MLS: Real Salt Lake hunting points on road at Minnesota United
Real Salt Lake head north to take on Minnesota United in a Western Conference matchup of two teams looking for precious points in a tight battle for playoff position.
Salt Lake (4-6-3, 15 points) sits in 11th place but is only three points back of fifth place while Minnesota (5-5-3, 15 points) sits in sixth.
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Real Salt Lake snapped a four-game winless streak (0-1-3) with a 3-2 win at the Colorado Rapids last Saturday night. Salt Lake scored three first-half goals through Pablo Ruiz, Danny Musovski and Damir Kreilach. That effort brought the team’s goal total to 13, an average of one per game.
The team has been held without a goal seven times, including the team’s four previous matches.
“We’ve had some decent chances in the past but didn’t capitalize on them,” said head coach Pablo Mastroeni. “So it feels really good. Sometimes you get caught up in the rivalry, but I think for our group, the most important thing was the three points and scoring goals.”
Kreilach missed the majority of the 2022 season with a back injury that required surgery. A fully-healthy Kreilach would be a big boost for Real Salt Lake as he scored 16 goals during the 2021 season.
Minnesota picked up its second straight 1-0 victory after defeating the Portland Timbers on the road last Saturday night. Bongokuhle Hlongwane hit a bouncer to the far post for the game-winning goal in the final minute of second-half stoppage time, his team-leading fourth of the season.
“It’s one of them feelings that I don’t think there’s anything better in football,” said Minnesota head coach Adrian Heath. “When you’ve put all that hard work in, everything’s worked to plan, and then eventually you go and get a goal in the last second.”
Minnesota has not been a consistent threat on goal this season, only scoring 12 goals in 13 matches. However, the Loons received good news as midfielder Emanuel Reynoso (10 goals last season) returned to the practice field this week for the first time this season. When the playmaker will return to the lineup remains to be seen, but he had to be a sight for sore eyes with the lack of goal-scoring and Robin Lod’s knee injury that required surgery this week.
–Field Level Media
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