SANDY, Utah — Real Salt Lake and the New York Red Bulls both really needed a win on Saturday night to keep pace in their respective conferences.
Neither got it as the two teams battled to a 1-1 tie — RSL's ninth of the season and New York's 11th.
Both teams had plenty of chances. RSL had a dozen shots on goal and four on target; New York had six shots on goal and scored on its only shot on target. And there were numerous other opportunities that neither team could capitalize on for the win.
RSL took the lead in the 18th minute on a play that built off a corner kick. Javier Morales put the ball in and New York goalkeeper Luis Robles made a nice save, but the ball rebounded to RSL forward Joao Plata, who fired the into the far side of the net for his ninth goal of the season — tops on his team.
RSL came out strong in the second half, controlling the run of play. But in the 57th minute, it was the legendary Theirry Henry to the rescue for the visiting Red Bulls. Tim Cahill laid it off to Henry, who did the rest — firing the ball from about 22 yards out to the right side of the net — and made it look easy.
Nick Rimando's date with MLS destiny — or, at least, MLS history — will have to wait until at least Saturday. Henry's goal cost him the chance to tie the all-time record for MLS shutouts. He's been one short since April 19, the last time Rimando had a clean sheet.
RSL was somewhat fortunate to get out of the first half with the lead, as in the 36th minute, Rimando bobbled an Henry through ball to the feet of Ambroise Oyongo, who shanked his shot into the side netting.
The best chance either team had at full points came in the 71st minute, when RSL defender Chris Schuler hit a point blank header off a corner kick, only to see it cleared off the line by RBNY.
Moments later came what’s sure to be the night’s big talking point, as New York defender Jamison Olave seemed to grab RSL attacker Olmes Garcia below the belt. The two Colombians had been skirmishing all evening, but no card was shown.
RSL finished the night still in second place in the West, but have now won just two of their last 10 and are falling further behind both Seattle and LA in points per game. New York meanwhile, have won two of 11 and dropped below the red line into sixth place in the East thanks to New England’s win over the Rapids earlier on Wednesday.
The Red Bulls are back in action on Saturday evening against those same Revs in a match at Red Bull Arena rife with playoff implications, while RSL will try to break out of their slump at Rocky Mountain rivals Colorado later that night.