In Real Salt Lake’s first post-Cassar match, many questions remained to how interim head coach Daryl Shore would approach this match. Whether it was because of injuries and absences, or just a different tactical outlook than Jeff Cassar, Shore gave many youngsters their opportunity.
RSL’s first chance came in the eighth minute after Sebastian Saucedo dribbled his way into the Red Bulls’ 18-yard box. The returning U-20’s shot hit the upright and deflected to Yura Movsisyan who let off a volley only to be cleared off the line by fellow U.S. U-20 Tyler Adams.
New York continued to recycle possession, creating a few half chances, until Bradley Wright-Phillips nearly found the back of the next in the 19th minute. Wright-Phillips was floating on the shoulder of Chris Schuler on the top of the six-yard box when a pin-point cross found his head, but the previous MLS Golden Boot winner pushed the ball just wide.
Eight minutes later, Sunny gave away possession in near the center circle and the Red Bulls tried to capitalize on a quick counter. Daniel Royer sent a great, cutting through-ball to the feet of Fredrik Gulbrandsen as the striker made a darting run towards Matt Van Oekel. Schuler stepped up big, however, turning on the jets and deflecting the ball over the goal.
The two sides went tit-for-tat until RSL created another quality chance in the 44th minute.
Sunny won the ball in the opponent’s half and got it to the feet of Movsisyan. On a two-v-three breakaway, Movsisyan found himself with the support oF Luis Silva who made a cutting run between the New York defense, but a little stutter step by Kemar Lawrence closed down any prospected space. Instead of taking a chance of turning over possession, Movsisyan let off a rocket that was far over the cross-bar and apologized to his teammates.
Despite several good opportunities, both sides went into halftime goalless.
Movsisyan got another chance right in the opening seconds of the second half when Conner Lade made a horrible back-pass to his goalkeeper and instead found the Armenian striker in the box. Luis Robles was up to the challenge getting a hand on it and pushing the ball out of danger.
Matt VanOekel made his first career MLS save in the 64th minute.
Gulbranden was tripped up by Luke Mulholland on the edge of the box but the referee played the advantage. Finding his feet again, the Norwegian international took a few for steps and circled the ball into the far bottom corner, but the 2016 NASL Golden Glove winner pushed it wide.
The Claret-and-Cobalt’s defense started to unravel a bit when Sunny, Luis Silva, and Aaron Maund all received yellow cards in quick successio between the 66th and 70th minutes.
Daryl Shore quickly went to his bench to revive some life in a strained midfield giving Jose Hernandez his first MLS appearance.
Wright-Phillips gave the Red Bulls their second shot on goal minutes later but VanOekel came up with yet another big save.
In the 81st minute, VanOekel found himself one-on-one with Wright-Phillips. The New York striker dribbled passed the RSL goalkeeper towards an open net but quick action from Maund prevent Wright-Phillips from getting a shot off.
In the second minute of stoppage time, VanOekel was called upon again when Alex Muyl was gifted the ball on the top of the 18-yard box. Looking to go bottom corner, Muyl curled a shot around the RSL defense but the Claret-and-Cobalt netminder got down and encircled the ball.
The match ended with a scoreless draw, something RSL would have taken going into the match after a tremulous week for the organization.
Real Salt Lake Starting XI (4-2-3-1): Matt Van Oekel; Chris Wingert, Aaron Maund, Chris Schuler, Demar Phillips; Luke Mulholland, Sunny; Brooks Lennon, Luis Silva (José Hernandez - 73’), Sebastian Saucedo (Ricardo Velazco - 82’); Yura Movsisyan (Omar Holness - 90’+3’)
New York Red Bulls Starting XI (4-2-2-2): Luis Robles; Conner Lade (Sal Zizzo - 61’), Damien Perrinelle, Aaron Long, Kemar Lawrence; Felipe, Tyler Adams; Alex Muyl, Daniel Royer; Fredrik Gulbrandsen (Sean Davis - 75’), Bradley Wright-Phillips
42’ - Lawrence (YC) - NYRB
56’ - Mulholland (YC) - RSL
66’ - Silva (YC) - RSL
68’ - Sunny (YC) - RSL
70’ - Maund (YC) - RSL
87’ - Velazco (YC) - RSL