Real Salt Lake Earns a Much Needed Point on the Road in Philadelphia

Matt JonesAnalyst IJune 11, 2011

Fabian Espindola scored the equalizer in the 53rd minute
Fabian Espindola scored the equalizer in the 53rd minuteGeorge Frey/Getty Images

Following a mid-week loss in the final minutes of the match against the Columbus Crew on Wednesday night, Real Salt Lake continued it's Major League Soccer road trip Saturday against the Philadelphia Union.

In what was supposed to be the second meeting of these two teams this season, each team dominated a half and played to a 1-1 draw.

The two teams were scheduled to meet in an early season match in April in Utah, until both teams willingly rescheduled the match so that Real Salt Lake could focus on the CONCACAF final match they would host a few nights later.

In today's match, the Philadelphia Union came out strong and had multiple scoring chances early in the match. Taking a page out of Real Salt Lake's playbook, they dominated first half possession and were not afraid to attack the heart of the best defense in the league.

After several good chances, and building up a lot of excitement, Keon Daniel scored his first goal of the season for the Union in the 24th minute. His shot came off a ball served in from the corner that he ran onto, split a couple of defenders and nodded down for the score.

As the half went on, the Real Salt Lake defense and goalkeeper Nick Rimando continued to be tested as the Union looked like they would turn this match into a blowout.

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Fortunately for Real Salt Lake, they survived the first half barrage and made adjustments in the second half.

For the most part, the last 45 minutes belonged to Real Salt Lake as they returned to their normal game of maintaining possession and limiting chances for the opponent.

In the 53rd minute, Real Salt Lake striker Fabian Espindola took a good pass in the mid-field from fellow forward Jean Alexandre, worked his way through and around two defenders, and fired a far-post strike that just missed the outstretched hand of the goalkeeper.

His third goal of the season proved to be the equalizer as the team held on to earn a much needed point on the road.

The result had to be frustrating for a Union team that should have come away with the victory. Credit the veteran play and coaching adjustments by Real Salt Lake head coach Jason Kreis for coming away with a point.

The Philadelphia Union will next make their longest road trip of the season and face the expansion Whitecaps in Vancouver.

Real Salt Lake will meet D.C. United at home next Saturday.


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