Real Salt Lake depended on some late heroics from Nick Besler to beat sixth-division Japanese side Iwaki FC, 2-1, as they opened the Pacific Rim Cup with their first preseason match.
The 17th minute saw the first real drama of the match, with Iwaki FC producing several good opportunities on goal. None came to fruition, despite plenty of flapping around from Real Salt Lake.
Midway through the first half, Sebastian Saucedo opened the scoring for RSL with a simple finish that required plenty of skill in the build-up. He took down a cross with one foot, beat a player with a neat dribble, then nutmegged the goalkeeper before a simple finish. It was a nice way to go up 1-0 in a game RSL were struggling in.
Iwaki FC nearly leveled the match in the 27th minute, with a player striking just past the far post, with RSL goalkeeper Andrew Putna not really having much of a chance at the ball. The chances kept coming for Iwaki through the first half.
Iwaki equalized in the 29th minute, picking off Justen Glad, who whiffed on a simple backpass — it was a moment to forget for the center back, who looked off through most of the evening.
The 87th minute brought some semblance of recovery for Salt Lake when Nick Besler scored a rebounded goal in the box — leaving things far too late for anyone’s comfort, certainly, but also putting his mark on a game that should never have been remotely close.
Tony Beltran, Justen Glad, Marcelo Silva, Donny Toia
Everton Luiz, Pablo Ruiz
Sebastian Saucedo, Damir Kreilach, Joao Plata
Tate Schmitt (58’ Kyle Coffee)
60th minute change
Adam Henley, Justen Glad, Kalen Ryden*, Andrew Brody*
Pablo Ruiz (Nick Besler, 75’), Justin Portillo*
Julian Vazquez, Luis Arriaga, Maikel Chang*
*: Real Monarchs player
†: Unsigned draft pick