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Real Salt Lake ends season opener in 1-1 draw against Houston

Albert Rusnak grabbed the team’s only goal in the season opener, earning a point on the road to start off 2019.

MLS: Real Salt Lake at Houston Dynamo Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Real Salt Lake earned a point on the road in their season opener, ending the game in a draw with the Houston Dynamo by a score of 1-1. Petke opted to start Damir Kreilach at center forward, with Corey Baird on the left wing and Joao Plata starting the game on the bench.

While it took RSL a few minutes to find their groove while Houston brought the game to them, the tides began to turn about 15 minutes in as the attack finally started clicking. Corey Baird had a golden chance in the 22nd minute but didn't find the net. Damir Kreilach ripped a shot of his own in the 26th minute that Houston keeper Joe Willis was able to dive and get a hand to it, knocking it out of bounds for a corner kick.

Albert Rusnak opened the scoring in the 40th minute off a beautiful assist from Corey Baird. Baird sent a ball in to Rusnak, who took a quick soft touch to get it around Houston’s last defender. His next touch was a shot fired toward the far post, flying easily past an outstretched Joe Willis and into the back of the net, putting the visitors up with a 1-0 lead.

RSL held the Dynamo to zero shots on target and five overall, while enjoying 10 shots and five on frame themselves in the first half. Possession was split pretty evenly through the first 45 with each team holding about 50%.

Houston got one back in the 62nd minute when Mauro Manotas got a foot on a cross just in front of Onuoha. He tapped it right past Rimando, equalizing the game at 1-1.

Sam Johnson made his MLS debut, coming on for Corey Baird in the 67th minute, hoping to bring some fast and fresh legs to the attack in search of the full three points. While there were fears of Baird initially being injured, it turns out he was pulled off due to cramping and it was a precautionary measure.

Boniek Garcia thought he grabbed a second goal in the 77th minute when he slotted a quick shot directly past Rimando, but it was quickly waved offside by the linesman, and confirmed by the video assistant referee. The score remained deadlocked at 1-1.

Matias Vera earned himself a second yellow card late in the game after taking out Plata from behind, giving RSL the advantage for the last nine minutes of regular time.

The game would end with no more goals from either side, while RSL earns a big point on the road to kick things off in 2019. Houston heads on to play a big CCL match against Tigres mid-week, while Real Salt Lake returns home to face the Vancouver Whitecaps next week in their home opener.


40’ - RSL - Albert Rusnak (Corey Baird)
62’ - HOU - Mauro Manotas (Adam Lundkvist, Maynor Figueroa)


11’ - RSL - Everton Luiz - yellow card
14’ - RSL - Kyle Beckerman - yellow card
27’ - RSL - Aaron Herrera - yellow card
30’ - HOU - Kevin Garcia - yellow card
31’ - HOU - Matias Vera - yellow card
81’ - HOU - Matias Vera - red card (2nd yellow)
90’+3’ - RSL - Sam Johnson - yellow card


RSL: Rimando; Lennon, Onuoha, Silva, Herrera; Luiz, Beckerman; Savarino (78’ Plata), Rusnak, Baird (67’ Johnson); Kreilach

HOU: Willis; K Garcia, Fuenmayor, Figueroa, Lundkvist; Boniek Garcia, Vera; Elis, Martinez (52’ McNamara), Quioto (76’ Rodriguez); Manotas (89’ Hairston)