Real Salt Lake played their second match of the preseason against the San Jose Earthquakes at the Kino Sports Complex in Tucson, Arizona as part of the Desert Friendlies series today. Yura Movsisyan opened the scoring with a cross that caromed off San Jose defender Victor Bernardez and into the goal off the left post. Ruled an own goal, RSL was on the front foot for most of the first 45 until San Jose striker Chris Wondolowski got a nice set up from his teammates and slotted home the equalizer to level the match 1-1.
In the second frame of the match, Real Salt Lake made a full lineup change in the second half like they did in their opener against New York Red Bulls on Tuesday. RSL and San Jose turned up the intensity in the second frame as a number of free kicks were awarded to both sides. RSL was unable to generate many chances off their free kicks due to variable levels of service but that is easily attributed to it still being early in the preseason. The Claret and Cobalt was awarded a penalty kick in the 88th minute when Andrew Brody was taken down right on the edge of the area. Referee Ricardo Salazar went to the monitor to confirm his call and upheld his original decision. Chad Barrett squandered the chance when he skied the PK over the cross bar to leave the match level. The deadlock remained intact for the final moments of the match as RSL finished the Arizona segment of their preseason with a 1-1 draw.
Here’s who I thought stood out in today’s match:
FW Yura Movsisyan – Movsisyan was attack-minded from the opening whistle and his efforts produced RSL’s opening goal as his cross caromed off of San Jose centerback Victor Bernardez and the left post before settling in the goal. Though it was ruled an own goal, Movsisyan ran the channels well and was generally a terror for the Quakes backline.
MF Albert Rusnak – Rusnak saw his first action with RSL in a competitive setting and fit right in. The 22 year old showed his poise and vision as he linked up well with Movsisyan and Joao Plata in attack. He showed he’s not afraid to fire away as well with a shot from outside the 18 in the early goings of the match.
CB Justin Schmidt – the rookie second round draft pick stood out for the second match straight. He was paired with MLS veteran David Horst and that likely helped him feel more comfortable but he played well and helped stymie San Jose’s attack for the most part in the first half.
FW Chad Barrett – Barrett, PK miss aside, played well in his time on the pitch. He held the ball up well to help RSL maintain possession and found himself in a number of dangerous positions. Barrett looked a lot more comfortable in the striker position in today’s match after a so-so showing on Tuesday.
FW Jordan Allen – Allen was a pest for the San Jose backline in the second half, showing well for a second match in a row after scoring to game-winner on Tuesday. Allen sprung multiple teammates on chances while also finding himself in a number of advantageous positions before being fouled and earning RSL multiple free kick opportunities just outside the 18.
MF Jose Hernandez – Hernandez showed well for the second match in a row, showing ability to play through contact and maintain possession. The homegrown signing will be a player to keep an eye on as the preseason continues as he looks to build on two solid performances in Arizona.
Real Salt Lake, now finished with segment one of the preseason, returns to Salt Lake for some time off before heading to Portland, Oregon to take part in the Timbers preseason tournament. They will open action in the tournament on Thursday, February 9th against the Timbers at 8:30 PM MT.
Another note is RSL fans can catch two members of the club in national team action tonight as midfielder Omar Holness and goalkeeper Nick Rimando represent Jamaica and the United States, respectively, in tonight’s friendly between the two national team sides in Chattanooga, TN at 5 PM MT on FOX Sports 1.