CHESTER, Penn. – Real Salt Lake (2-0-4, 10 points, West #3) stayed unbeaten in the 2014 season on Saturday, playing Philadelphia Union (1-1-4, 7 points, East #4) to a wild 2-2 draw at PPL Park.
RSL twice took the lead on Saturday, only to twice allow Philadelphia to equalize. Claret-and-Cobalt MF Luke Mulholland scored the opener in the fifth minute, finishing a rebound after Philadelphia GK Zac MacMath saved RSL FW Alvaro Saborio’s penalty kick. Philadelphia FW Andrew Wenger made it 1-1 in the 55th minute, slotting home MF Vincent Nogueira’s cross to pull the Union level. It looked like Captain Kyle Beckerman stole all three points for RSL with an 85th minute goal, but Union MF Maurice Edu had other ideas, heading home a 90th minute corner kick to make it 2-2.
Saturday’s draw means RSL remains as one of just two unbeaten teams in MLS; Western Conference leaders FC Dallas – which hosts Seattle Sounders FC on Saturday night – are the only other unbeaten side in the league.
Mulholland tapped home a saved Saborio penalty kick to put RSL ahead in the fifth minute. FW Olmes Garcia earned the PK, collecting a Saborio flick just inside the area before getting brought down by Philadelphia DF Austin Berry. Saborio couldn’t convert his spot kick, with MacMath pawing away his effort near the right post. Mulholland raced to collect the rebound, ghosting in on the right side from his position behind several Philadelphia players before side-footing his 10-yard right-footed shot inside the far post.
RSL had a good chance to make it 2-0 in the 11th minute. Mulholland slipped a gorgeous through ball to Garcia on the right side, with the Colombian striker running onto it and firing a shot on frame that MacMath kept out with a fine kick save.
The Union nearly equalized in the 15th minute. Wenger ran onto a bouncing ball in the right side, chipping a 15-yard half volley over RSL GK Jeff Attinella, off the top of the crossbar and out of play.
RSL had another opportunity in the 28th minute. MF Ned Grabavoy found Garcia on the break, with Garcia slipping by a Union defender and streaking into the area before losing control. Saborio pounced on the loose ball inside the area, but couldn’t keep his half-volley on frame, hitting the 15-yard effort well over the bar.
The Claret-and-Cobalt had the final chance of the first half in the 39th minute. MF Javier Morales curled a free kick in from the right side, with Saborio flicking a header to open DF Nat Borchers inside the six. Unfortunately for RSL, Borchers couldn’t quite control Saborio’s header, and the chance dissipated.
Philadelphia equalized early in the second half, with Wenger pulling the Union level in the 55th minute. Philadelphia caught RSL on the break, with Nogueira collecting a ball in transition on the right side before hitting an excellent cross to an open Wenger in the left side of the box. The 2012 MLS SuperDraft No. 1 pick made no mistake with the chance, collecting with his chest and slotting home past an onrushing Attinella.
RSL nearly hit back immediately, with Garcia coming inches away from opening his 2014 account in the 57th minute. Grabavoy chipped a ball over the top to Garcia on the left side, with the 21-year-old forward fighting through traffic to beat the onrushing MacMath to the ball just inside the area. Unfortunately for RSL, Garcia couldn’t quite keep his contested header on target, nodding the bouncing ball just wide of the left post.
Philadelphia had a shout for a penalty in the 71st minute. Edu collected a ball in the box, firing a shot that was blocked by RSL DF Chris Schuler. The rebound fell to Union MF Leo Fernandes in the middle of the area, who was dispossessed by Mulholland, who replays showed had perfectly timed his sliding challenge.
RSL had a huge chance in the 74th minute. Morales slipped Saborio behind the Union defense in the right side of the area, with the Costa Rican international firing a left-footed shot that MacMath kept out with another excellent kick save.
MacMath denied RSL with another big stop in the 78th minute. RSL turned away some Philadelphia pressure to break on the counter, with substitute FW Devon Sandoval eventually getting free in the right side of the area. The second year striker hit a hard, right-footed shot on frame, only for MacMath to parry the 15-yard effort away.
Philadelphia had a chance just one minute later, with substitute FW Conor Casey nearly putting the Union ahead. Substitute MF Cristian Maidana got free on the left side, rolling a cross into the box that Fernandes flicked on with a neat touch from the near post. Casey ran onto the chance at the penalty spot, but couldn’t keep his shot on frame, hitting it well over the bar.
Beckerman gave RSL the lead in the 85th minute. Substitute MF Sebastian Velasquez – making his 2014 debut – started the play, wriggling past a couple of Philadelphia defenders and finding Morales in the right side of the area. Morales slipped past Berry and got to the end line, eventually cutting the ball back to the center of the box. Beckerman ran onto it unmarked, powering a 10-yard right-footer inside the far post with his first touch.
Unfortunately, RSL couldn’t hold its late lead, allowing Edu to equalize in the 90th minute. Maidana curled a corner kick in from the left side that Edu got on the end of, brilliantly flicking a header from the penalty spot off the far post and in.
