Real Salt Lake got what it wanted against Harbour View FC of Jamaica on Wednesday evening - a workout.
The two teams were up and down the field at Rice-Eccles Stadium for the better part of the night, in a midweek exhibition that ended in a 1-1 tie.
"It's a different style than throughout most of the league," RSL coach John Ellinger said. "It's wide open. . . . At halftime we talked about it, we didn't want it to turn into a track meet."
The game, against RSL midfielder Robert Scarlett's former team, was billed as an opportunity for Salt Lake to get a live-practice in the middle of a 10-day break.
Clint Mathis played his first significant minutes since being suspended for three games. Scarlett further acclimated himself to the conditions in Utah after wilting in the second half of his RSL debut last weekend. Also, Ellinger scouted the teams' other recent pickups, including defender Gustavo Cabrera, with whom he was pleased after the game.
Scarlett bumped his knee hard in a collision in the first half, which prevented him from playing as well as he thought he could have. But he was still dangerous, with several crosses and two shots on goal.
"I'm getting used to the air right now," Scarlett said. "As time goes on I'll get better and better."
RSL defender Nelson Akwari tied the game at 1-1 midway through the second half and less than 10 minutes after Harbour View got on the board, scoring on a set play. Leslie Fitzpatrick swung a corner in from the right side and Akwari, camped out at the near post, caught it at the right time and put it in the right place, heading it behind goalkeeper Leighton Murray.
It was Akwari's second goal of the season - and second in an international exhibition. He got the game-winner, also on a header, against Universidad Catolica when the team played host to the Chilean club in June.
"I'd rather score them in the real games," Akwari said.
Ellinger seemed to think Akwari has found a home in the middle of RSL's defense, after he spent time on the outside and on the bench as the team tried out a number of different looks in the back.
"He has been playing well," Ellinger said. "He seems to play a little more confident in the middle."
Said Akwari: "That's my natural position. I'm more comfortable there than anywhere."
Harbour View FC scored its goal on a breakaway, and got a cheer from a smattering of Jamaican supporters spread throughout an announced crowd of 6,240.
l Defender Nelson Akwari used his head to put a Leslie Fitzpatrick corner in the back of the net for RSL's only goal.
l Harbour View midfielder Lovel Palmer put his team ahead 1-0 in the 53rd minute, on a breakaway goal.
l RSL outshot Harbour View 19-4, but it couldn't convert many of its opportunities, notably in the first half.