SANDY, Utah – Real Salt Lake (1-0-2, 5 points, West #2) drew its 2014 home opener on Saturday, tying Western Conference rival LA Galaxy (0-1-1, 1 point, West #9) 1-1 in front of a sold-out crowd at Rio Tinto Stadium.
FW Alvaro Saborio scored Real Salt Lake’s goal, half-volleying home a FW Joao Plata cross in the 19th minute to put RSL up 1-0. Galaxy FW Robbie Keane equalized 15 minutes later, putting a stamp on a long run with a fine finish from 10 yards out. The match slowed down considerably after Keane’s goal, with neither side registering any clear-cut looks at a winner.
RSL had the game’s first chance, nearly going ahead in just the second minute. LA DF Omar Gonzalez misplayed a ball deep in the Galaxy’s third and Plata pounced, picking up the ball and racing into the area for a 1-v-1 with LA GK Brian Perk. Unfortunately for the Claret-and-Cobalt, Plata couldn’t take advantage of the opportunity, curling his 15-yard right-footer just wide of the right post.
Saborio put RSL on top in the 19th minute. MF Javier Morales played a dangerous free kick short to Plata on the left wing, allowing the Ecuadorian to curl in a gorgeous cross to an unmarked Saborio at the back post. The Costa Rican international made no mistake with his chance, taking an excellent first touch before firing a half-volley inside the far post from five yards out.
Keane brought LA level in the 34th. The Irish international picked up a loose ball on the right side of RSL’s half, making a long run into the box before hitting a 10-yard shot past RSL DF Chris Schuler and GK Nick Rimando and inside the near post.
Plata had to leave the match in the 36th minute due to a left hamstring strain initially suffered in the 28th minute. He was replaced by FW Olmes Garcia, who made his season debut with the appearance.
The second half was a defensive struggle, with the sides combining for just one shot on goal in the final 45. Real Salt Lake had the best chance of the period in the 57th minute, when Perk made a big save to keep things level. RSL MF Ned Grabavoy collected a flicked Saborio header in the area, placing a shot toward the far post that the regular backup ‘keeper – filling in for normal starter GK Jaime Penedo – pushed wide for a corner kick.
Real Salt Lake and LA will meet just once more this season, with the Claret-and-Cobalt traveling to Southern California to take on the Galaxy at StubHub Center on July 12. RSL will return to action next Saturday, when it will host American international Michael Bradley, English international Jermain Defoe and Toronto FC at 7:30 p.m. MT at Rio Tinto Stadium. Tickets are still available to next Saturday’s match and can be purchased at the Rio Tinto Stadium box office, online at www.RealSaltLake.com/Tickets or over the phone at 801-727-2700.
Real Salt Lake Match Notes – RSL 1-1 LA
- Today’s match was the 10th home opener in Real Salt Lake history. Today’s result preserves RSL’s unbeaten record in home openers; RSL is now 4-0-6 all-time in its home openers. RSL is 3-0-3 in its six home openers at Rio Tinto Stadium. This is the second time RSL has hosted LA in a home opener; RSL beat the Galaxy 4-1 at Rio Tinto Stadium on March 26, 2011.
- Today’s sold-out crowd of 20,466 marked RSL’s fifth-consecutive regular season sellout. This is the second-consecutive year and third time in the last four years that Real Salt Lake has sold-out its home opener at Rio Tinto Stadium.
- Real Salt Lake now has an 11-10-6 regular season record against the Galaxy and a 12-12-7 mark against LA when including MLS Cup Playoff matches. With today’s draw, RSL has a 5-3-5 home record against LA in regular season and playoff action.
- RSL FW Alvaro Saborio scored the Claret-and-Cobalt’s only goal today, his first of the 2014 season. RSL is now 36-6-11 when the Costa Rican international finds the back of the net.
- RSL FW Joao Plata recorded his second assist of the 2014 season on Saborio’s 19th minute goal. The Ecuadorian now has two goal and two assists in RSL’s first three regular season matches.
- Real Salt Lake DF Chris Schuler returned to the RSL lineup today, recording his first start and appearance of 2014. Schuler missed RSL’s first two games of the year while recovering from offseason ankle surgery. RSL allowed 19 goals in Schuler’s 21 MLS regular season and MLS Cup Playoff appearances in 2013, good for an average of 0.9 goals per game. The Claret-and-Cobalt allowed 26 goals in the 18 MLS games Schuler missed last year, yielding a 1.44 goals against average.
- Real Salt Lake MF Javier Morales also returned to the Claret-and-Cobalt lineup today after missing last week’s 3-3 draw at San Jose due to a back injury.
- Real Salt Lake Captain Kyle Beckerman continued his climb up the MLS record books today, moving into a tie for sixth-place in MLS history with current New England Revolution Head Coach Jay Heaps by making his 299th career regular season start. Beckerman is in seventh-place in MLS history in minutes played.
- RSL GK Nick Rimando and Beckerman rank first and second, respectively, among active players in regular season minutes played (NR: 31,563; KB: 26,823), games played (NR: 349 KB: 328) and games started (NR: 349; KB: 299). Both players have played in MLS since 2000, when both debuted for the Miami Fusion.
· RSL continued to deal with early season injuries today, as MF Sebastian Velasquez (hamstring), DF Aaron Maund (hamstring), MF Jordan Allen (ankle), DF Kwame Watson-Siriboe (knee), FW Devon Sandoval (foot) and FW Robbie Findley (knee) were missing from the gameday roster due to injury.
REAL SALT LAKE 1–1 LA GALAXY
SATURDAY, MARCH 22, 2014
RIO TINTO STADIUM
Goals by Period 1 2 F
Real Salt Lake 1 0 1
LA Galaxy 1 0 1
RSL – Alvaro Saborio (Joao Plata) – 19’
LA – Robbie Keane (Juninho) – 34’
LA – Stefan Ishizaki (Yellow; Foul) – 18’
RSL – Javier Morales (Yellow; Foul) – 55’
RSL – Alvaro Saborio (Yellow; Foul) – 63’
Real Salt Lake (4-1-2-1-2): Nick Rimando; Tony Beltran, Chris Schuler, Nat Borchers, Chris Wingert; Kyle Beckerman (C), Luis Gil, Ned Grabavoy (Luke Mulholland, 77’), Javier Morales; Alvaro Saborio, Joao Plata (Olmes Garcia, 36’)
Substitutes not used: Jeff Attinella, Abdoulie Mansally, Carlos Salcedo, Cole Grossman, John Stertzer
LA Galaxy (4-4-2): Brian Perk; A.J. DeLaGarza (Leonardo, 72’), Omar Gonzalez, Todd Dunivant, James Riley (Dan Gargan, 33’); Landon Donovan, Juninho, Stefan Ishizaki (Marcelo Sarvas, 70’), Baggio Husidic; Robbie Keane, Rob Friend
Substitutes not used: Brian Rowe, Chandler Hoffman, Samuel Rosa, Gyasi Zardes
Referee: Ismail Elfath
Assistant Referees: Ian Anderson, James Conlee
4th Official: Tyler Ploeger
Weather: Clear and 52 degrees