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 Real Salt Lake

RSL Earns First Point of 2024 at St. Louis City with 1-1 Draw

February 25, 2024 - Major League Soccer (MLS)
Real Salt Lake News Release


ST. LOUIS, Missouri - Riding an historic 100th professional goal from FW Chicho Arango - assisted in his debut by newcomer Matt Crooks - twenty minutes from time, Real Salt Lake (0-1-1, 1 point) captured its first point of the season with a 1-1 draw at CITY Park in St. Louis.

RSL now returns home after a week on the road for "MLS is BACK" contests at Miami (0-2 loss) and St. Louis (1-1 draw), celebrating the 2024 season - its 20th in Utah - with a 12 Noon MT kickoff Saturday in the home opener at America First Field in Sandy against long-time Western Conference rival Los Angeles Football Club. Tickets are available at www.RSL.com/tickets.

Just two minutes into RSL's second-ever foray at CITY Park in St. Louis, Claret-and-Cobalt Captain Chicho Arango nearly celebrated his 100th professional goal when he found himself in alone on 2023 MLS Goalkeeper of the Year Roman Bürki, but the chance was denied.

Arango's centenary celebration finally came in the 74th minute, turning into the box away from the defense after the Crooks entry pass to slot home a low right-footer. The Arango goal was his 20th on the road in 33 games away in his MLS career, tying Taylor Twellman for fourth-fastest in league annals.

In the 63rd minute, newly-acquired RSL playmaker Matt Crooks - who only rejoined the team late Thursday following his work-visa procurement and this month's transfer from Middlesbrough of the EFL Championship - entered the game and immediately made a difference. Crooks - now the 206th player in RSL history to log MLS minutes - is the 124th to register an MLS assist for RSL.

The RSL lead was short-lived, however, as a sloppy turnover in midfield led to a CITY chance against the run of play, and the only chance St. Louis would need to ruin RSL's road hopes. CITY defender Eduard Löwen jumped on a loose ball and hit a strong looper over the top to an onrushing Adeniran, who nodded a ball off the bounce past RSL DF Bryan Vera to find space, cutting back into his left before unleashing a sharp ball far post for the equalizer.

Despite a flurry of chances late for RSL - including substitute FW Anderson Julio seeing a late-game winner cleared off the line - it could not crack the home defense, RSL forced to settle for a point away.

STL 1 : 1 RSL

GOAL-SCORING SUMMARY:

RSL: Chicho Arango, 74th minute (Matt Crooks): Starting a series of one-touch passes, RSL DF Bode Hidalgowins the ball on the right just inside his own half, playing up to Diego Luna, with this summer's Olympic starlet flicking his first touch centrally to an onrushing Matt Crooks. "Tree" one-times the ball with the outside of his left foot ahead to Chicho Arango, who frees himself in alone on the 'keeper with an exquisite turn, slotting home for a 1-0 RSL lead - and his 100th goal as a professional.

STL: Samuel Adeniran, 79th minute (Eduard Lowen): The St. Louis equalizer comes against the run of play, as CITY's Eduard Lowen loops a long ball deep over the top to Adeniran, who nods the ball into a clear path around the RSL defense and cuts back inside the box, slamming a left-footed curler past Zac MacMath for the equalizer.

RSL @ STL NOTES:

RSL remains unbeaten in two visits to St. Louis CITY, winning 3-1 in 2023 prior to tonight's draw; CITY won 4-0 at RSL early last season, with the return match between the Clubs coming on March 30, 2024

The 1-1 draw prevents RSL from losing two consecutive games to open a season for the first time since 2006

The road draw once again allows RSL to avoid back-to-back losses during the Pablo Mastroeni era, with just nine such occurrences in Pablo's 102 matches across all competitions as the Club's head coach; the last coming in Sept., 2023,

For the third time in four days, RSL saw a player debut for the Club, as English MF Matt Crooks entered in the 60th minute to become the 206th player in RSL's 20-year MLS history to log League minutes

With his assist, Crooks became the 124th RSL player to earn a helper on the scoresheet in RSL's all-time 616 MLS reg. season games

Mastroeni made just one change from Wednesday's 0-2 loss at Miami, as D/M Emeka Eneli moved to holding midfield, replacing MF Nelson Palacio

Three RSL homegrown players started Saturday, as DF Justen Glad & DF Andrew Brody were joined by DF Bode Hidalgo, who started at right back in place of Eneli

On Wednesday at Miami, RSL saw two players - 17-year-old Fidel Barajas and short-term call-up Noel Caliskan - make their Claret-and-Cobalt debuts, with Barajas appearing again Saturday night in St. Louis

Metronomic midfielder Pablo Ruiz played back-to-back games for RSL for the first time since August 4 / 8 against León and LAFC, after suffering a meniscus injury in his right knee at LAFC in the Leagues Cup Round of 16 match

FW Chicho Arango again wore the Captain's armband for RSL, with two games in the same week after being named the Club's sixth full-time Captain, following in the footsteps of Jason Kreis (2005-07), Carey Talley (2007), Kyle Beckerman (2008-20), Albert Rusnák (2021) and Damir Kreilach (2022-23)

RSL's home opener is this Saturday, March 2, at 12 noon MT against LAFC at America First Field; tickets remain available at www.RSL.com/tickets for the earliest kickoff in RSL's 20-year history

Lineups:

Real Salt Lake (4-2-3-1): Zac MacMath; Bode Hidalgo (Bryan Oviedo 90), Justen Glad, Brayan Vera, Andrew Brody; Braian Ojeda, Emeka Eneli; Andrés Gómez (Anderson Julio 86), Pablo Ruiz (Matt Crooks 63), Diego Luna (Fidel Barajas 86); Chicho Arango ©

Subs not used: Gavin Beavers, Marcelo Silva, Nelson Palacio, Maikel Chang, Noel Caliskan

St. Louis CITY SC (4-4-2): Bürki; Totland, Parker © (Yaro 35), Nilsson, Markanich; Jackson (Nerwinski 67), Blom, Löwen (Durkin 82), Thorisson (Vassilev 67); Pompeu, Klauss (Adeniran 67)

Subs not used: Lundt, Watts, Ostrak, Kijima

Stats Summary: STL / RSL

Shots: 12 / 15

Shots on Goal: 4 / 4

Saves: 3 / 3

Corner Kicks: 4 / 7

Fouls: 15 / 13

MISCONDUCT SUMMARY:

STL: Celio Pompeu (caution) 24'


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