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RSL, Minnesota United trade leads, end in 3-3 draw

Real Salt Lake ended the Portland leg of their preseason with another 3-3 draw.

MLS: Real Salt Lake vs Minnesota United FC Steve Dykes-USA TODAY Sports

Real Salt Lake played to a 3-3 draw, ending the Portland leg of their preseason with a back-and-forth match against Minnesota United.

The drew came after Real Salt Lake pushed out a strong comeback, getting to a 3-2 scoreline after being down 2-0 early in the second half.

Kevin Molino opened the scoring for Minnesota United with a fine finish from a low cross as the MLS newcomers capitalized on a poor moment from RSL’s defense, with Aaron Maund losing the ball near the midfield line.

Molino doubled the lead early in the second half, heading home a cross from Christian Ramirez after an unprotected run through the middle of the field.

Jordan Allen won a penalty in the 55th minute after he charged through the midfield, keeping the ball when he might previously have passed it out wide to a full back. By actively making himself a target for defenders, he earned a foul for his efforts. Yura Movsisyan buried the ensuing penalty, sending the goalkeeper the wrong way.

In the 78th minute, Chad Barrett scored an equalizer, slotting a low shot from outside the box past the goalkeeper. That came after Omar Holness won the ball well in the midfield, and a quick eye from Jose Hernandez found Barrett in a good position. Better still was the run from Hernandez, cutting toward the center and opening the space for Barrett to take a touch and a shot.

Real Monarchs’ Andrew Brody put RSL in its first lead of the night, finishing from a missed clearance from Minnesota United after Barrett placed his header near the goal line. Barrett’s header came from a well-timed Ricardo Velazco cross, which at first blush seemed a bit overcooked. Instead, it was timed incredibly with Barrett moving wide.

Minnesota created the lion’s share of the chances in the first half, with RSL’s defense failing to really take hold of the match. Throughout, they were put in difficult positions, and they performed with about as much nous as the midfield — in other words, very little.

Minnesota United scored the final goal of the night deep into stoppage time, prompting a bit of controversy — Johan Venegas pushed past three RSL defenders to score a strong individual goal, leveling the match at 3-3.

Chris Schuler was shown a yellow card early in the first half for a mistimed tackle on Minnesota’s Johan Venegas.

With Kyle Beckerman out with continued knee soreness, Yura Movsisyan wore the captain’s armband — Tony Beltran has also been given the armband in recent preseason matches.

The first half also saw Luis Silva in a deeper midfield position, continuing a trend we’ve seen in preseason so far. Silva’s played in the attacking midfield position as well as in more defensive spots, and he hasn’t looked too out of place there — although it’s worth noting that RSL consistently performed better in the attacking half than in the defensive half.

Minor injuries for Nick Rimando, Tony Beltran, and Kyle Beckerman meant that Real Salt Lake was without four of the starting corps we are likely to see come March 4. Beckerman’s absence is because of a continued knee soreness issue that the club anticipates won’t keep him out of competitive matches, Rimando is being rested, and Beltran has some sort of foot issue, the club said on Twitter.

RSL lineup: Van Oekel (Fernandez 60’); Wingert (Dunk 75’), Schuler (Schmidt 75’), Maund (Horst 45’), Phillips (Lachowecki 65’); Mulholland (Holness 75’), Silva (Sunny 63’); Plata (Brody 75’), Rusnak (Hernandez 75’), Allen (Velazco 75’); Movsisyan (Barrett 75’)