RSL plays FC Dallas to a scoreless draw despite many chances at goal

Real Salt Lake midfielder Albert Rusnak, left, fights for control of the ball with Colorado Rapids defender Danny Wilson during the first half of an MLS soccer match Saturday, Aug. 22, 2020, in Commerce City, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Sandy • Perhaps a scoreless draw was the appropriate result.

Real Salt Lake had multiple opportunities to score. But as has occurred several times this season, it couldn’t find the back of the net.

FC Dallas had virtually no chances to score, mainly because RSL mostly kept it out the attacking third. And when Dallas got opportunities, goalkeeper Andrew Putna stopped them.

So RSL and Dallas left Rio Tinto Stadium with a point apiece. With Vancouver Whitecaps beating San Jose, Salt Lake remained in ninth place in the Western Conference, just one spot below the playoff line.

But the team came away feeling like it should have gotten all three points, especially with how it dominated the attack.

“I think we showed enough tonight to get the result,” Putna said. “I think we were just unlucky. I think we can take some positives away. We got the shutout. …. I think we deserved it.”

Saturday’s game in front of 4,078 fans played out much like others have this season for RSL. Tons of shot creation, but not enough finishing. It’s been a thorn in the team’s side all season.

“We’re creating a lot of chances and we’re putting ourselves in a situation where we should have a couple of more wins,” coach Freddy Juarez said.

RSL tallied 24 shots to Dallas’s eight. But only three of those 24 were on target. FC Dallas goalkeeper Jimmy Maurer made some impressive saves to keep Salt Lake at bay.

But Real were also staunch defensively. It gave up just two shots on goal to Dallas.

Putna said the back four on defense for RSL performed well, but he also said the entire team put forth a good shift on that end of the field.

Defender Nedum Onuoha agreed.

“I think we did do well as a back four, but overall you’re only as good as the people ahead of you,” Onuoha said. “I think the midfielders worked really hard as well and so did the front line. So it made our job a lot easier.”

There were several shots RSL had that hit the crossbar, including well-struck attempts from midfielders Pablo Ruiz and Damir Kreilach. There was even a sequence where Kreilach got his head on a shot that was mishit and if it wasn’t for Maurer’s catlike reflexes, Kreilach surely would have had a goal.

RSL came into Saturday’s matchup with an impressive win over the Portland Timbers on the heels of a four-game winless streak. It is now winless in four of its last five games with just three left in the regular season.

RSL now has its next two games on the road before turning back to Rio Tinto next Sunday. It’s still unclear with the Colorado Rapids game that was recently postponed will be played or nixed from the schedule.

With the season winding down, Saturday’s home game would’ve been an opportune time for RSL get a win and give itself some breathing room with so little time left to secure a playoff spot. Putna said the team is aware of the situation.

“Our season is on the line,” Putna said. “It was on the line tonight.”

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