Sluggish Real Salt Lake settles for another home draw

Ravell Call, Deseret News

Real Salt Lake forward Joao Plata has his shot blocked by Columbus Crew goalkeeper Zack Steffen during Major League Soccer in Sandy on Saturday, July 29, 2017.

SANDY — At a time when Real Salt Lake can’t afford to settle, it found itself settling for another draw at Rio Tinto Stadium on Saturday night.

This 2-2 draw was particularly discouraging for RSL as it squandered a second-half lead against a shorthanded Columbus team playing its third game in a week.

Real Salt Lake has now settled for ties during the first two games of its three-game homestand, a stretch of the schedule the club was really hoping to make a push up the standings — especially coming off two road wins leading up to the home games.

“We all know this is a rebuilding time for us, we can’t get too far ahead of ourselves when we win two in a row. We’re still a young group, got a lot of work to do. There are some positives, and we definitely all want to take that next step, and in order to take that next step you need to win your home games,” said Kyle Beckerman.

Real Salt Lake remains in eighth place in the West, and will wrap up the homestand next Saturday against third-place Houston.

Head coach Mike Petke was forced to watch the game from the press box because of his one-game suspension and couldn’t have any contact with the team. He obviously wasn’t pleased with what he saw early.

Columbus snagged the early lead in the 16th minute as Ola Kamara smashed home the opener on a pass from Connor Maloney after Justen Glad couldn’t clear the initial cross.

It was the 17th goal Real Salt Lake has conceded in the opening half hour of matches this season —the most in MLS — while conversely RSL has only three goals during that same span

Real Salt Lake found space to operate extremely difficult in the first half against Columbus’ five-man back line and compact midfield.

“We were not happy with our energy level in the…

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