This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2016, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Sandy • It's not a total power outage, but it's still inching that way.
For a club that consistently lit up the scoreboard each week the first three months of the 2016 Major League Soccer season, Real Salt Lake's potent attack remains in the slumber it's been mired in now in the dead of summer. Sure, RSL snapped its 255-minute scoreless streak, but for the fourth-straight home match, failed to maximize points at Rio Tinto Stadium in its 1-1 draw with the San Jose Earthquakes on Friday night.
RSL (8-6-7, 31 points) is now 1-0-5 in its last six home matches.
"Right now, instead of finding a way to win, we're finding a way to tie or lose in certain circumstances," RSL coach Jeff Cassar said.
If not for a picturesque 64th-minute exchange between Luke Mulholland and Javier Morales, RSL would've been stuck with its first home loss of the season. Mulholland brought RSL level midway through the second half, connecting with a chipped ball by Morales from just inside the San Jose box.
The pass was so on, all Mulholland had to do was stand there and wait for it to fall. When the ball did, the midfielder buried his third goal of the year with a left-footed volley with ease.
"He can make those passes every day in his sleep," Mulholland said of Morales.
From there, the teams traded opportunities at game-winners. Burrito Martinez nearly curled in a shot from 25 yards away in the game's final seconds, but it was tipped over.
Substitute Olmes Garcia nearly crowned himself the night's hero in the 72nd minute, but his breakaway shot was barely saved by San Jose goalkeeper David Bingham.
Not much later, San Jose substitute Shea Salinas nearly put the visitors up once again in the 80th minute, but his right-footed shot from 23 yards away rose above RSL goalkeeper Nick Rimando and off the crossbar.
Cause for concern remains for RSL. The club's leading scorer, Yura Movsisyan, left the match in the 44th minute after pulling up with a left hip flexor strain that forced him off, further slimming RSL's already thinned forward corps.
Another listless start plagued RSL. Earthquakes forward Chris Wondolowski continued to be a thorn in side of RSL, putting San Jose up 1-0 in the ninth minute.
Wondolowski was surprise, surprise in the right place at the right time when a corner delivered in by midfielder Simon Dawkins deflected off San Jose defender Jordan Stewart. The ball took another deflection in the scrum off Mulholland before it found its way to the feet of Wondolowski, who scored his eighth career goal against RSL.
"He's made a career of just goals like that," Mulholland said. "I think that's his 117th goal that he's scored and I wouldn't be surprised how many of those are inside the 18, inside the 12-yard box. We know he's a quality player and if we give him half a yard, he's going to punish us."
RSL captain Kyle Beckerman had a chance at pulling his team even in the 16th minute, but his left-footed shot from distance was saved by Bingham. An onrushing Joao Plata had his eyes on a rebound goal, but could not beat Earthquakes defender Victor Bernardez to the ball.
The same issues that have plagued RSL the last two months did not dissipate prior to Mulholland's equalizing goal. Chances were created, possession was in its favor, but the final product was not. Set pieces were drilled high or into the wall.
Once level, RSL found some life, but it now has nine days off before it hits the road for a two-game East Coast swing at Philadelphia on July 31 and later at Toronto FC on Aug. 3.
"It's not easy to come in and paint a pretty picture of ties at home, but we're still undefeated at home that's important," Cassar said.
R San Jose's Chris Wondolowski scored his eighth career goal against RSL in the ninth minute.
• Luke Mulholland brought RSL level in the 64th minute.
• RSL has nine days off before its next match, at Philadelphia on July 31.