Amro Tarek
Jeffrey Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

Defensive Interventions Gain Spotlight in 1-1 Draw Against RSL

The New York Red Bulls were close on capturing their first ever win at Rio Tinto Stadium in their visit to Real Salt Lake but fell short as Damir Kreilach scored in stoppage time to finish the game in a 1-1 draw.

Once again the Red Bulls got on the scoresheet first, thanks to a Cristian Cásseres Jr. golazo in the 13th minute. 

Cásseres Jr.’s goal meant that to start the 2020 season, the Red Bulls have had four different goal scorers. Last season, they ended with a league-high of 18.

However, the match turned out to be complicated after scoring the first goal of the game. Real Salt Lake ended the match with 21 shots, six of them on target, requiring New York’s defensive unit to step up big on multiple occasions. 

Right back Kyle Duncan, who was coming off a one-goal, two-assist performance against FC Cincinnati, gave an impressive defensive performance in Utah, where he finished the day with two clearances off the line. Meanwhile, center-back Amro Tarek got five clearances, two interceptions and won three of his four ground duels.

“I think it’s just amazing to have a solid backline and a solid goalkeeper,” said Tarek. “Some games are going to be like today’s, where you have to step up and make the big saves. We could have won because of them, but as I said, it’s a great team effort. We’re happy with the point.”

In the 62nd minute, captain Sean Davis and Kaku tracked back to stop a breakaway that could have ended in a RSL goal. 

Goalkeeper David Jensen made a stupendous save in the 11th minute, which will likely be one of the best Week 2 saves. 

“Nothing but respect, that’s what’s all about," said Jensen after the match as he talked about Duncan and Davis’ key clearances off the line. “As I said before, it’s a team effort. We came here to this difficult game under difficult conditions, and we just fought. They got my back, and that’s what’s all about. This was a team effort.” 

Florian Valot and Kaku couldn’t find the spaces and passing options they were able to spot in the home opener, allowing Salt Lake to reduce the Red Bulls’ dangerous plays. 

One of the big takeaways from the game was that the togetherness the team has talked a lot about since the preseason was reflected on the final score. Their game plan almost resulted with a hard-fought 1-0 win, which should leave them with plenty of confidence heading into their Week 3 visit to Minnesota United FC. 

“As a coach to see a team that is together, that sticks together and suffers together, I'm proud of them for that,” said Head Coach Chris Armas. “So, hard-fought point, really proud of them, and it's a shame we didn't get all three because we scraped till the end and had it in our grasp. You can credit Salt Lake for a good push that they made; it’s tough to play here at altitude and happy to leave here with a point.”