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Mar 29, 2024 11:29 pm

Real Salt Lake, St. Louis City meet again after early draw

Katranis

It was barely a month ago since St. Louis City and Real Salt Lake met, and yet the teams ought to look different in terms of makeup and experience playing together.

The rematch comes Saturday night in Sandy, Utah.

St. Louis (1-0-4, 7 points) and visiting Real Salt Lake (2-2-1, 7 points) played to a 1-1 draw Feb. 24.

There’s time to sort out deficiencies if there’s something to build on, St. Louis coach Bradley Carnell said.

“I’d rather be in those moments than have them not at all,” he said. “There’s a couple of good things to look back on and reflect in terms of attacking play. So now, can we will ourselves on to get those extra points?”

St. Louis is the first MLS team to go unbeaten through five matches in each of its first two seasons.

Carnell would like to see midfielder Tomas Ostrak’s strong practice efforts translate better in matches.

“That’s his challenge, our challenge to him, to bring it on game days,” he said. “He’s playing good minutes now. He has been working on his fitness issues.”

Real Salt Lake coach Pablo Mastroeni is continuing to see a blend of impact players with veterans and youth.

Newcomers have made a huge difference for Real Salt Lake, which won 2-1 last Saturday at Vancouver. Real Salt Lake had key contributions from two players making their first MLS starts. Fidel Barajas notched two assists and Alexandros Katranis supplied the winning goal.

Barajas, 17, became the sixth MLS player to produce a multi-assist game at age 17 or younger.

“The love of the sport,” Barajas said. “I never imagined myself competing at this level at 17. It’s really exciting and it’s amazing to have that record under my name. It’s just a lot of hard work and dedication to make this happen.”

Real Salt Lake had a retooled lineup last weekend because Diego Luna and Andres Gomez were away participating with national teams. Katranis was pleased to be able to contribute when given the chance.

“The most important thing is that I helped the team,” Katranis said.

Katranis, a defender, said he held up well in terms of conditioning.

“I felt very good, better than I was expecting,” he said. “We keep working. We have to go back to work because we have a next game. It’s no time for celebrations.”

St. Louis will need to adjust its roster with defender Joakim Nilsson out with a broken rib sustained against D.C. United. The team should have Tim Parker back on the defensive end.

–Field Level Media

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