for this game

Tale of two halves as RSL earns draw at Philadelphia

Jun 11, 2011 - 11:39 PM Chester, PA (Sports Network) - It was a tale of two halves as Real Salt Lake battled to a 1-1 draw at the Philadelphia Union in Major League Soccer action at PPL Park on Saturday.

Philadelphia (6-3-4) dominated the first half but had one goal called back and struck both the post and crossbar en route to just a 1-0 advantage after 45 minutes.

"For me, a tale of two halves," RSL coach Jason Kreis said. "We were pretty abysmal, to be honest, in the first half. Not enough fighting. Not enough competitive spirit. We were second to everything. I think we have to be fortunate that we only allowed one goal.

"Credit to Philadelphia. They probably should've been two or three (goals) up."

RSL (6-3-3) made the young Union pay for the missed chances when it got the equalizer early in the second half before locking things down and taking control of the game.

"The reaction in the second half was fantastic," Kreis said. "We were fighting. We were contesting the ball better. We were more aggressive with our decisions. We spent more time in their half of the field. It is exactly the way we want to play."

Perhaps it was the fact that Real Salt Lake was missing key players to the CONCACAF Gold Cup.

Perhaps it was the fact that RSL had played a hard-fought MLS fixture at Columbus three days earlier.

Perhaps it was the fact that the Union just strung together that good of an opening 45 minutes, because they looked head and shoulders better than the former MLS Cup champs.

Sebastien Le Toux almost got the game's first goal in the 22nd minute when he slammed home a Keon Daniel service form close range, but referee Jorge Gonzalez ruled Daniel offside, negating the goal.

Just three minutes later Daniel got the opening goal, his first of the season, when he got on the end of a Michael Farfan service from the right side and powered a header past RSL goalkeeper Nick Rimando.

The Union narrowly missed going up two on a couple chances in the next couple minutes when Carlos Valdes knocked a throw-in off the post and Le Toux hit the top of the cross bar with a shot.

"It's frustrating because we know that we should be in first place, still (being) two points ahead of New York," Union coach Peter Nowak said. "Especially because (RSL) didn't create anything."

RSL got the equalizer in the 53rd minute on a counter attack started by a Jean Alexandre stuff and pass from the midfield to Fabian Espindola, who outran two Union defenders before playing a low, hard shot with his left just inside the right post, past the outstretched fingers of Faryd Mondragon. Is was Espindola's third goal of the season.

"Fabian, right now, has been a difference maker for us," Kreis said. "He's been a guy that has been finding some spaces. He's been an important, important player for us in the last three games. Probably working as hard, if not harder, than any player on the field."