Real Salt Lake was unable to find the back of the net in San Jose, grinding out a scoreless draw in a game that, on paper, they should have been able to easily win. An early exit for Albert Rusnak didn’t help the attack as they logged only three shots on target.
Freddy Juarez made two changes from the lineup last week, marking the return of Marcelo Silva in central defense after serving a one-game suspension for yellow card accumulation. He also opted to start Sunny in the midfield next to Kyle Beckerman in place of Damir Kreilach. Aaron Herrera got his second start in a row, seeing Danilo Acosta on the bench again.
It didn’t start out great for the visitors when Albert Rusnak had to be subbed off after just six minutes. In the third minute, he was seen in the aftermath of something that happened off the ball that the cameras didn’t pick up. He was holding his neck in pain and fell to the ground. After being taken off the field, he tried to come back on and continue play, but ended up back on the ground in pain again and had to be subbed off. Damir Kreilach subbed on in his place.
On the KMYU broadcast, it was reported that there was no contact off the ball leading up to Rusnak’s injury, so it’s unknown at this time what caused the immense amount of pain that forced him out of the game.
In a relatively uneventful half — both teams logging only one shot on target — the score remained deadlocked at 0-0 as the players went into the locker room. There were plenty of fouls to be had — 15, to be exact — including two yellow cards issued to Marcelo Silva and Justen Glad in the final minutes of the half.
While San Jose’s defense looked utterly lackadaisical, RSL was unable to capitalize on that despite a couple halfway good looks they had at goal — a couple of those coming from early-game sub Damir Kreilach who assumed the attacking midfield role in Rusnak’s absence.
Nick Rimando’s first real test came in the 66th minute when Quincy Amarikwa collected a ball behind RSL’s defense and sent a rocket of a shot just from the top of the box toward the goal. Rimando got a hand to it, just enough to send it bouncing off the crossbar. If not for Rimando’s touch, the ball would have been in the back of the net. Moments later, Amarikwa was subbed off to make way for San Jose’s leading scorer Danny Hoesen, who has 10 goals and four assists on the season.
Later in the game, Bofo Saucedo had a surprisingly golden chance when he sent a long ball sailing toward the net from about 40 yards out. Caught off his line, San Jose ‘keeper Andrew Tarbell got back just in time to get a hand to it and knock it over the goal and out of bounds.
Ultimately, the game ended in a scoreless draw, making it three straight winless matches for RSL, while extending the Earthquakes’ winless streak to 12. Real Salt Lake returns home next week to take on the Chicago Fire on August 4th.