Chester, Pa. • It was far from pretty, but considering the circumstances, they’ll take it.
Real Salt Lake traveled nearly 2,000 miles and earned a coveted point in a scoreless draw against the Philadelphia Union on Friday night before 18,441 people at PPL Park.
Storylines RSL 0, Union 0Real Salt Lake plays to a scoreless tie with Philadelphia, making RSL 2-0-3 against the Union.
» Real’s Chris Wingert is given a yellow card in the 57th minute.
» RSL snaps a four-game road losing streak.
RSL (13-10-4) had been 0-3-0 in league matches this month, yet it came away with a huge 2-0 win against Tauro FC in CONCACAF Champions League action a couple of days ago.
Three games in six days has been taxing on the club, so leaving a road match with one point must be a positive.
"It was a difficult task for us," RSL coach Jason Kreis said. "I’m not displeased with the result."
Nor should they be.
RSL improved to 2-0-3 all-time against the Union, with all three draws on the road. With Friday’s draw, RSL moved within four points of Western Conference leader San Jose.
For a club that had lost four straight road games, coming away with a draw was worthwhile.
RSL can head back home, get healthy and prepare for a tough battle against D.C. United on Sept. 1.
Not a bad situation at all.
"I’ll walk away from here with a happy feeling," said RSL midfielder and All-Star Kyle Beckerman. "We’ll take it, build off it and keep going. I think it’s always a positive thing to earn a point on the road."
Neither club had many scoring chances with RSL leading 3-2 in shots on goal. RSL had only one corner kick and seemed to play more of a possession-oriented game.
In the end, it got them a point on the road.
"They’re one of the best midfields, if not the best midfield in this league," Union interim manager John Hackworth said of RSL. "They’re excellent at just passing the ball right through you, right around you, dictating it, so that they wear teams down. They didn’t do that to us tonight, in every sense of the word. In fact, we probably did it to them a little bit. In my opinion that tactic worked, but possession doesn’t get you any points [consistently]. It doesn’t put any balls in the back of the net."
To be fair, RSL had to grind out this scoreless draw. And that wasn’t easy.
The club looked weary and admitted as much postgame.
"It’s been a really tough stretch," Beckerman said. "I said this earlier that it probably took a year off my life. It’s been good to be a part of it, and I think it’s great that we got a result like this tonight."
The play was choppy at times and got downright nasty in the 57th minute when defender Chris Wingert and Philadelphia midfielder Michael Farfan were handed yellow cards following a skirmish.
In the 85th minute, Jonny Steele almost scored the winning goal, but he couldn’t corral a loose ball in front of Union goalkeeper Zac MacMath.
Still, a point was earned.
"I think we should be proud that we came here and got a point," Beckerman said. "It was a tough-minded effort for us."
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