When we posted our Pre Game predictions yesterday, we said two things. One, the game would result in a draw. Two, it would be a low scoring affair. We hit one nail on the head! Philadelphia travelled to the Rio Tinto searching for their first win of the season. They came away still undefeated but perhaps a little deflated.
The game had it all, from great goals to impressive passing that showcased just how much progress the MLS is making to controversy and moments that the edge of your seat was made for. The game saw a surprising own goal, a gorgeous free kick, and a controversial game-saving penalty.
It was Salt Lake who struck first when Morales whipped in a beautiful free kick in the 29th minute, catching just about everyone by surprise. But then the Union responded, and they responded with authority. We predicted that new kid on the block Aristeguieta wiould be a real factor here as he would have a much easier time in the air in comparison to the opening game of the season. Again, we were right. The Venezuelan climbed behind the defense to nod in a deflected cross for his maiden Union goal and four minutes later got his second, when the Union saw a whole in the defense following a throw in allowing Aristeguieta to tap in the easy finish at far post.
After Salt Lake tied it in the 55th minute, it was evident this game was going to be a “anything you can do, I can do better” type of affair. The Union went back in front but this time in no doing of their own. Cristian Maidana looped in a ball when Salt Lake star Jamison Olave attempted a clearance, but instead found the back of his own net. Silence filled the stadium as the team comprehended what had just happened.
It seemed to knock some air out of Real Salt Lake as for the most part, the Union were building on the base they had established. Le Toux was making some excellent breaks as Salt Lake resorted to hoofing the ball up field in the hopes of finding one of their target men. Philly’s defense dealt with all of the pressure..until the dying moments of the match.
With just five minutes on the clock, Luke Mulholland made a dangerous run into the box and was taken down by Maurice Edu. The referee pointed to the spot and Salt Lake were gifted a chance of redemption. Alvaro Saborio stepped up and slotted the penalty kick past Mbolhi, who will be disappointed after being the backbones of the operation.
Aristeguieta played a blinding game of Football today and made it very apparent that he fits in beautifully with Curtin’s plans. He got back when he needed too and made the most of every chance created by the Union’s two emphatic wingers. I don’t see any reasons why he can’t be a contender for top scorer in the league this season.
Both teams leave with a point and it’s the second consecutive draw for the Union, meaning that they are still unbeaten. We predicted a draw, but we didn’t predict one of the most entertaining matches of the week. The Union will look to build on their foundations against Dallas on the 20th of March, knowing now that they can score comfortably. Something that simply had to be improved after the inconsistency in week one. Now they turn their attention to defending and perhaps finding some more composure, to avoid any more similar mistakes becoming a habit.