COMMERCE CITY, Colo. In the first leg of the Rocky Mountain Cup, it looked like Colorado had the advantage.
They were playing at home, while Real Salt Lake was missing 10 players and had to start 17-year-old Jaziel Orosco at center back. Yet when the final whistle blew, RSL came out with a point on the road at the rival Rapids.
When the halftime whistle blew, RSL had a 1-0 lead. In the 43rd minute, Justin Meram was tripped up in the penalty box. Pablo Ruiz stepped up, sent the keeper the wrong way, and gave Real Salt Lake the 1-0 lead.
That lead was short-lived, though. In the 56th minute, Colorado went on the attack. Michael Barrios sent a low cross to the back post and Lalas Abubakar was there to beat Zac Macmath and level the game up at one.
“Results can go either way and tonight the guys really stuck their chests out and held their heads high,” said Real Salt Lake head coach Pablo Mastroeni. “We performed really really well and I couldn’t be more pleased for everyone.”
RSL didn’t have a lot of scoring chances in the match, but in the 76th minute, it looked like they might have found the winner.
Bode Davis picked out Sergio Cordova in the box, who hit the ball hard, but right at goalkeeper William Yarbrough, and the game ended in a 1-1 draw.
Colorado outshot RSL 16-5 with six shots on goal compared to RSL’s two.
MacMath came up big for Real, he had five saves against his former club.
“It’s always nice coming back to a place that you played, I have a lot of friends on the team and throughout the community,” said MacMath. “To battle like we did tonight, through a lot of adversity it’s a good point to take home with us.”
Colorado also controlled possession, having the ball for 63 percent of the match, but ultimately couldn’t find the winner. Settling for the 1-1 draw.
RSL (3-1-2) is back home next week at Rio Tinto Stadium, hosting Toronto FC on April 9th.