
Just 10 minutes after entering the game Saturday night, Steele scored a dramatic go-ahead goal in the 93rd minute to give Salt Lake a 3-2 victory over Toronto FC. Steele also had a tying goal in a comeback victory against Portland earlier this season.
"I know that Jonny will want a lot more minutes going forward," coach Jason Kreis said. "If he keeps contributing in that fashion, he'll get more consideration."
For Steele, he is just relishing the chance to be a difference maker after hopping from one team after another during his first eight seasons of pro soccer. The Northern Ireland midfielder simply wants to be someone his team can count on when he is on the field.
"As long as I can contribute something and as long as I can put some hard work in, if the chances come and I take them, then I'll be happy," Steele said.
Steele helped Salt Lake (6-3-1) avoid an embarrassing draw against one of the worst teams in Major League Soccer. Toronto dropped to 0-7, matched the season-opening futility mark set by Kansas City in 1999.
"We just need to keep our heads up," Toronto midfielder Julian de Guzman said. "This is not the time to drop our shoulders. It is not the time to lose our confidence."
Kyle Beckerman also scored for Salt Lake (6-3-1), which took a 2-1 lead in the 57th minute on Richard Eckersley's own goal. Eric Avila and Doneil Henry scored for Toronto.
"We didn't come out and finish the game and we were punished for it," Henry said.
Beckerman opened the scoring in the seventh minute with his third goal of the season.
Javier Morales set the play in motion when he boomed a corner kick to Jamison Olave at the far post. Olave headed the ball back to Chris Schuler at the opposite post. Schuler knocked it down and kicked the ball to Beckerman in front of the goalmouth. The midfielder finished off the pinball play by tapping the ball home.
Toronto had a chance to tie it in the 18th minute after a foul by Olave set up a penalty kick. Torsten Frings took the kick and missed, sending the ball ricocheting off the left post.
Toronto tied it in the 48th minute. Avila juked past Olave and drew Nick Rimando out of the goalmouth. Avila slotted the ball past him and squeezed in inside the right post.
On the own goal in the 57th, Eckersley tried to get to a cross from Fabian Espindola before Alvaro Saborio could reach it. The ball deflected of Eckersley.
Toronto tied it again in the 77th minute. Miguel Aceval served up a corner kick into the center of the box, and Henry sprang up from a crowd of players and headed the ball backward into the corner of the net.
"We were so close to putting this team away," Salt Lake midfielder Will Johnson said. "Then we let them back in twice."
Steele, who substituted for Ned Grabavoy in the 83rd minute, came up with the winning goal 10 minutes after taking the field. Beckerman lunged for the ball and set Steele up at the top of the box. He sent a shot straight down the area and ripped the ball past goalkeeper Milos Kocic.
"It was a great way to finish the game," Beckerman said.
Updated April 29, 2012