MINNEAPOLIS (ABC4 Sports) – Real Salt Lake has to be a tired group right now, having just played its 7th game in the last 22 days. But RSL is coming home with a hard-earned result.
Despite a flurry of chances in the second half, Real Salt Lake and Minnesota United played to a 1-1 draw Saturday night.
The story of the game was the defense of Real Salt Lake (4-6-4, 14 points). RSL was forced to make a change in goal after starting goalkeeper Zach McMath was subbed out at halftime after a collision with a teammate midway through the first half. He was evaluated for a concussion and closed out the half, but the team used a concussion substitution to replace him with Gavin Beavers.
Despite the change in goal, the defense for Salt Lake stood tall. Officially they were credited with four blocked shots, but it felt like much more as they prevented many of the true quality chances for the hosts from finding the net.
Jefferson Savarino opened the scoring in the 28th minute after some brilliant quick buildup play for Salt Lake. Braian Ojeda played a long pass to Danny Musovski who somehow played a one-touch backheel pass right into the path of Savarino. Minnesota (5-5-4, 19 points) goalkeeper Dayne St. Clair did his best to come off his line to challenge Savarino, but Savarino coolly slotted it through St. Clair’s legs. It was his fourth goal of the season.
It took Minnesota only three minutes to respond. Bongokuhle Hlongwane, the Loons’ last-minute hero from last weekend, got in behind Real Salt Lake’s backline and took a sharp angle toward goal. His heavy shot hit the post and bounced directly into Real Salt Lake defender Justen Glad and ricocheted in.
Hlongwane was all over the place for the Loons, but Salt Lake’s defense was up to the task other than the own goal. He had several chances due to his runs and great passing from his teammates, but defenders and Beavers in the second half stood tall. Despite the circumstances of having to come into the game at halftime, Beavers did enough to preserve the road point for Real Salt Lake.
His counterpart, St. Clair, had an uncharacteristic mistake in the second half after misjudging the flight of a cross, but Salt Lake was unable to capitalize. He finished with one save.
RSL next plays the L.A. Galaxy at home Wednesday night.