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Real Salt Lake picks up point on the road with 1-1 draw at Chicago Fire

SHARE Real Salt Lake picks up point on the road with 1-1 draw at Chicago Fire

SALT LAKE CITY — Real Salt Lake netted a point on the road after falling behind early, as RSL earned a 1-1 draw against the Chicago Fire at SeatGeek Stadium in Bridgeview, Illinois, Saturday evening.

"It’s a hard-fought point on the road. We appreciate every point we can get on the road. Our objective was to get three, but if you can’t get three, you take one point and that’s what we did," said RSL midfielder Albert Rusnák postgame during the KMYU TV broadcast.

Real found itself down 1-0 when a foul by Everton Luiz gave Chicago a free kick just outside the box. Aleksandar Katai put the home team ahead 1-0 in the fifth minute, as he arched the free kick around the wall and RSL goalkeeper Nick Rimando couldn't reach the shot, which bounced into the bottom right of the net.

Real Salt Lake leveled the score in the 33rd minute after Chicago’s Mo Adams was called for a penalty on a hand ball inside the box, giving RSL a penalty kick. Rusnák scored his sixth goal of the year on the PK, getting Fire goalkeeper Kenneth Kronholm to dive left as Rusnák knocked the ball into the right side of the net.

The draw snapped a two-game losing skid in Major League Soccer regular-season play for RSL (6-8-2), with its most recent contest before Saturday a 3-0 loss to LAFC in the U.S. Open Cup on June 11. Real now has 20 points and sits seventh in the MLS Western Conference table.

RSL coach Mike Petke called the draw a "great point with some quality play."

"For me, the balance of the team was the strength tonight," Petke said in the KMYU broadcast. "We had some resilience to go down that early in the game. It could have gone, as we've seen in the past sometimes, a different way — maybe trying to stretch ourselves too much too early to get the equalizer. But we stayed composed."

In the 89th minute, Rimando kept the score knotted after Przemyslaw Frankowski got open for a header from a difficult angle. Rimando reacted quickly and got both hands on the ball to knock it away for the save.

With four minutes of stoppage time awarded at the end, RSL earned a corner kick as it headed into the 96th minute. Before Real had a chance to set up the corner kick, though, the whistle blew, ending the game.

“To end on a corner kick is just classic," Petke said.

RSL had the edge in possession (56.1 percent to 43.9) in what was a tight contest. Both teams had seven shots in the game, with two shots on goal apiece. Real had a 5-1 edge in shots in the first half.

Real Salt Lake returns home for its next two games, hosting Sporting Kansas City on Saturday, June 29 at Rio Tinto Stadium and the Columbus Crew on July 3. RSL will play three out of four and eight of its next 11 games at home.

Rusnák laid out what RSL needs to do on this homestand to be successful.

"Pretty much (the same as) the first half today. To control the game with the ball, to be solid at the back, not to give many chances away. At home, we have to be a fortress. Most importantly, we have to take three points," he said.