Real Salt Lake recorded an eighth win on the road by besting D.C. United 1-2 at Audi Field.
One of only six matches played this matchday due to the international window, both sides were missing some key talent. For the Black-and-Red, Taxi Fountas and Victor Pálsson were unavailable, while RSL was missing four players, Rubio Rubin, Anderson Julio, Jefferson Savarino, and Braian Ojeda.
Black-and-Red goalkeeper Tyler Miller began the match flitting around the box, blocking shots at super speed. Real Salt Lake kept up the pressure, forcing D.C. United to work hard in defense. With Miller out the net and playing forward, a dedicated Steve Birnbaum was caught out in the 26′ and booked with a red for his challenge of Danny Musovski, bringing the Black-and-Red down to ten men.
While D.C. United would manage to hold off RSL a bit longer, a 41′ rocket from Pablo Ruiz would open the scoring. Ruiz fired his shot from Real Salt Lake’s half and easily tucked the ball in the upper right-hand corner of the net, just out of Miller’s reach. We won’t be surprised if this shot makes Goal of the Year.
With the visitors up at halftime, the pressure was on D.C. United to find an answer in short turn.
Danny Musovski made good on his promising form, scoring at close range off a cross from Andrés Gómez to double Real Salt Lake’s lead in the 51′.
Chris Durkin had the answer for the Black-and-Red, slotting a passback from Ruan through traffic to find the back of RSL’s net in the 53′.
Although Wayne Rooney was in agreement with the decision made to book Birnbaum, he was in disbelief over a missed call for a penalty later in the match. He said, “I asked the referee at the end of the game, why didn’t you overturn it? He said he didn’t think it was a penalty. I said, ‘Have you seen it back?’ He said, ‘No.’ So the referee made a mistake by not giving it, and VAR have made a mistake by not telling him to check it…Because that’s not good enough. If this league wants to grow, wants to improve, they have to improve with the officials as well.”
Despite D.C.’s best efforts to make a comeback against Salt Lake, they were unable to overcome the visitors with ten men and a missed call for a penalty.
D.C. United remains at home to face FC Cincinnati – currently the best team in MLS – on June 24 at 7:30 pm ET.
- Goal of the Year contender. We quite possibly witnessed the MLS Goal of the Year with Pablo Ruiz’s rocket from his own half. The 50+ yard strike that caught out Tyler Miller was sheer perfection. Now we just wish it had been in D.C. United’s favor.
- Well, hello, Moses Nyeman. Nyman entered the match in the 75′ for Jasper Loffelsend. The D.C. United homegrown had come up through the academy and played on the first team before his transfer to Belgian second division side SK Beveren. Nyeman was acquired by RSL on loan from the Belgian club.
- Birnbaum out for Cincinnati match. Owing to tonight’s red card, captain Steve Birnbaum will miss next week’s match against FC Cincinnati.
MLS Regular Season – Game 19
D.C. United: 1 Durkin 53′
Real Salt Lake: 2 Ruiz 41′, Musovski 51′
D.C. United: Tyler Miller, Derrick Williams, Steven Birnbaum, Brendan Hines-Ike, Chris Durkin (Donovan Pines 90’+3′), Russell Canouse (Ruan 46′), Lewi’s O’Brien, Mateusz Klich (Erik Hurtado 46′), Gaoussou Samaké (Andy Najar 60′), Cristian Dájome (Kristian Fletcher 84′), Christian Benteke
Real Salt Lake: Zac MacMath, Andrew Brody, Brayan Vera, Justen Glad, Emeka Eneli, Pablo Ruiz, Carlos Gomez (Bode Hidalgo 63′), Diego Luna (Maikel Chang 63′), Jasper Loffelsend (Moses Nyeman 75′), Damir Kreilach, Danny Musovski (Paul Illijah 85′)
D.C. United: Birnbaum 26′ (Red, Professional Foul Last Man), Durkin 50′, Dájome 75′, Hines-Ike 89′
Real Salt Lake: Ruiz 9′, MacMath 90 + 1′
Featured image courtesy of D.C. United // Hannah Wagner