It was an entertaining game on an unforgettable evening in Utah.
The New York Red Bulls and Real Salt Lake walked away from Thursday night’s 1-1 tie disappointed at not taking three points in a crucial match late in the season, but it was probably the fair result on a night when neither team dominated or created a bunch of chances.
Real Salt Lake controlled the game for longer stretches, but the lack of a dependable goal scorer continues to be an issue yet again. The recently-hot Yura Movsisyan had no magic in his boots on Thursday while Clint Mathis delivered some sharp passes but did little in a forward role in the first half. Robbie Findley and Kenny Deuchar didn’t provide more more in the second half.
The Red Bulls’ issues were familiar refrains. The midfield didn’t create enough chances aside from Dave Van Den Bergh and the defense kept getting caught on counterattacks.
The real question after Thursday night’s game is not whether either of them makes the playoffs, but whether either could really make an impact in the playoffs. Simply making the playoffs would be a big milestone RSL because the club has never reached the post-season, and having a playoff game at Rio Tinto Stadium would be amazing.
Simply making the playoffs wouldn’t mean much to the Red Bulls, and they haven’t shown that they would be able to do much in the playoffs. That said, with Columbus up next on the schedule, the Red Bulls will see first-hand how they would stack up against one of the teams they would be most likely to play in the first round of the playoffs if they qualified.
I will write more about Thursday night’s match, the first at Rio Tinto Stadium, after I get back from Real Salt Lake. For now, please feel free to share your thoughts on the match in the comments section below.