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Real Salt Lake drowns Rapids 2-0 in first game of tournament

RSL kicked off their MLS Is Back Tournament campaign with a 2-0 win over rivals Colorado Rapids.

Real Salt Lake v Colorado Rapids - MLS Is Back Tournament Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images

Real Salt Lake kicked off their campaign in the MLS Is Back Tournament with a win over Rocky Mountain rivals Colorado Rapids, thanks to goals from Albert Rusnak and Damir Kreilach.

RSL had the first golden opportunity early on when Corey Baird ripped a shot, but it hit the crossbar and went out back out into play.

RSL controlled possession for the majority of the beginning of the game, keeping the Rapids on their back heel. Albert Rusnak put RSL up 1-0 in the 27th minute when he collected a rebound off a Clint Irwin save. The ball seemed to take a deflection off a Colorado defender and head into the net, putting RSL up 1-0 midway through the first half.

RSL continued to dominate possession throughout the rest of the first half, heading into the halftime break with roughly 60% possession over Colorado.

Real Salt Lake earned a penalty kick in the 72nd minute, but Albert Rusnak was unable to get it past Irwin. He put it low to the right side, but Irwin got a hand there and knocked it back into play, keeping the score at 1-0.

After more back and forth, RSL finally doubled their lead in the 77th minute when Kreilach was able to fire a low shot off from the top of the box. The ball stayed on the ground and found its way just under Clint Irwin’s outstretched hand, putting Salt Lake up 2-0 with just minutes left in the game.

The game would finish with RSL hanging onto a 2-0 lead, keeping a clean sheet for MacMath and making a strong statement with their first outing in the MLS Is Back Tournament.

RSL goes on to play Minnesota United next weekend while Colorado will take on the other team in Group D, Sporting Kansas City.