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 Real Monarchs

Real Salt Lake Collects Road Point in a 1-1 Draw at Minnesota: Real Salt Lake

April 6, 2024 - MLS NEXT Pro (MLS NEXT Pro)
Real Monarchs News Release


SANDY, Utah - Real Salt Lake (3-2-2, 11 points, 3rd West) jumped out to a first-half lead over Minnesota United as Captain Chicho Arango scored a 24th-minute header to tally a goal contribution for the sixth consecutive match, but could not hold on as an 87th-minute equalizer sent both teams home with just one point.

RSL returns home to America First Field Saturday for a Beehive State showdown with reigning MLS Cup Champions Columbus Crew. Kickoff is slated for 7:30 p.m. MT on Saturday, April 13 at America First Field, with tickets available at www.RSL.com/tickets.

Despite both sides manufacturing multiple dangerous scoring chances, Real Salt Lake clearly imposed its will for the first 35 minutes. Minnesota came out flying all over the pitch, working hard to exert pressure with an extremely high line and a tenacious counterpress, but RSL weathered the home side's efforts and created the first goalscoring opportunity of the match in the 9th minute. MF Braian Ojeda, coming up from the pivot, played a clever off-speed ball to the feet of Arango in the box, striking a cross-body shot with his right foot to be saved out of bounds for a corner.

Maintaining the pressure, fellow pivot Emeka Eneli prevented a clearance from the ensuing corner and controlled the ball at the top of the box, before going down from a tough challenge and winning a free kick. With both Arango and DF Brayan Vera standing over the ball, it would be Vera that got the green light as he curled a left-footed shot over the wall and towards the corner of the net before Minnesota's Dayne St. Clair once again saved it out of bounds for a corner.

Through 20 minutes of play, RSL enjoyed 57% of possession and a 4-1 corner kick advantage, finally converting this momentum into the lead in the 24th minute. A long ball played to the back line of RSL was quickly switched as DF Justen Glad elevated to win the header and sent it out wide to winger Andrés Gómez. Marked one-on-one by Joseph Rosales, Gómez first beat him with a fake shot and then again with another juke towards the end line, creating just enough space to play a ball across the face of goal. Arango, waiting near the penalty spot, judged it perfectly and showed his aerial prowess with a thundering downward header into the back of the net - the sixth consecutive match with a goal contribution for Real Salt Lake's Columbian frontman.

Down a goal and rushing to equalize, Minnesota turned up the heat with a couple of dangerous attacking movements late in the half. First in the 36th minute, the RSL defense attempted to clear the ball from their area but Devin Padelford controlled it in the midfield and rushed forward to maintain pressure, dancing around both Chicho and Gomez before playing a ball centrally into a crowd of both RSL and MIN jerseys. Pinballing off the boots of multiple players, a charging Jeong Sang Bin found the ball rolling to his feet for a one-time shot at nearly point-blank range. RSL GK Zac MacMath, coming forward to make himself big, absorbed the shot with his midsection to make the huge save and put an end the danger.

Then, in the 43rd minute, United's Wil Trapp received the ball deep and charged forward through three RSL defenders before playing a through ball to Bongokuhle Hlongwane down the left wing and into the box. Holding up the play with a fake shot, he played a regressive ball back across the face of goal to the feet of Sang Bin for a one-time shot aimed at the far post, clanking off the woodwork and out of bounds before the play was ruled offside.

As both sides returned to the pitch for another 45 minutes of play at Allianz Field, RSL looked to extend the lead, but could not find as much of the ball or as many chances as the first half offered. Receiving the ball at his feet from playmaker Diego Luna at the corner of the box on the right wing in the 62nd minute, Gómez cut inside onto his left foot and past two Minnesota defenders. Striking it clean from the top of the rectangle, the ball curled towards the far post, up and around a helpless St. Clair as all he could do was watch it bang off the post and scoot back into play.

Aside from Gómez's chance in the 62nd, the second half of play was dominated by an aggressive Minnesota United squad with the wind and increasingly the games momentum at its back. MacMath was forced to make a series of stellar saves to protect the lead, first in the 65th minute. Rosales sliced down the left wing and smashed a low-driven cross into the box before MacMath dove in front of the Minnesota striker to collect the ball and narrowly prevent an equalizer. Five minutes later, the RSL veteran found himself denying Temu Pukki a goal from point-blank range in the 70th minute. Then again in the 76th minute, Pukki caused trouble for RSL as he received a clever ball in the box, ripping a shot at goal before it was deflected at the last second.

