SANDY, Utah – Being down a goal only served to ratchet up Real Salt Lake’s attack, and the added urgency went a long way in bringing out the quality needed to keep them flying high.
In an eight minute span, third-year attacker Jordan Allen scored the equalizer and assisted on the game-winner to help Salt Lake remain undefeated at home in four games this season. The comeback showed a little more maturity out of the young core of RSL.
“We talked about at halftime it being one or two plays changing the game,” RSL head coach Jeff Cassar said. “It's a save here, a short corner that we played, and it was a beautiful play for Yura's goal.”
While Salt Lake hunted for an equalizer, a short corner wasn’t cleared by Houston’s Boniek Garcia at the top of the box. RSL's second-year center back, Justen Glad, came down with the ball and played Allen behind the defense for an open shot, which he buried to tie the game at 1-1.
“He had a good look at a shot and had the vision to find me and play me a ball that I was able to finish right in stride,” Allen said of Glad’s contribution to the goal. “All credit to him.”
The two youngsters have seen their impact on the field increase this season. Glad has started four of the last five games for RSL, while Allen has filled in for both Joao Plata and Javier Morales this season and kept the offense producing goals.
“It's good for both of us,” Allen said. “We're both confident right now and we're both able to step in and do our job for the team, which is most important.”
Cassar said the equalizer came from attitude for sure, but even with attitude you need quality.
The game-winner checked both those boxes, with Allen playing a key role. Allen was part of a four-person buildup which allowed Yura Movsisyan to tap in a goal at the near post for the 2-1 advantage in the 71st minute. Juan Manuel “Burrito” Martinez laid the ball off to Allen around the top of the box where Allen played Demar Phillips behind the line. Phillips’ low cross was tucked neatly into the near corner by Movsisyan.
“He stayed aggressive and I thought he was fantastic tonight,” Cassar said. “I'm really happy he got rewarded with a goal. I thought it was a really mature performance by him.”