March 3rd was the date and Toyota Stadium was the venue. It was the opening weekend of the 23rd MLS season and Real Salt Lake took on FC Dallas that resulted in a 1-1 draw. Joao Plata opened his scoring account in the 25th minute to give the Claret and Cobalt the early lead only for that to slip away with 4 minutes left in regulation as Marcelo Silva smacked the ball into the back of his own net.
Here are my key takeaways from the matchup:
- Sensational debuts from Barry and Kreilach.
Shawn Barry and Damir Kreilach played pivotal roles during there first MLS game of their careers. Barry held down the RB position and allowed very little penetration. Barry also played the entire 90 minutes. Damir Kreilach however, played just 78 minutes of action but was incredibly efficient while doing so. Kreilach started as the ‘box to box’ midfielder where he showcased his ability to help out defensively but also get involved in the attacking play. Kreilach is a star, the fact that Petke started him after only spending so little time with the team in preseason should tell you everything you need to know about how highly Petke thinks of Kreilach.
- Injuries are a problem already.
Demar Phillips went down in the 77th minute grabbing his lower leg, he was able to walk off without a significant limp, fortunately. Jefferson Savarino was less fortunate as he went down grabbing his hamstring in the 84th minute. Savarino was carried off the field on a stretcher but did not look to be in serious pain. Mike Petke did not give any update on Phillips and Savarino after the game.
- Nick Rimando is a fine wine…
He gets better with age. By the time the night was all said and done Rimando had a number of key saves that simply kept RSL in the game. What a treat it must be for Petke and his players to know that any time Rimando is in goal the chances of conceding are slim.
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) March 4, 2018
The English Premier League is no different than the MLS in the sense that gathering point(s) on the road will put you in a position to win championships by seasons end. RSL was able to do that (even though it felt like a loss) and that should keep you optimistic.
Next up for RSL is LAFC on March 10th at Rio Tinto Stadium (home opener!).