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Match report: Union 1-1 Real Salt Lake

Photo by Paul Rudderow

The second goal is always the hardest.

The Union ran ragged over a lethargic Real Salt Lake side in the first half but only Keon Daniel put his chance away. It came back to haunt them home team when Fabian Espindola drove home the equalizer in the 53rd minute.

The Union looked to match RSL’s ubiquitous diamond midfield with one of their own. Michael Farfan and Keon Daniel started wide of Brian Carroll and Kyle Nakazawa. After an early spell of Salt Lake possession, it was clear that the Union had a better plan.

Playing balls deep to Le Toux and Mwanga, Philadelphia filled in behind their strikers and played possession deep in the Salt Lake half.

As early as the fifth minute, Mwanga was driving at Nat Borchers. His scuffed shot was easily gathered by Nick Rimando but the tempo was set.

In the 22nd minute, Jordan Harvey gathered a loose ball and dinked it long over the top to Daniel. With speed driven by desire, Daniel was able to keep the ball in play. A low cross to Le Toux seemed to give the Union the lead, but a late and strangely positioned offsides flag kept the score level. The theory goes that Daniel was offsides, but the linesman stood, flag raised, much deeper than would have been appropriate for that call.

Only two minutes later, Daniel took matters into his own hands. Michael Farfan floated a cross from the right over Jamison Olave’s head and Daniel charged in front of a daydreaming Robbie Russell to head past Rimando.

In the 27th minute, a Sheanon Williams throw bounced around the box and off Carlos Valdes, nipping the goal post on the way out. On the ensuing corner kick, a short ball to Farfan allowed the midfielder to blast at Rimando, who tipped over the bar.

Salt Lake was living on the edge, and when Mwanga left Olave in a heap, his drop for Le Toux, the resulting shot tasted the paint of the crossbar.

It was Williams’ turn next. Good combination play between the strikers took the ball across goal to Farfan. He dropped to Williams who saw his rip punched away.

The half ground out as Robbie Russell picked up a yellow for impeding Le Toux.

Salt lake made tactical changes in the second half and the results were immediate. the outside backs got involved and forced the Union midfielders to switch off their man to man coverage. Gaps were opening up and the RSL pressure was higher up the pitch.

Before the Union could properly adjust, the score was level. The referee inexplicably allowed Jean Alexandre to trample Michael Farfan in the middle of the pitch. Alexandre played Espindola through and he hit a daisy cutter into the far corner.


  1. mwanga was awful today

  2. I know a lot of Union brethren will disagree, but Alexandre did not trample Farfan as this report and Nowak say. The replay clearing shows they both went for the ball and Farfan went down, there is very little contact between the two. When the play first happened, I was sure a card/foul was coming. But the replay must have been when the ref saw.

    RSL was lucky to get a 1-1 draw. Should have been 4-0 at the half. Union didn’t make their total domination of the first half count and they paid for it.

    • Eli Pearlman-Storch says:

      Not sure what replay you’re watching. Alexandre puts his hands on Farfans shoulders and then their legs come together. With Alexandre coming from behing that’s a foul 10 out of 10 times.

      Dead right on the finishing though, gotta bury more of those chances.

      • Farfan needs to sell that foul…otherwise it just looks like he got beat…he needs to take lesson from Ruiz on how to flop…did I really say that?!

      • Adam Cann says:

        Comment of the day winner!

  3. “Playing balls deep” hahaha nice

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