Plata scores 11th goal of season; Real Salt Lake leaps Seattle in Western Conference, 2-1

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SANDY, Utah — Joao Plata scored his 11th goal of the season and Real Salt Lake beat the Seattle Sounders 2-1 on Saturday to take the top spot in the Western Conference.

Salt Lake (11-4-9) moved one point ahead of Seattle (13-7-2) with its third straight victory.

After a scoreless first half, Salt Lake scored twice in a four-minute span at the start of the second. Plata, the shortest player in MLS, headed in a goal for a second consecutive game in the 53rd minute. Luke Mulholland made it 2-0 with a goal that was originally called an own goal.

Chad Barrett scored for Seattle in the 72nd minute after a wild sequence. Clint Dempsey's close-range attempt was blocked and Andy Rose's rebound header went off the post. Barrett finally put it past goalkeeper Nick Rimando, spoiling his bid for a third straight shutout.

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