RSL played to a 1-1 draw with their Western Conference foes San Jose Earthquakes as both teams saw several decent chances created and missed.
We got our first good look at newcomer and DP Albert Rusnak today as he made his first appearance in an official preseason match. No, he didn’t come out and score a hat trick in the first five minutes, but he showed a little of what he’s capable of and what we can look forward to this season from his style of play.
The first 15 minutes saw some nice attacking play from RSL, including a few chance creations although nothing came of them. The defense stayed solid and didn’t give San Jose much of anything in our defensive third.
RSL finally opened the scoring in the 16th minute when Yura Movsisyan found himself behind the Earthquakes defense with the ball. Approaching the goal from the right side, Yura quickly tried to dump the ball off to Albert Rusnak who would have been in a prime spot to score, but the pass was blocked, which ended up bouncing off of San Jose defender Victor Bernardez and into the goal. All credit to Movsisyan for putting in the work even though it ended up being an own goal.
In the 32nd minute, Chris Wondolowski pulled an equalizer back as his shot from the top of the 18-yard box flew past RSL ‘keeper Matt Van Oekel. He made it look all too easy, as he’s known to do, and tied up the game at one goal apiece.
The teams went into the halftime break tied at 1-1, but the first half saw some bright shining moments from RSL who showed some speed and confidence through the midfield and attack. Granted, it’s still a preseason game, so there was plenty of rustiness to be seen, but I’d say this team is already performing better than the 2016 squad did during the last 3 months of the season.
The second half saw the expected full lineup change, which included a potential future starting center-back pairing consisting of Aaron Maund and Chris Schuler. San Jose’s lineup change also saw former RSL man Olmes Garcia make his debut on the afternoon.
Lalo Fernandez came up huge in the 73rd minute when San Jose had a one-on-one breakaway after Fatai Alashe forced a turnover in the midfield. Christian Thierjung sent a shot near the top left but Fernandez was able to get his hand out and send it behind the goal for a corner kick.
In the 88th minute, referee Ricardo Salazar pointed to the penalty spot after Andrew Brody was fouled right near the edge of the box. After heading to the sideline for a video review of the play, he left the call unchanged. Chad Barrett stepped up to the spot only to send the ball sailing high above the crossbar.
The game ended in a 1-1 draw after both teams had some fairly good chances, and both sides have some positives to take away from the result.
RSL heads to Portland to participate in a tournament next week, while San Jose will stick around in Arizona for one more game and then move on to Las Vegas for more preseason action.
First half starting XI: Van Oekel; Beltran, Schmidt, Horst, Wingert; Sunny, Besler, Rusnak; Hoffman, Movsisyan, Plata
Second half starting XI: Fernandez; Dunk, Maund, Schuler, Phillips; Mulholland, Silva, Hernandez; Velazco, Barrett, Allen