Real Salt Lake pulled off a miracle comeback thanks to two late-game goals from Albert Rusnak finishing in a 2-1 result, salvaging not only a win over a struggling Houston Dynamo, but only their second road win this season. The win keeps RSL in the playoff picture, jumping up to fourth place, when they would have fallen below the redline with a loss.
Mike Petke made an interesting call in not starting Kyle Beckerman or Albert Rusnak, opting to start Pablo Ruiz and Damir Kreilach in their spots, respectively. Andrew Putna also started in the goalkeeper position as expected, as Nick Rimando was ruled out with a hamstring injury. Luis Silva also started at the center forward position in lieu of Corey Baird.
RSL came out with some vicious attack, logging eight shots in the first 30 minutes with two of them on target, resulting in some pretty great chances. Houston only had one shot in the first 30 minutes, and that shot wasn’t on target.
It all changed in the 36th minute when Oscar Boniek Garcia took a shot at goal. Nick Besler happened to stick his foot out to try and block it, but unfortunately it bounced off his foot and redirected into the goal, catching Andrew Putna going the wrong way, putting the home team in the lead with a 1-0 scoreline.
The 38th minute saw some more bad news as Pablo Ruiz went down with an injury that he suffered a few minutes before, but clearly couldn't continue playing with. so Petke made the decision to pull him off and bring Rusnak in, pulling Kreilach back next to Sunny in the holding midfield position.
The first half ended with RSL logging 13 shots overall, while Houston only notched three total with only one of them ending up on target.
Real Salt Lake’s attacking play continued as Rusnak had a great chance in the 61st minute off a ball in from Jefferson Savarino that beat Houston keeper Joe Willis, but pinged off the post and back into play.
RSL narrowly escaped another goal against them in the 65th minute when Houston attacked on the counter. Quioto collected a ball into him in the box while Savarino was sliding in to stop it, but Quioto got a foot to it and sent it flying off the crossbar, just narrowly escaping a chance to put his own team up 2-0 in the middle of the second half.
Real Salt Lake thought they pulled a goal back in the 80th minute thanks to Corey Baird, but referee Armando Villarreal called it back due to offside. No replay was shown on the KMYU broadcast.
Just when it looked like they’d drop all three points, Albert Rusnak pulled one back in the third minute of stoppage time while firing a rocket from the top of the box that bounced off both posts and just over the goal line, leveling the game at 1-1.
In almost the last play of the game, Bofo Saucedo was taken down in the box, which the referee initially called as a penalty. After a video review, the call was upheld by Armando Villarreal. Rusnak calmly stepped up to the penalty spot and sent it directly past Joe Willis to put RSL up 2-1 in the dying seconds of the game.
Rusnak’s two late-game goals were enough to secure only the club’s second win on the road all year, and keep them in the playoff race for the time being, surging to fourth place in the Western Conference. They complete their three-game road trip next week in Colorado in hopes of securing three points and the Rocky Mountain Cup.
- 36’ HOU goal, Oscar Boniek Garcia
- 90’+3’ RSL goal, Albert Rusnak
- 90’+10’ RSL goal, Albert Rusnak (PK)
- 33’ RSL yellow card, Pablo Ruiz
- 58’ RSL yellow card, Aaron Herrera
- 82’ RSL yellow card, Damir Kreilach
- 87’ RSL yellow card, Sunny
- 90’ RSL yellow card, Jefferson Savarino
Real Salt Lake
Putna; Lennon, Besler, Glad, Herrera; Sunny, Ruiz (36’ Rusnak); Savarino, Kreilach, Plata (78’ Saucedo); L Silva (69’ Baird)
Willis; Wenger (86’ Machado), Fuenmayor, Senderos, Beasley; Garcia, Ceren; Rodriguez, Martinez (89’ Alvarez), Quioto (72’ Pena); Manotas