Real Salt Lake Impress In Opening MLS Is Back Tournament Fixture

Jul 12, 2020, 10:40 PM | Updated: Jul 13, 2020, 10:47 am

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Real Salt Lake has secured their first three points of the MLS Is Back tournament following a 2-0 victory over arch-rivals Colorado Rapids. Goals from Albert Rusnak in the first half and Damir Kreilach in the second half secured a comfortable win in the hot and humid Orlando, Florida heat.

First Half Domination

Rusnak’s 27th-minute opening goal came following a dangerous cross from Douglas Martinez that warranted an attempted save from Rapids goalkeeper Clint Irwin, the deflection fell to the feet of Rusnak who was sitting all alone at the penalty spot. Rusnak swiped at the ball with his right foot, making poor contact, nonetheless, two deflections later and RSL found themselves up 1-0 midway through the first half.

Real Salt Lake dominated all aspects of the game throughout the first 45 minutes of play, dominating 55 percent possession while adding 5 shots to Colorado’s 2 at the main break.

The second half began with the Rapids starting to find more possession. However, unfortunately, their possession never threatened Zac MacMath and the RSL goal. Heavy touches were frequently to blame for the sloppy ball movement, specifically in the attacking third, for the Rapids.

Icing On The Cake

RSL was able to steady the ship, and in the 70th-minute RSL was gifted a penalty after Martinez was fouled by the Rapids keeper. Rusnak pushed the shot to his right, an easy save was made. The score remained 1-0 RSL.

That then changed in the 76th minute when Corey Baird played a through ball onto the right peg of Damir Kreilach who slotted the ball into the bottom left corner, beating Clint Irwin and extending the lead to 2-0.

It was a very impressive display from RSL, especially considering their last competitive fixture came on March 7. Notwithstanding a few minutes to begin the second half, RSL dominated the tempo, possession and chances throughout the 90 minutes.

Next Opponent

RSL will next play on Friday, July 17 against fellow Group D foe’s Minnesota United. Minnesota beat Sporting Kansas City 2-1 in their opening game of the tournament after two stoppage-time goals gave the Loons the three points at the death.

Tom Hackett is a Utah and Real Salt Lake Insider for and host of the It’s Utah’s World Podcast (Utah Football themed) and The Lion’s Den Podcast (Real Salt Lake themed). Follow him on Twitter: @TomCantHackett.

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