Philadelphia Union and Real Salt Lake drew 3-3 Saturday night at Rio Tinto Stadium in front of 20,281 fans. After a back-and-forth affair for much of the night, Real Salt Lake equalized in the 86th minute on a penalty kick. Fernando Aristeguieta led the Union with two goals, both of which came in the first half.
“This is the hardest place to come in the league,” head coach Jim Curtin said. “They lost one time here last year and they should have lost tonight. I thought that my team played excellent. We scored three goals on the road. Unfortunately there were some decisions made that didn’t go our way.”
Both teams went up-and-down for the first 15 minutes, but the Union’s best chance early came from Sebastien Le Toux on a ball in from Andrew Wenger. Le Toux one-touched from about 12 yards out, but his attempt was just high. More pressure from both teams produced four corners over the next five minutes.
However, it was Real Salt Lake that started the scoring in the 28th minute off a free kick from Javier Morales. Morales’ well-struck ball from the edge of the box gave Rais Mbolhi no chance as it found its way into the top right corner of the net.
But the Union equalized quickly in the 34th minute when Cristian Maidana’s attempted cross glanced off Kyle Beckerman and went goal-bound. RSL keeper Nick Rimando did all he could to keep the ball out, but Aristeguieta was there to head home the rebound.
Aristeguieta struck again four minutes later when Maidana quickly took a throw-in and freed the forward in on net. Well-hit, Aristeguieta beat Rimando to his right to give the Union a 2-1 lead, which they took into halftime. It was a first-half brace for Aristeguieta who was playing in just his second MLS game.
“Yeah [Fernando] was excellent,” Curtin said. “He’s a guy who takes his chances well, as you saw. He worked his butt off for the team; scored two goals tonight which we’re very happy with. Again our guys deserved three points tonight.”
Real Salt Lake equalized in the 55th minute off a free kick from the right flank. Jamison Olave wound up on the end of it and redirected it past Mbolhi.
The Union took the lead again just three minutes later as Olave committed an own goal. The Union were clear on the break when Maidana directed a cross for a streaking Aristeguieta, but Olave’s attempted clear directed the ball into an open net as Rimando headed toward the far post.
But in the 85th minute, Maurice Edu was ruled to have fouled Luke Mulholland in the box. Mulholland made a run into the box and was deemed to have been taken down by Edu giving Real Salt Lake a crucial opportunity to equalize. Alvaro Saborio eventually equalized on the attempt.
“It’s difficult but at the same time I have a bunch of men on my team that fought hard and deserved three points tonight,” Curtin said.
The Union move to 0-0-2 on the season. They play FC Dallas at PPL Park on Friday, March 20, which will be nationally televised on Univision.
Philadelphia Union 3, Real Salt Lake 3
Rio Tinto Stadium
Salt Lake City, Utah
RSL – Javier Morales 29’
PHI – Fernando Aristeguieta 34’
PHI – Fernando Aristeguieta 38’
RSL – Jamison Olave (Garcia, Morales) 55’
PHI – Jamison Olave (own goal) 58’
RSL – Alvaro Saborio (penalty kick) 86’
RSL – Garcia (yellow) 4’
PHI – Vitoria (yellow) 23’
RSL – Beckerman (yellow) 50’
PHI – Edu (yellow) 52’
PHI – White (yellow) 62’
RSL – Mulholland (yellow) 74’
PHI – Aristeguieta (yellow) 86’
UNION STARTING XI
Mbolhi, Gaddis, Vitoria, White, Williams, Edu, Nogueira, Wenger (Pfeffer 79’), Maidana (Lahoud 79’), Le Toux, Aristeguieta (Casey 87’).
REAL SALT LAKE STARTING XI
Rimando, Phillips (Mansally 82’), Shuler, Olave, Beltran, Gil (Mulholland 70’), Beckerman, Morales, Garcia, Saborio, Jaime (Allen 65’).
Allen Chapman, Corey Rockwell, Mike Rottersman, Tyler Ploeger.