Sounders Frustrate Real Salt Lake In Highly Entertaining Stalemate

Apr 29, 2023, 9:34 PM | Updated: 9:34 pm


Real Salt Lake pose for a pregame photo on April 29 at America First Field against the Seattle Sounders. (Photo courtesy Real Salt Lake/Laura Deardenn)

(Photo courtesy Real Salt Lake/Laura Deardenn)

SALT LAKE CITY – Real Salt Lake and the Seattle Sounders played to a scoreless draw much to the frustration of the home crowd.

The point marked the first draw of the season for Real Salt Lake while extending their unbeaten streak against Seattle in Utah to 13 games. The last Sounders victory in Utah occurred in 2011.

Changes To The Starting XI For Real Salt Lake

Manager Pablo Mastroeni was forced into a handful of changes to the starting XI following injuries to Jasper Löffelsend and Bode Hidalgo. Löffelsend sustained an ankle injury on Thursday at training while Hidalgo was a late scratch due to a hamstring issue pregame.

Bryan Vera returned from the hip contusion that dragged him from the first half against San Jose a week ago and replaced Hidalgo at right-back while Scott Caldwell replaced Löffelsend and played alongside Pablo Ruiz in the heart of the midfield.

Brian Schmetzer and Seattle played a full strength lineup that included former Real Salt Lake captain Albert Rusnak in the midfield alongside Joao Paulo. Nicholas Lodeiro, Jordan Morris, Léo Chú and Héber at the point of the attack.

Former Real Salt Lake midfielder Kelyn Rowe has recently transitioned to left-back, where he was targetted frequently throughout the course of the match.

As expected, Seattle and its firepower dominated the possession in the opening half but failed to capitalize with any clear-cut goal-scoring opportunities. Real Salt Lake was clearly attempting to find the games opening goal on the counter attack, and frequented Kelyn Rowe as their preferred player to expose. Jefferson Savarino and Andrés Gómez interchanged looking to feast on Rowe at left-back. 

Minutes into the second half Seattle produced the first ample opportunity of the game when Alex Roldán fired in a cross that found the head of Jordan Morris but his glancing header flashed wide of the back post.

An Upset Home Crowd

The 20,714 in attendance, which happened to be the clubs 12th largest crowd in club history at America First Field, began growing in frustration with the referee who was asserting his authority at any opportunity given.

Sounders left-winger, Chú, was the first to receive treatment from the home crowd following multiple challenges where he went to the ground relatively easily.

Nonetheless, Mastroeni made the first chess move of the game when he introduced Braian Ojeda and Bertin Jacquesson into the game replacing Caldwell and Musovski respectively.

Jacquesson, who was born in France, joined Real Salt Lake via the 16th pick in the 2023 MLS SuperDraft. Since joining the club, he led Real Salt Lake in goals throughout the preseason and has left a lasting impression with the coaching staff. He is quickly asserting himself into the rotation. He started the midweek fixture against USL Championship side Las Vegas Knights.

In the 67th minute Real Salt Lake could have gone ahead when Gómez sprayed a left footed volley over the bar following a wonderful service from Oviedo on his non-preffered right boot. 

The noise throughout America First Field grew as the home crowd cheered for their beloved Real Salt Lake to find the games opening goals. With every corner the noise increased. Every Sounders player collapsed in pain following standard challenges the jeers echoed in strength.

Chants of “We Want Kreilach” from the supporters section began in the 79th minute and seconds later the club captain took off his purple substitute’s bib and ran to the bench to receive guidance.

He replaced Rubin who played an important role throughout the 80 minutes he received as he chased down every ball and provided a useful option in the attacking third. It was arguably the most consistent game of Rubio’s 2023 campaign to date.

Following the three minutes of extra time shown, Ruiz was shown his second yellow for a challenge on Lodeiro and Real Salt Lake was down to 10 men.

Fortunately, Real Salt Lake held on and picked up its first point of the 2023 season.

Next Match

Real Salt Lake will next travel to Houston for a date with the Dynamo on Saturday, May 6. Kickoff is slated for 6:30 p.m.

The fixture will be broadcast via Apple TV and will be heard via the Real Salt Lake Radio Network on KSL Sports.

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Sounders Frustrate Real Salt Lake In Highly Entertaining Stalemate