Real Salt Lake’s first preseason match may have been a rust-shod affair, but in giving us our first glimpse of the team in 2017, we also got to see our first win, and we can thank Ricardo Velazco and Jordan Allen for it.
Allen opened the scoring late in the second half with a headed goal, finishing a Velazco cross with aplomb. Velazco capitalized on poor possession from New York, breaking down the left side before sending a perfectly weighted cross for Allen, whose run through the middle saw him free from defenders.
Early in the second half, New York found a tremendous opening down their left side, but Lalo Fernandez came off his line and prevented a clear-cut chance from trickling into the net. Chances didn’t come with any frequency as the second half progressed, with the only true big opportunity coming around the 70th minute, when New York Red Bulls hit the post on a shot after dominating possession for a good 10 minutes.
Joao Plata nearly opened the scoring in the 33rd minute, breaking down the left side and putting a shot across the ground that New York goalkeeper Ryan Meara missed out on — but that shot trickled into the post and bounced right back into Meara’s arms.
The chances came early from both sides. RSL was nearly scythed open in the 3rd minute when a Red Bulls attack down their left side ended with a shot pinging off the bar. Two minutes later, Plata sprung an attack from inside the half, finding Monarchs forward Daniel Haber streaking down the right side. Haber’s cross for Luis Silva was placed just too far in front of the attacking midfielder, and that attack fizzled out over the end line.
Chad Barrett, who entered in the second half, came off late with an apparent head injury; Real Monarchs’ Chandler Hoffman replaced him.
Starters for the match included two players rostered with Real Monarchs: Nick Besler, last at Portland Timbers, and Haber, last with Vancouver Whitecaps 2. Justin Schmidt, second-round draft pick, also started.
Starting lineup: VanOekel; Beltran, Maund, Schmidt, Phillips; Mulholland, Besler, Silva; Plata, Movsisyan, Haber
Second-half lineup: Fernandez; Dunk, Schuler, Horst, Wingert; Sunny, Holness; Hernandez, Allen, Velazco, Barrett