SANDY, Utah (Saturday, April 9, 2022) – In front of a sold-out crowd at Rio Tinto Stadium, Real Salt Lake (3-1-2, 12 points)drew 2-2 at home to Eastern Conference power Toronto FC to remain unbeaten at home. 20,136 attended as RSL surpassed capacity for three consecutive matches to start a season for the first time since 2015.
Captain Damir Kreilach – making his first start since Feb. 27 at Houston due to a persistent calf injury - and forward Justin Meram each scored their first goals of the season, but a late-game comeback from Toronto split the points.
On a night celebrating his 300th regular season appearance, Meram kept his name front and center, slamming home a goal from outside the 18-yard-box in the seventh minute after cutting back and forth through two defenders to curl his shot into the upper right corner of goal. Meram appeared to announce that he and his wife are expecting an addition to their young family with his goal celebration.
RSL nearly doubled its lead 30 seconds later when Pablo Ruiz found himself unmarked at the top of the box, but his shot skipped just wide of goal. However, Toronto FC was able to equalize two minutes later when Kobi Thompson hit in in a cross from Jacob Shaffelburg.
As the first half rolled on the Claret-and-Cobalt took charge, pressing Toronto’s backline as the team looked to retake the lead with several chances falling wide of goal. In the 43rd minute the chips finally fell RSL’s way as Maikel Chang chipped a cross into Kreilach, who chested it down before smashing it into the back of the net, to take the 2-1 lead heading into the halftime break.
Real Salt Lake continued to press at the start of the second half as Meram and Cordova pressed the attack with multiple shots, but neither was able to secure a shot on frame. After a controversial tackle that saw the play go to Video Assisted Review, Toronto equalized in the 79th minute on a right-footed shot from Jayden Nelson, the call was not overturned and the goal would go on to stand.
Both sides fought to take the lead, with Toronto defender and former RSL Homegrown Carlos Salcedo earning a straight red card in the 86th minute. With a man up, RSL forward Bobby Wood broke away from the defense, but pushed his shot wide, ending the game in a 2-2 draw.
Toronto earned a point on Utah soil for just the third time in 12 attempts, RSL boasting a 9-1-2 (W-L-T) all-time, all competitions record against TFC.
UP NEXT: Real Salt Lake heads back on the road for a two-game road swing, first at New York City FC on Sunday, April 17 at 11:00 p.m. MT before returning West to take on Portland Timbers FC at Providence Park on Saturday, April 23 at 8:00 p.m. MT. In between the two matches RSL will begin its quest for the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup against USL League One side Northern Colorado Hailstorm FC on Wednesday, April 20 with kickoff from Rio Tinto Stadium at 7:30 p.m. MT.
GOAL SCORING RUNDOWN
RSL: Justin Meram (Sergio Cordova), 7th minute: Cordova found an oncoming Meram, who received the pass, cutting back and forth through several Toronto defenders before curling in a right-footed rocket inside the left post.
TOR: Kobi Thompson (Jacob Shaffelburg) 9th minute: Shaffelburg drove don the left side to the enplane before cutting back to send a cross up to Thompson who one-touched his shot into goal.
RSL: Damir Kreilach (Maikel Chang) 43rd minute: With pinpoint precision Chang chipped a cross over the top of Toronto’s defense to Kreilach who chested it down. The ball bounced once, allowing Kreilach to to smash it deep into the back of the net.
TOR: Jayden Nelson 79th minute: After taking the ball away from Kreilach, Jayden Nelson fired a right-footed shot from well outside the 18-yard box and into the top right corner of the goal past the outstretched hands of MacMath.
- Zack Farnsworth (right ankle), Justen Glad (hamstring), Bret Halsey (ankle), Erik Holt (left foot), Johan Kappelhof (left calf), Jonathan Menendez (adductor), Jasper Löffelsend (hamstring) and David Ochoa (right quad) were unavailable due to injury.
- Captain Damir Kreilach returned to the starting lineup for the first time since the season opener.
Match: Real Salt Lake vs. Toronto FC
Date: April 9, 2022
Venue: Rio Tinto Stadium; Sandy, Utah
Weather: Clear and 55 degrees
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
Real Salt Lake 2 0 2
Toronto FC 1 1 2
RSL: Justin Meram (Sergio Cordova), 7’
TOR: Kobi Thompson (Jacob Shaffelburg) 9’
RSL: Damir Kreilach (Maikel Chang) 43’
TOR: Jayden Nelson 79’
Real Salt Lake (4-3-3): Zac MacMath; Andrew Brody (Chris Garcia 90+4’), Jaziel Orozco, Marcelo Silva, Tate Schmitt; Scott Caldwell, Pablo Ruiz, Damir Kreilach; Justin Meram (Bobby Wood 75’), Maikel Chang (Aaron Herrera 75’), Sergio Cordova
Subs not used: Tomas Gomez, Bode Davis, Everton Luiz, Rubio Rubin, Nick Besler
Toronto FC (4-4-2): Alex Bono; Carlos Salcedo, Lukas MacNaughton (Kadin Chung 46’), Shane O’Neill, Luca Petrasso; Michael Bradley, Jonathan Osorio, Jacob Shaffelburg (Jayden Nelson 74’), Kosi Thompson (Deandre Kerr 57’); Jesus Jimenez (Jordan Perruzza 83’), Alejandro Pozuelo
Subs not used: Noble Okello, Quentin Westberg, Chris Mavinga, Ifunanyachi Achara
Stats Summary: RSL / TOR
Shots: 16 / 7
Shots on Goal: 4 / 3
Saves: 1 / 2
Corner Kicks: 8 / 3
Fouls: 7 / 8
TOR: Lukas MacNaughton (caution) 36’
RSL: Pablo Ruiz (caution) 47'
RSL: Damir Kreilach (caution) 58’
RSL: Aaron Herrera (caution) 83’
TOR: Jonathan Osorio (caution) 83’
TOR: Carlos Salcedo (ejection) 86'
Referee: Marcos DeOliveira
Assistant Referees: Chris Elliott, Ian McKay
4th Official: Nima Saghafi
VAR: Jon Freemon