Even with the unrelenting pressure from Minnesota in front of their home supporters, the RSL defense continued to bend without breaking until it finally snapped in the 87th minute. Taylor played a ball from the corner of the pitch to Robin Lod at the edge of the box, beating his man with a clever first touch flick-on for himself. Face-to-face with two RSL defenders and the goalkeeper, he danced right and then left before playing a low ball towards the near post. Having just substituted into the game only one minute earlier, Dani Oluwaseyi stuck his foot out to lightly poke it past MacMath and into the net at the near post - equalizing the affair.

A late dagger seemed realistic for RSL when Minnesota's Rosales received his second yellow card in the 89th minute and was sent off, but the match would end at 1-1 with each team taking home just a point. Tactically, both teams were keen to focus their attacking plays down the right side of the pitch. This emphasized a specific matchup between Gómez and Rosales, constantly finding themselves in one-on-one battles down the wing. Minnesota was extremely high pressing, especially in the beginning of the match, forcing RSL to break the line with every possession but allowing for open space between the attacking line and midfield for Salt Lake to explore. Another common occurrence, Glad repeatedly found himself deep on the right before switching play with long, over-the-top strikes to Luna, DF Alexandros Katranis and Amf Matt Crooks down the left wing.

Tonight's draw brings the early 2024 RSL season record to 3-2-2 and 11 points, third-best in a crowded West table. RSL returns home to America First Field next weekend for a showdown with Columbus Crew, last year's MLS Cup champions - kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. MT on Saturday, April 13 with tickets available at www.RSL.com/tickets.

RSL 1 : 1 MIN

GOAL-SCORING SUMMARY:

RSL: Chicho Arango, 24th Minute (Andres Gómez): A long ball played to the back line of RSL was quickly switched as Glad elevated to win the header and sent it out wide to Gómez. Marked one-on-one by Rosales, Gómez first beat him with a fake shot and then again with another juke towards the end line, creating just enough space to play a ball across the face of goal. Captain Chicho Arango, waiting near the penalty spot, judged it perfectly and showed his aerial prowess with a thundering downward header into the back of the net.

MIN: Tani Oluwaseyi, 87th Minute (Robin Lod): Taylor played a ball from the corner of the pitch to Lod at the edge of the box, beating his man with a clever first touch flick-on for himself. Face-to-face with two RSL defenders and the goalkeeper, he danced right and then left before playing a low ball towards the near post. Having just substituted into the game only one minute before, Dani Oluwaseyi stuck his foot out to lightly poke it past MacMath and into the net at the near post.

RSL v MINNESOTA NOTES:

RSL has now earned points in three of its four road matches thus far in the 2024 season, losing at Miami on Feb. 21 and splitting 1-1 draws at St. Louis and Minnesota with a 2-1 road win at Vancouver two weeks ago ... RSL ends the month of Aprilnwith back-to-back road trips to Chicago and Philadelphia after next week's match against Columbus, the first of three straight games against Eastern Conference foes ...

Mastroeni made two personnel and two positional changes from last week's 3-1 home win over St. Louis, as young internationals Diego Luna and Andrés Gómez returned to the XI, with Matt Crooks moving inside to the 10, pushing Chicho Arango to his regular 9 position up top ...

Chicho's first-half goal gives last week's hat-trick hero four straight goals for RSL, along with the six consecutive goal contributions when counting his secondary assists at Vancouver ... Tonight marked the sixth consecutive match that the RSL Captain has registered either a goal or an assist, with his League-leading six goals pairing with four assists on the 2024 season ...

LINEUPS:

Real Salt Lake (4-2-3-1): Zac MacMath; Alex Katranis (Bryan Oviedo, 73); Andrew Brody; Justen Glad; Brayan Vera; Emeka Eneli; Braian Ojeda (Nelson Palacio, 86); Andres Gómez (Bode Hidalgo, 73); Diego Luna (Fidel Barajas, 63); Matt Crooks (Maikel Chang, 86); Chicho Arango ©

Subs not used: Tommy Silva, Gavin Beavers

Minnesota United (4-3-2-1): St. Clair; Rosales; Taylor; Padelford; Boxall; Trapp (Fragapane, 84); Dotson (Bran, 46); Lod; Sang Bin; Hlongwane (Clark, 65); Pukki (Oluwaseyi, 85)

Subs not used: Irwin, Bacharach, Eriksson, Nyeman, Adebayo-Smith

Stats Summary: RSL / MIN

Shots: 9 / 21

Shots on Goal: 5 / 7

Saves: 6 / 4

Corner Kicks: 5 / 6

Fouls: 11 / 12

MISCONDUCT SUMMARY:

RSL: Katranis (Yellow, 64), MacMath (Yellow, 82), Emeka Eneli (Yellow, 90), 11 Fouls

MIN: Rosales (Red, 89), Rosales (Yellow, 40), Trapp (Yellow, 45), 12 Fouls


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