Sandy • Streamers poured onto the field, while beating drums and the sound of 20,000 singing soccer fans filled the air as Real Salt Lake took the field at Rio Tinto Stadium for the first time this season.
But when Alvaro Saborio buried an equalizing goal in the 80th minute, the cheers were only a collective sigh from a sellout crowd.
Storylines RSL ties in home openerAlvaro Saborio scores the equalizer in the 80th minute to give RSL a draw at Rio Tinto Stadium in the first leg of the Rocky Mountain Cup.
» Rookie Deshorn Brown scores for the Rapids, giving his team a 1-0 lead at the half.
Inside the team’s locker room after the game, it was even quieter.
"It’s absolutely silent," coach Jason Kreis said. "You would have thought we just lost three-nothing. Our guys want more. They expect more, and I think that’s a good thing."
Real Salt Lake walked away with a single point after earning a 1-1 draw with Colorado in the first leg of the Rocky Mountain Cup, a matchup Salt Lake has dominated over the past six years.
RSL controlled possession and seemed to be on the doorstep of a goal for much of the first half, but it was Colorado that struck first.
Rapids rookie Deshorn Brown scored his first career goal, giving his team a 1-0 lead at the half. RSL center back Chris Schuler’s giveaway in front of the RSL goal gave Brown a chance from the right side, and the forward buried it.
"It was kind of a freak thing," said RSL captain Kyle Beckerman. "We were really dominating, getting chance after chance, and the next thing you know we were losing."
Beckerman and forward Robbie Findley provided RSL’s most exciting opportunities, most of which came during the first 45 minutes of play.
Beckerman sent a blast from outside the box that was tipped away by Colorado keeper Matt Pickens in the game’s third minute. On the ensuing corner kick, RSL defender Kwame Watson-Siriboe collided with Pickens, breaking his left forearm.
"It’s something that’s very sad," an apologetic Watson-Siriboe said after the match. "You never want to see a player hurt another player."
Colorado was forced to use backup keeper Clint Irwin, the team’s third goalie of the young season. RSL had chances to test the backup in the first half but couldn’t get a shot on frame.
Findley did well to get behind Colorado’s defensive four, but his touch failed him in his first action back at Rio Tinto Stadium.
In the 18th minute, Findley chipped a chance in front of the goal well over the crossbar and into the stands. A short time later, Beckerman floated a perfect pass to Findley but he could not settle it on his first touch.
"I’ve just got to do better on my end," he said. "My teammates delivered the ball. Just gotta be more focused on my part."
As RSL looked for an equalizer late, it was reserve forward Joao Plata who again provided a spark for Salt Lake. The Ecuadorian, who came off the bench against San Jose and found Saborio for the team’s first goal of the season, put a ball on Saborio’s feet, and the Costa Rican came through with his third goal of the season.
"Nobody held their heads," Beckerman said. "We figured if we keep dominating this game we’re going to get a goal. We just wish we would have gotten one maybe a little earlier. Maybe it would have helped us get a second one."
RSL opened things up in the game’s final seconds, as it searched for three points at home. Goalkeeper Nick Rimando, who was honored before the match for his 100 career shutouts, held off a flurry of chances to preserve the draw.
"Credit to Nick Rimando for saving us a point there," Kreis said.
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