Real Salt Lake Has Strong Outlook After First Road Test

Mar 4, 2019, 2:27 PM | Updated: 3:51 pm
Courtesy of Real Salt Lake...
Courtesy of Real Salt Lake

SANDY, Utah – Real Salt Lake returned home from Houston with a point under in the standings, yet, somehow it felt like a loss.

Still, a lot of question marks were answered after RSL’s 1-1 draw at Houston.

Everton Luiz got the start alongside Kyle Beckerman in the middle of the pitch. Corey Baird played in his preferred position on the left flank while Damir Kreilach and Albert Rusnak went back and forth between center attacking midfield and striker.

RSL has struggled on the road over the past two seasons under Mike Petke with just seven combined road wins since the 2017 season, thus the expectations for this season were low when it came to picking up points on the road.

However, the players, Petke, and his staff are well aware that if RSL is serious about contending for the MLS Cup, they must pick up points on the road in 2019.

The Point Over The Weekend Was A Victory For RSL

The Houston Dynamo only had 1 shot on goal. That shot led to the only goal of the game for the home side. Real Salt Lake on the other hand had 5 shots on goal.

It was a very entertaining game to watch. The ball was flying from one end to the other with both teams having spurts in which they controlled the tempo and pace of the game.

For the most part, Real Salt Lake seemed to be the more dominant team as they were able to create more dangerous attacks and looked more threatening on goal.

RSL Was The Better Team

The back four played well, limiting the chances and opportunities from the Houston attackers.

Everton Luiz added a ton of experience and flare at center midfield, something RSL has been lacking the last few seasons.

“I thought Everton and Kyle played very well together, when one got a bit more aggressive the other held in the hole which is what we need. I thought Everton had some very good cleanups in terms of tackles and breaking up plays and his distribution was very good out of the back.” Petke said after the game on Luiz’s first MLS start.

Baird and Jefferson Savarino were dangerous all night on either wing, creating many chances throughout the 90-plus minutes of play.

As a result, Rusnak and Kreilach were able to play in space and create opportunities by running at defenders. RSL play its best football when Rusnak and Kreilach have space and time on the ball.

The latest addition to the roster, Sam Johnson, received his first MLS minutes when he came on for Baird in the 67th minute. It was a credit to the Liberian international’s dedication to training, considering he has only been with the team for a matter of weeks.

Johnson added a spark was fearless with his pursuit of the ball and forced the Dynamo to turn it over in their own half a number of times.

“Sam came on a bit late, due to his lack of minutes in pre season. I thought he was dangerous with his pace and his pressure on the defense.” Petke said in his post game press conference about Johnson.

Unsporting Behavior

In the 81st minute Houston Dynamo midfielder, Matias Vera, received his second yellow card for unsporting behavior. Unfortunately, RSL was unable to capitalize with the man advantage.

Real Salt Lake will play at home, for the first time this season, against the Vancouver Whitecaps this Saturday at 4 p.m.

The game will be available to watch live on the KSL TV app.

Vancouver lost to Minnesota United 3-2 at home over the weekend.

  • Real Salt Lake Scoreboard

  • Real Salt Lake Team Leaders

  • Real Salt Lake Standings

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Real Salt Lake Has Strong Outlook After First Road Test