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Real Salt Lake: Union rally for 2-2 draw with RSL

Published April 12, 2014 3:26 pm

RSL 2, Union 2 • Real still unbeaten, but three points slips away in 90th minute.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Chester, Pa. • Perspective has a funny way of putting the big picture into focus at all times.

For example, when you hold the lead in the closing stages of a game, then watch the desperate opposition come back to tie it, you feel disappointed. On the other hand, when the situation is reversed and you get the late equalizer, it's much more satisfying.

But if Real Salt Lake can continue to rack up points on a regular basis the way it did in Saturday's 2-2 draw with the Philadelphia Union, down the road that can't help but bode well. That's the perspective players took after Maurice Edu of the Union scored in the 90th minute — shortly after Kyle Beckerman had given RSL the lead in the city outside of Philadelphia.

"It's one of those things in soccer," said Beckerman as RSL remained one of just two unbeaten teams in the MLS at 2-0-4, though its streak of not allowing a goal came to an end at 291 minutes. "You take the lead late on the road and get tied you're disappointed, but if it's the other way around you feel great about yourself.

"But I think before the game you'd take a tie on the road if you had a choice. All in all, it's not bad."

Especially since RSL's first goal — scored when Luke Mulholland pounced on the rebound after Philly's Zac MacMath stopped Alvaro Saborio on a debatable penalty kick — may have been a bit fortunate. The Union carried play much of the day after that, though goalkeeper Jeff Attinella wasn't credited with having to make a single save.

The only shots his defense couldn't reach — Philadelphia newcomer Andrew Wenger's equalizer in the 55th minute, then Edu's header to the far corner — wound up in the back of the net.

"At the end of the day it was a fair result," said RSL coach Jeff Cassar, whose MLS Cup runners-up finally return home Saturday to take on Portland. "I think they had several half chances and we had a few very good chances.

"So I'm happy with a road point, I think there was three points to get, but I am happy with one, happy to stay undefeated and excited about coming home."

By next weekend, Real Salt Lake might even get some of its walking wounded back in action.

While Attinella filled in ably — blanking the opposition over the previous two games, in addition to posting a shutout when he played last season — Nick Rimando remains the main man in goal. Robbie Findley and Joao Plata also missed this one, though defender Tony Beltran was a surprise late addition to the lineup, after missing the scoreless draw last weekend at Sporting Kansas City with a sprained ankle.

Whoever plays, though, Cassar likes what he sees from his club.

"It says that we have a lot of fight and a lot of pride in our play right now," said Cassar, whose club forced MacMath to come up with five saves. "And I think we are going to get better, which is really exciting.

"We are not playing our best soccer right now, but were still getting results."

Again, he's looking at the big picture. And if RSL can keep this up, this season just might wind up being suitable for framing. —

RSL 2, Union 2

Real Salt Lake 1 1 — 2

Philadelphia 0 2 — 2

First half—1, Real Salt Lake, Mulholland 2, 6th minute.

Second half—2, Philadelphia, Wenger 2 (Nogueira), 55th. 3, Real Salt Lake, Beckerman

Goalies—Real Salt Lake, Jeff Attinella; Philadelphia, Zac MacMath.

Referee—Alan Kelly. Assistant Referees—Adam Wienckowski. Brian Dunn. 4th Official—Silviu Petrescu.

A—18,015 (18,500)

Lineups

Real Salt Lake— Jeff Attinella, Chris Wingert, Nat Borchers, Tony Beltran, Chris Schuler, Luke Mulholland (Sebastian Velasquez, 73rd), Kyle Beckerman, Javier Morales, Ned Grabavoy, Alvaro Saborio, Olmes Garcia (Devon Sandoval, 68th).

Sporting Kansas City—Zac MacMath, Amobi Okugo, Raymon Gaddis, Austin Berry, Sheanon Williams, Leo Fernandes, Brian Carroll (Cristian Maidana, 76th), Vincent Nogueira, Maurice Edu, Andrew Wenger (Antoine Hoppenot, 86th), Sebastien Le Toux (Conor Casey, 74th).