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Real Salt Lake Rues Missed Opportunities In Draw With Toronto – KSL Sports

SANDY – Real Salt Lake failed to capitalize on a handful of opportunities in front of goal and consequently settled for a point at home against Toronto. Despite the disappointing result, RSL played some of its most captivating soccer to date under Mastroeni’s leadership.

“We are competitors. Whether it is corn hole or monopoly we want to win,” Mastroeni said post-game when asked how difficult it is to accept frustrating results. “Those are the juices, that is the adrenaline, you are chasing the elusive win so in the moment we dropped two points, we did not gain one.”

Manager Pablo Mastroeni and Real Salt Lake returned its captain Damir Kreilach back to the starting XI after missing the previous five games with a calf strain. Bobby Wood also returned to the gameday roster and was named to the bench.

Chaotic Start

The opening 10 minutes provided fireworks when Justin Meram scored the game’s opening goal after he cut back onto his right foot and curled his shot into the top left corner from 20 yards out. In celebration, Meram ran over to the RSL bench, stuffed a soccer ball under his shirt, and sucked on his thumb announcing to the crowd that his wife is expecting their second child.

“At the end of the day I think that we played a very good game,” Kreilach said in his post-game press conference. “We just have to close the game down earlier with all of the chances that we had but unfortunately we conceded the second one and we got one point. It feels like we lost two points with the way we played, the way we created the chances, the way we followed the plan but hats up and we are moving forward now.”

A minute later, Toronto midfielder Jacob Shaffelburg flew down the left side of the pitch beating Andrew Brody and Jaziel Orozco before floating a ball to the back post that Kosi Thompson calmly slotted past Zac MacMath for the equalizer.

Following the Toronto equalizer, the game stalled as both teams struggled to move the ball up the pitch.

Damir ‘Goals’ Kreilach

That was until Kreilach announced his return to Major League Soccer. Goals.

Maikel Chang whipped in a cross with his left foot that found the chest of Kreilach on the back post. Kreilach played the ball down onto his right foot and poked it past Toronto goalkeeper Alex Bono to lift the home crowd. Much like Meram, Kreilach celebrated in style by jumping over the fence and hugging the fans sitting in Kreilach’s Corner in the stadium’s southeast corner.

Meram came within inches of his brace in the 58th minute when Cordova played a ball across the box that Meram shanked with his left foot. Toronto goalkeeper Bono was nowhere to be seen but the ball from Cordova had too much pace for Meram to control.

Then, four minutes later Meram played a ball onto Pablo Ruiz who one-touched a pass onto the running legs of Cordova who was in on goal but sprayed his left-footed attempt wide left of the target.

Real Salt Lake was playing some of their best soccer of the year but was failing to capitalize on all of the good ball movement.

VAR Controversy

VAR came into play in the 78th minute when Jayden Nelson pickpocketed Kreilach and shot from distance catching MacMath off his line. The referee was told to have a look at it himself and deemed that there was no foul on Kreilach. The goal stood and Toronto drew level with 10 minutes to play.

Chaos ensued when former RSL Academy center back and Mexican international Carlos Salcedo clipped Cordova with a high boot and was shown red. Toronto was down to 10-men with four minutes of regular time to play.

Real Salt Lake was unable to capitalize on the extra player and had to settle for a disappointing point at home.

Next Match

Real Salt Lake will head back onto the for a date with New York City at Yankee Stadium scheduled for next Sunday, April 17. Kickoff is slated for 11 a.m. and will be available to stream for free via the KSL Sports and KSL 5 TV apps or on KSL Sports dot com.

Follow @TomCantHackett