The Red Bulls were looking to add on to their big season-opening win against FC Cincinnati, as they start a three-game road trip that begins out in the Rocky Mountains as they earned a one-all draw at the home opener of Real Salt Lake.
It was a long-distance rip from Cristian Casserers Jr. as the Venezuelan youth international earned his first of the season in the 13th minute. He took a shot from 25 yards out that beats Zac MacMath to the far post, as it dipped low.
But in the 70th minute, it looked like Real Salt Lake leveled the score with an equalizer, as Douglas Martinez headed in the cross to make it one all. But VAR got involved as all goals are being checked, the replay showed Martinez did head the ball down, but it went off his left hand and into the net.
The referee wiped it out after making the VAR motion. As the match got into second-half stoppage time, it looked like the Red Bulls were going to get the full three points on the road, but sadly RSL does get their equalizer as Damir Kreilach was able to head the ball in off a cross from the near side.
“It’s a valuable point for us, hard-fought, well-earned and I’m proud of the guys for that because a lot of the teams are going to come to this building this year and not get any points.” said Chris Armas “In our last two visits we didn’t get any points, we lost our previous two. So, to see the guys show up today and be aggressive, get the first goal, stick to what we were trying to do, was great to see and then as a coach to see a team that is together that sticks together and suffers together, I’m proud of them for that.
”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 and you can credit Salt Lake for the good push that they made. Tough to play here at altitude and happy to leave here with a point.”
But the Red Bulls did play a solid defensive game. They were able to bail themselves out of so many situations. While David Jensen did make two saves, he had some help from Kyle Duncan who cleared the ball off the post, then got more help from the rest of the backline early and often.
“Nothing but respect. That’s what it’s all about.” said Jensen “It’s a team effort. We come here, it’s a difficult game under difficult conditions and we just fought.
”Two big saves from [Sean] Davis and [Kyle] Duncan, big saves. They got my back, that’s what it’s all about. This was a team effort.”
While it’s tough to lose two points in a match where you have the lead, get a goal against you wiped out from VAR, but get scored on late, earning a point at Rio Tinto Stadium in the altitude is nothing to sneeze at.
This Red Bulls team so far is undefeated in two games with four points, and honestly, it’s a solid start to begin 2020 which will now have a bigger challenge next weekend as they head to Allianza Field and take on Minnesota United FC.