Late goal by Republic steals win away from Real Salt Lake
RSL coach Mastroeni: Game can be 'cruel'
Sacramento Republic FC was outshot and for much of the match outplayed by Real Salt Lake at Kino North Stadium on Saturday night, but a late game goal earned the USL Championship side a draw against the one-time MLS Cup champions.
It came down to a problem common to both MLS teams in Tucson this year: finishing chances.
“If you don’t finish your chances, the game is cruel,” said RSL coach Pablo Mastroeni after the match.
It took little time for Real Salt Lake to score their goal. Only seven minutes into the soccer match, Haitian defender slipped up the wing to get the ball past Sacramento keeper Carlos Saldaña, a one-time student at CD Guadalajara’s academy.
Saldaña blocked a subsequent free kick attempt only moments later that would have extended RSL’s lead. They didn’t have a shot that found home the rest of the match, despite numerous chances, particularly from Guatemalan international Rubio Rubin.
Changes at the hour mark gave Sacramento an opportunity to level up the match. Douglas Martinez, who was among the late game substitutes, scored in the 84th minute. It started an offensive flurry for the team, but they were unable to get a winner.
Real Salt Lake defender Justen Glad admitted that those last moments of the match were a bit perilous.
“Once they get that goal, momentum is a little different,” he said. “It was just too much of an open game…definitely, definitely some things to tweak.”
Despite the lack of finishing letting a win slip away, the play of one attacking player impressed. Third-season striker Rubio Rubin had most of the shots in the first half.
“I thought he was really bright,” said Mastroeni. “I thought he had a lot of good actions on both sides of the ball, leading the press defensively, helping us on the build, bringing the team forward.”
He noted that Rubin, for all of his good work on the field, suffered from the same finishing issues that the rest of the team had.
“We had some really good looks at the goalkeeper, so I think it’s really about execution,” said Mastroeni. “We need to sharpen up because we are getting in good spots.”
Real Salt Lake next plays in the final, of sorts, of the Desert Showcase with a match against Chicago Fire on Saturday at 11 a.m. at Kino North Stadium. Sacramento Republic begins their season against El Paso Locomotive on March 11.
Just-en Glad to be here
Justen Glad stayed behind for a bit after the match signing autographs and saying hello to friends and family who took the opportunity to see him play in his hometown.
The crowd of autograph seekers included many wearing the shield for RSL’s academy which operates clubs in the Tucson area. Glad had started on his path to being a pro player at the academy in 2012.
“I was in their shoes and it’s awesome to see them coming out and supporting us,” he said. “I see a lot of myself in those kids there.”