Real Salt Lake earned a 0-0 draw in an ugly match with the Philadelphia Union on Friday.
Salt Lake got a good road result at the tail end of the side’s last three-match week of the season. While it was not pretty, the side will certainly be pleased to take a point on the road.
Salt Lake experimented with a new formation in this match, going to a 4-1-4-1 and abandoning their beloved diamond. The format placed Alvaro Saborio alone up top, with Javier Morales as a withdrawn forward.
The side wasn’t able to put together a strong attack, though that is to be expected when playing against a side like Philadelphia that deliberately tries to keep the match messy. Still, Jason Kreis will feel his side could have done better in this match.
Real Salt Lake came out attacking. The side recorded two attempts on goal in the first ten minutes. Philadelphia responded by sitting back and absorbing much of the pressure, preventing Salt Lake from creating a solid opportunity to score.
The match got a bit messy, which is to be expected when both teams are focused on defending. With Salt Lake the road team, and Philadelphia mired with a poor season, both sides seemed focus on just trying to not make mistakes. As a result, neither keeper was really tested in the first 41 minutes of the match.
That nearly changed in the 42nd minute when an error for Kwame Watson-Siriboe allowed a few Philadelphia attackers to get a straight run into the box. The ball was crossed to Danny Cruz who shot at a helpless Nick Rimando but put the ball well over the crossbar.
The half ended 0-0, but it didn’t take long for fireworks to start in the second half. In the 48th minute, Amobi Okugo’s shot bounced off the ground and forced Rimando to make a leaping, albeit relatively easy, save. Cruz ran underneath him and shoved the Salt Lake goalkeeper, leading to the usual shoving competition.
Philadelphia nearly scored in the 55th minute when a corner kick curled right inside the near post, although Ned Grabavoy was able to leap over and head the ball off the line.
Things got testy in the 58th minute when Chris Wingert made a hard slide tackle into Michael Farfan. Farfan appeared to swing at Wingert during the fall and the Salt Lake outside back got up to call him out. Farfan kicked at Wingert’s face, leading to the normal pushing and shoving. Eventually both received yellow cards, though Farfan may be reviewed by the disciplinary committee.
Morales nearly created a bit of magic in the 79th minute when a long pass forward was headed by a Philadelphia defender and landed at his feet. Morales drifted left and got enough space to shoot from distance, though he was unable to put real pressure on Zac MacMath.
Johnny Steele nearly gave Salt Lake the lead in the 85th minute when he made a run into the back of the defense and received a long pass from Kyle Beckerman. The Salt Lake cult hero ran behind the line, but allowed himself to get pushed wide to the left of goal and was unable to put a good shot on frame before MacMath pounced on the ball.
The match ended as a scoreless draw.
Category: Game Review