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Sandy • Goalscorers from transformative eras of Real Salt Lake were on display in front of a sold-out Rio Tinto Stadium Friday. In those visiting black D.C. United jerseys were two of the most notable forwards in club history, a pair of strikers who starred with the club during some of its peak years to date in Major League Soccer.
Alvaro Saborio and Fabian Espindola, creators of 65 goals and 21 assists as the up-front tandem during three years together in Utah, came back this week for a few things: To greet their old remaining teammates, to wave to the RSL fans who still recognize those glory days, and to leave those same fans with a solemn walk out of the stadium Friday night.
The old guard did not outshine the new, but D.C. took advantage of another crucial defensive lapse by RSL to earn a 1-1 draw in Sandy. It extended RSL's streak of conceding at least a goal to 13 straight games across all competitions. RSL (8-5-4, 28 points) next hosts the Montreal Impact on July 9.
D.C. United stunned RSL and the 20,389 inside Rio Tinto Stadium in the 92nd minute when substitute midfielder Jared Jeffrey finished a header off a corner kick sent into the box by Espindola at the near post.
"This one feels like we actually got trashed," RSL forward Yura Movsisyan said. "Just because of how many chances we had, and we didn't score. It feels just like that. One point is not enough. This is going to come back to bite us at the end and these are the points we need to get."
The goal also negated what would've been another milestone for goalkeeper Nick Rimando. The 37-year-old remains a win shy of tying the league record for most wins, held by Kevin Hartman with 180.
The aggressors throughout the match, RSL did not break through until the 57th minute when Burrito Martinez added to his lengthening highlight reel. The Argentine forward received a ball from Movsisyan atop the box and dribbled through D.C. defenders Bobby Boswell and Sean Franklin before coming face-to-face with onrushing D.C. goalkeeper Bill Hamid.
As he's proven to do, Martinez finished calmly, scooping the ball over a stumped Hamid and into the net for his sixth goal of the season. The ball bounced immediately back to Martinez, still in stride, who grabbed it with one hand and delivered a kiss before kicking the ball high into the night.
"I think we're playing incredibly attractive soccer and I think we're doing a lot of good things, but we also have to make sure we win the game, finish off the game, close games out," RSL coach Jeff Cassar. "We didn't do that."
Movsisyan had two early chances to put RSL up in the first 20 minutes, most notably a shot from six yards out which was saved by Hamid. A delayed run into the box by Martinez preceded a low cross that found Movsisyan wide open in front of the goal, but his shot was right at Hamid.
In the first minute of the second half, midfielder Javier Morales chipped a ball over the D.C. defense that Movsisyan was able to trap calmly inside the box. But Hamid had other plans. The goalkeeper stood his ground again at the near post, stuffing Movsisyan's close shot.
"It definitely hurts, to get this many chances, to play this well and to not score goals," Movsisyan said. "I'll put my hand up first. I'm the one that needs to score, and I didn't today."
Hamid kept D.C. in the game once more when RSL substitute Olmes Garcia couldn't put the visitors away in the first minute of stoppage time. In alone on Hamid, Garcia's shot was pushed away by a kick save. In all, Hamid had seven saves that allowed D.C. to snag a point.
"It was a day where we needed Bill, and Bill came up big," D.C. coach Ben Olsen said.
Eight of RSL's 11 starters Friday went 120 minutes in Tuesday's U.S. Open Cup loss to Seattle. Center back Justen Glad was subbed off in the final minute of extra time. RSL, tired legs and all, nearly completed its sixth game in 18 days across all competitions in ideal fashion.
Instead, the sting of a disappointing draw will linger through the holiday weekend.
R Burrito Martinez put RSL up 1-0 in the 57th minute by chipping D.C. goalkeeper Bill Hamid in the box.
• D.C. sub Jared Jeffrey equalized in the 92nd minute off a corner kick.
• RSL wrapped up a span of six games in 18 days. It returns to play July 9 against Montreal Impact.