By TYLER GRAY
SANDY, Utah – Real Salt Lake and the New York Red Bulls battled to a 1-1 draw in front of 20,295 on Wednesday night in a physical affair at Rio Tinto Stadium.
The home side opened the scoring through forward Joao Plata, but the Red Bulls equalized with a lethal, long-range strike from Thierry Henry.
Red Bulls midfielder Tim Cahill provided the equalizing assist when he saw Henry creeping towards the top of the 18-yard box.
The star of one of the World Cup’s most spectacular goals laid the ball off to Henry, who placed a perfect shot low and hard, beating RSL goalkeeper Nick Rimando and knotting the match at 1-1.
Real Salt Lake’s opening goal was also a precise strike. After New York cleared out an initial corner, the ball fell to Javier Morales, who dribbled into the area and put a deflected shot on frame. The attempt was saved but found its way to RSL defender Chris Wingert, who played a quick pass to Plata. Real Salt Lake’s leading scorer hesitated before curling a shot that tucked just inside the far post put the home side up 1-0.
Robbie Findley’s headed effort was saved by Robles in the final minute of stoppage time and both teams walked away with one point.
Red Bulls defender Jamison Olave had a homecoming of sorts as he returned to Rio Tinto Stadium for the first time since he was traded to New York. The home side didn’t give him any preferential treatment, however, as he got hit in the face with shots and even mixed it up with RSL forward Olmes Garcia.
The draw marks three matches in a row without a win for the Red Bulls (5-6-10, 25 points), who sit in sixth place in the East. Salt Lake (8-4-9, 33 points) pulled within five points of first-place Seattle in the Western Conference standings.
Both teams are back in action this weekend. The Red Bulls host the New England Revolution, while Real Salt Lake visits the Colorado Rapids.
Here are the match highlights:
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