REAL SALT LAKE

Real Salt Lake Picks Up Point On The Road

Sep 30, 2018, 6:12 PM | Updated: Oct 9, 2018, 6:48 pm
Photo courtesy of Real Salt Lake Facebook Page...
Photo courtesy of Real Salt Lake Facebook Page

KANSAS CITY, Kan. – RSL stays above the critical playoff line, picking up one point on the road in a 1-1 draw with Sporting Kansas City.

Real Salt Lake Starting Strong

Forward Corey Baird gave RSL the early 1-0 lead after scoring in the ninth minute as forward Jefferson Savarino slotted the ball to Baird who beat SKC goalkeeper Tim Melia.

The rookie from Escondido, California talked about scoring his seventh goal of the season.

“(Jefferson) Savarino was driving through the middle of the field and whenever him, (Joao) Plata, Albert (Rusnak), or Damir (Kreilach) make runs, I’m just looking to make runs off them,” says Baird. “These guys are phenomenal passers. They can thread that ball and a great ball from Savarino made it easy for me,” he added.

RSL continued the attack in the first half as they out-shot Sporting 9-3, and kept the 1-0 lead going into the locker room.

Second Half Defense

Real Salt Lake’s back line was tested in the second half as goalkeeper Nick Rimando made multiple key saves. One came in the 48th minute as Rimando made a swipe with his right hand to keep the ball out of the back of the net as SKC midfielder Graham Zusi deflected the ball off the frame.

RSL allowed the equalizer in the 52nd minute as Kansas City forward Johnny Russell created the opportunity on a corner kick, connecting with defender Ike Opara, leveling the match at one apiece.

The other save happened in the 87th minute as Zusi sent the ball into the box to forward Diego Rubio and aimed toward the far post. Rimando saved the ball with his foot and then smothered the rebound to keep the match level.

RSL head coach Mike Petke talked about picking up the critical point on the road.

“This point was massive, 100% massive for us. Guys put everything, everything in there,” he said. “The game plan, obviously we knew we were going to be under it a lot. That’s credit to Kansas City, especially here at this stadium. This environment is unbelievable,” Petke added.

Rusnak Comes Off The Bench

The Slovakian midfielder entered the game in the 61st minute after missing training on Saturday but arrived in Kansas City later in the day due to a personal matter.

According to FOX Soccer Analyst Stu Holden, Rusnak arrived late because he was negotiating a new contract with Real Salt Lake.

Nothing official has been announced by the club, but more information on the deal was given by Sam Stejskal of mlssoccer.com.

The Playoff Race

With the draw against Sporting Kansas City, RSL remains in sixth and final spot in the Western Conference, two points behind the Portland Timbers for fourth place and two points ahead of the seventh place LA Galaxy.

Petke is confident in his team as they chase for a position in the MLS Cup Playoffs.

“We’re above the playoff line. We’ve been there for four and a half months. It’s in our hands now,” he said. “If we do what we have to do, then we will be okay. I’m not really score checking at this point.”

Real Salt Lake will return to Rio Tinto Stadium on Saturday when they host the Portland Timbers at 7:30 p.m.

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Real Salt Lake Picks Up Point On The Road