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Onuoha Earns Man Of The Match Honors After RSL’s Tie Against Chicago

Real Salt Lake midfielder Albert Rusnak, second from right, celebrates with teammates after scoring on a penalty kick against the Chicago Fire during the first half of an MLS soccer match Saturday, June 22, 2019, in Bridgeview, Ill. (Kamil Krzaczynski, Associated Press)

SANDY, Utah – Real Salt Lake drew 1-1 against the Chicago Fire at Seatgeek Stadium on Saturday night.

Aleksandar Katai found the back of the net from a free kick in the fifth minute after Nick Rimando guessed the wrong direction and Katai squeezed it into the bottom right hand corner. Fortunately, Albert Rusnak equalized from the penalty spot in the 33rd minute after Chicago midfielder Mohammed Adams made a clumsy hand ball in the box as he was trying to clear the ball.

Getting a point on the road was certainly a victory for RSL, although it was not pretty at times. The second half in particular was dominated by Chicago, the pace and tempo was dictated by Gaitan and the hosts were very unlucky not to score a game winner.

Here is how the players were rated after the loss, on a scale of 0-10.

0-5: The player did not play well or did not get enough minutes to judge performance correctly.

6-7: The player played well, but had moments where they did not make good decisions.

8-9: The player was very impressive, had very few mistakes and offered a lot of production.

10: The player played a perfect game. No mistakes, everything the player touched turned to gold.

Head Coach

Mike Petke, 7
Petke was able to get a point out of a road game, which is a win. Although the team really battled in the second half and were fortunate not to concede a game winning goal. The substitution pattern was better this week as he brought players on with enough time to play themselves into the contest.

Goalkeeper

Nick Rimando, 7
Rimando was at fault for allowing Katai to score from the free kick five minutes into the match. He guessed right, and Katai easily snuck the ball into the bottom left hand corner. Granted, Fire midfielder Dax McCarty did blind Rimando’s view of the kick as he timed his run perfectly across the back of the wall. Outside of that mistake, Rimando was good.

Defenders

Right Back: Aaron Herrera, 6
Herrera struggled throughout the course of the match. His touch was off and he had a hard time reading when the right time was to go forward and when to stay back in defense. He turned the ball over too frequently as well. Onwards and upwards for the young homegrown product!

Center Back: Justen Glad, 8
Glad had a good night, without being spectacular. He was able to control Chicago big man Nemanja Nikolic with the help of his counterpart Nedum Onuoha. Glad’s speed is always a help for RSL’s backline, it showed again over the weekend.

Center Back: Nedum Onuoha, 9
Onuoha was the man of the match. The big English center back controlled the back line and helped RSL run away with a point. Onuoha’s experience is very valuable, the way he is able to communicate with his teammates and organize the field is priceless.

Left Back: Donny Toia, 6
Toia struggled, again. The left back’s touch was poor and his disposal was not good. He has had a hard time finding teammates as of late, turning the ball over in his own half and causing havoc for the rest of the backline. Hopefully he can regain the form he once had a month or so ago.

Center Midfield: Everton Luiz, 8
The Brazilian menace was good against the Fire. Luiz picked off a number of passes which helped RSL catapult into the attack. His tireless work ethic was also promising. Luiz plays a big role in the formation of Mike Petke.

Center Midfield: Kyle Beckerman, 6
Beckerman did not have a very good night. The MLS veteran struggled around the pitch and had a hard time finding teammates in space. Although, he did have some nice moments defensively as he limited the ball movement from Chicago Fire.

Right Wing: Corey Baird, 6
Baird was also disappointing. After being left out of the USMNT Gold Cup squad, Baird was hopeful his performance at club level would make USMNT head coach Greg Berhalter envy of leaving the young American off the roster, but unfortunately Baird has yet to impress. His final touch when running down the right flank has let him down on a number of occasions lately.
Center Attacking Midfield: Albert Rusnak, 7
Rusnak was RSL’s only goalscorer, however the delivery from the Slovakian was suspect at times. Rusnak had a number of occasions where he overshot a cross. Rusnak rarely has two bad games in a row so hopefully he can bounce back against Sporting Kansas City this Saturday evening at Rio Tinto Stadium.
Left Wing: Sebastian Saucedo, 7
Prior to the extended international break, Saucedo was the best player on the pitch night in and night out for RSL. However, against Chicago he was unable to have the impact he was once having. Bofo’s confidence still seems to be high as when he had the ball at his feet he was not afraid to take defenders on and try to make something out of nothing.

Striker

Striker: Damir Kreilach, 7
Kreilach started in the number nine position, a position we have seen him play in the past. Unfortunately, Kreilach did not have much of an impact on the game and struggled to find the ball. There is no question that Kreilach is more comfortable playing in the midfield.

The Bench

Brooks Lennon, 4
Lennon came on in the 70th minute for Sebastian Saucedo and did not have much of an impact. The young homegrown player has been thrown into just about every position this season and is still finding his feet.

Sam Johnson, 5
Johnson came on for Corey Baird in the 76th minute and was effective when holding the ball up. Johnson is still trying to find consistent minutes under Mike Petke but will hopefully impress the boss at training as he is the most dangerous striker RSL have.

Nick Besler, 3
Besler came on in the 83rd minute for Kyle Beckerman with the intention of adding fresh legs to the midfield. Besler was successful in doing so as RSL held onto a point. Still, coming off the bench in the 83rd minute is a tall task for any player, their impact is always almost going to be small.

Next Up

Real Salt Lake return home and take on Sporting Kansas City this Saturday at 8 p.m. The match can be streamed on KSLSports.com, as well as on the KSL TV app.

KSLSports.com in collaboration with Real Salt Lake has launched a new podcast, The RSL Lion’s Den. It is the official Real Salt Lake podcast for all your club news and updates. Tom Hackett, Spencer Warne and RSL’s Director of PR, Matt Gaschk break down the games and discuss important club matters.

To listen to The Lion’s Den, click here. It is available on iTunes, Google Play or wherever podcasts are found. Don’t forget to rate and subscribe!

Head coach Mike Petke and TV analyst Brian Dunseth have launched a new podcast titled “Off The Chest”. The duo discuss all matters of the world game in a entertaining and informative podcast that will be sure to make you laugh.

RSL Schedule
09/29/2019
Houston
1
Real Salt Lake
2
10/06/2019
Real Salt Lake
1
Vancouver
0
10/19/2019
Portland
1
Real Salt Lake
2
10/23/2019
Real Salt Lake
0
Seattle
2
Western Conf. Standings
W-L-T Pts.
Los Angeles FC
21-4-9 72
Seattle
16-10-8 56
Real Salt Lake
16-13-5 53
Minnesota
15-11-8 53
Los Angeles
16-15-3 51
Portland
14-13-7 49
FC Dallas
13-12-9 48
San Jose
13-16-5 44
Colorado
12-16-6 42
Houston
12-18-4 40
Sporting Kansas City
10-16-8 38
Vancouver
8-16-10 34