Casey nearly snatched a winner for Philadelphia in the third and final minute of stoppage time. Again, it was Maidana that created the chance, whipping in a ball from the left side that Casey headed just wide of the near post from the penalty spot.
RSL will return home next Saturday, hosting Portland Timbers at 7:00 p.m. MT at Rio Tinto Stadium in a rematch of the 2013 Western Conference Final series. Tickets to next Saturday’s expected sell-out 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 2-2 PHI
- Today’s 2-2 draw at PPL Park was Real Salt Lake’s only meeting with Philadelphia Union in the MLS regular season. Real Salt Lake remains undefeated against Philadelphia, now posting a 2-0-5 all-time record against the Union. Real Salt Lake has yet to win at PPL Park, with today’s draw its fourth-straight at the stadium. RSL now has a 0-0-4 all-time record in Philly.
- Today’s result continues RSL’s unbeaten start to the season, with the Claret-and-Cobalt now boasting a 2-0-4 record through its first six matches. Real Salt Lake has earned a total of six points from its four road matches played. RSL has earned points in 9 of its last 11 road games across all competitions.
- RSL MF Luke Mulholland earned his second start for the Claret-and-Cobalt today and scored his second goal of the season in the sixth minute. Mulholland started today in place of MF Luis Gil, who did not travel to Philadelphia due to an injury picked up last week against Kansas City.
- The penalty kick awarded to Real Salt Lake in the sixth minute was the Claret-and-Cobalt’s second of the 2014 season. Saborio took the penalty but it was saved by Union GK Zac MacMath, making the Costa Rican international 13-for-15 from the spot in his RSL career. Saborio converted the team’s first penalty of the season in RSL’s 3-0 win over Toronto FC on March 29.
- Today was backup GK Jeff Attinella’s second start and appearance for the Claret-and-Cobalt in 2014. Attinella started last weekend against Sporting Kansas City, earning his second career clean sheet. Attinella has been filling in for injured GK Nick Rimando, who injured his knee in the U.S. Men’s National Team’s 2-2 draw with Mexico on April 2.
- Today’s match marked the return of DF Chris Wingert and DF Tony Beltran to the starting lineup. Both Wingert and Beltran missed last weekend’s 0-0 draw with Sporting Kansas City due to injury.
- RSL MF Sebastian Velasquez today made his first appearance for the Claret-and-Cobalt in 2014, subbing on in the 73rd minute for MF Luke Mulholland. Velasquez has been recovering from a hamstring injury that saw him miss the first five matches of the 2014 season. Velasquez’s appearance made him the 22nd player used by RSL Head Coach Jeff Cassar this season.
- With RSL MF Luis Gil and DF Rich Balchan’s missing today’s match due to injury, RSL now has had 14 players miss at least one game due to injury in 2014. Those 14 players have missed a combined 33 games for the Claret-and-Cobalt this year.
- RSL MF Jordan Allen and FW Benji Lopez were called up to the U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team on Wednesday to participate in the Dallas Cup tournament and were not available for today’s match.
- Wenger's 55th minute goal ended RSL's 291-minute shutout streak. Prior to Wenger's equalizer, the last goal RSL had conceded came in the 34th minute of the team's 1-1 draw against LA Galaxy at Rio Tinto Stadium on March 22.
REAL SALT LAKE 2–2 PHILADELPHIA UNION
SATURDAY, APRIL 12, 2014
Goals by Period 1 2 F
Real Salt Lake 1 1 2
Philadelphia Union 0 2 2
RSL – Luke Mulholland – 6’
PHI – Andrew Wenger (Vincent Nogueira) – 55’
RSL – Kyle Beckerman (Javier Morales) – 85’
PHI – Maurice Edu (Cristian Maidana) – 90’
Real Salt Lake (4-1-2-1-2): Jeff Attinella; Tony Beltran, Chris Schuler, Nat Borchers, Chris Wingert; Kyle Beckerman (C), Luke Mulholland (Sebastian Velasquez, 73’), Ned Grabavoy, Javier Morales; Alvaro Saborio, Olmes Garcia (Devon Sandoval, 68’)
Substitutes not used: Lalo Fernandez; Carlos Salcedo, Abdoulie Mansally; Cole Grossman, John Stertzer
Philadelphia Union (4-2-3-1): Zac MacMath; Sheanon Williams, Amobi Okugo, Austin Berry, Raymon Gaddis; Maurice Edu, Brian Carroll (Cristian Maidana, 76’), Sebastien Le Toux (Conor Casey, 74’), Vincent Nogueira, Leonardo Fernandes; Andrew Wenger (Antoine Hoppenot, 86’)
Substitutes not used: Brian Holt; Aaron Wheeler, Corben Bone, Michael Lahoud
Referee: Alan Kelly
Assistant Referees: Adam Wienckowski, Brian Dunn
4th Official: Silviu Petrescu
Weather: Clear and 72 degrees