Sandy • Real Salt Lake coach Mike Petke was breaking down his team’s one and only goal Saturday night when he stopped during his post-game press conference.
“I’m just thinking back to [another] shot that hit the crossbar,” Petke said. “… I think we should have had a couple more.”
RSL dominated possession and racked up 28 shots at Rio Tinto Saturday night but ended up settling for a 1-1 draw with the last-place San Jose Earthquakes.
“We did more than enough to get the three points and, like a handful of games this year, we just couldn’t find the back of the net,” Petke said. “… Perhaps it’s me. Maybe we should do more finishing throughout the week.”
RSL (7-2-7, 23 points) still hasn’t lost a league game at Rio Tinto Stadium since March. But after winning six straight home matches coming into the night, dropping two points to a bad Earthquakes team (2-5-9, 11 points) left the men in claret and cobalt frustrated.
“It feels like a loss to me,” midfielder Albert Rusnák said.
RSL opened the scoring in the 54th minute, with an assist from their two most dangerous players on the night. Rusnák served up a corner kick near the top of the 6-yard box and striker Corey Baird flicked it across the face of the goal, where Damir Kreilach finished the job with a header. It was the midfielder’s third goal of the season.
The rest of the night, however, was filled with misfires and misfortune.
Real Salt Lake’s lead lasted only 10 minutes. After a giveaway, RSL goalie Nick Rimando was able to stop Valeri Qazaishvili’s shot on goal, but that rebound went straight to Earthquake attacker Hoesen, who slotted home his 10th goal of the season.
“A poor goal to concede,” Rusnák said. “We had the ball, lost it, a rebound goal. Just an ugly goal to be honest.”
Baird, the team’s leading scorer, had two great chances to add to RSL’s lead. The striker took a pass at the edge of the box from Rusnák and sliced through the Earthquake defense in the 11th minute. But with only the goalkeeper to beat, Baird chipped a shot toward the far post, missing wide of the net.
In the 46th minute, a Rusnák fake set Baird up again for another opportunity, but a diving save kept his shot from the back of the net.
“It’s right now, in the moment, to take too many positives,” Petke said after the match. “Because it essentially feels like a loss to be honest with you.”
RSL’s defense suffered a blow, when center back Justen Glad had to come out of the game in the first half.
Glad was jumping for a 50-50 ball near midfield when he hit heads with an Earthquake player in the 17th minute. Glad stayed on the field until the 30th minute, when he signaled to the bench and was replaced by defender Nick Besler.
Petke said the decision to take Glad was off “precautionary.”
Real Salt Lake had won six straight home games in league play coming into the night.
RSL hasn’t lost at a league game at Rio Tinto Stadium since suffering a 5-1 drubbing to LAFC during the team’s home opener on March 10.
RSL takes on the Columbus Crew next Saturday.