Jayden Nelson scores late goal to give Toronto FC a draw in Utah

Jayden Nelson hugged by Michael Bradley after scoring the game-tying goal in Sandy, Utah

SANDY, UT – Jayden Nelson and Kosi Thompson helped Toronto FC to earn a draw against Real Salt Lake. It was both Nelson’s and Thompson’s first-ever MLS goal. As a result, TFC was able to draw level with Real Salt Lake and earn a point at Rio Tinto Stadium.

Jayden Nelson and Kosi Thompson both score first-ever MLS goal

Three keys to the game

First Half – Kosi Thompson scores first-ever MLS goal

Toronto FC was making positive plays early in the game For example, TFC made a good defensive play in the sixth minute to stop RSL’s attack. However, in the seventh minute, Mikael Chang stole the ball from Shaffelburg and delivered a great cross to Justin Meram, who scored the first goal of the game.

Shaffelburg made up for his earlier mistake as he made a terrific run and delivered a great cross. Kosi Thompson’s shot though was even more spectacular. He made direct contact with Shaffelburg’s cross and beat Zac MacMath to score the immediate game-tying goal.

Shaffelburg made another great cross in the 23-minute, but no one connected with the ball. Pablo Ruiz’s shot was off-target in the 24-minute of play. Salcedo made it hard for Sergio Córdova to get his header off in the 28-minute. A sublime cross was executed by Meran in both the 28 and 29-minute of play.

However, in the 29-minute, Marcelo Silva’s header skied above the net. Lukas MacNaughton got a yellow card in the 36-minute of play, by pulling the Real Salt Lake player from behind.

Salt Lake’s captain, Damir Kreilach took advantage of a defensive error by TFC’s Lukas MacNaughton, who left him open to get a shot on goal. Also, Maikel Chang found Kreilach with a quality cross, which connected. As a result, even though Toronto played decently in the first half, they trailed 2-1 to Real Salt Lake after the end of the first half.

Second Half – Jayden Nelson scores first-ever MLS goal

RSL had some brilliant chances early, but they were unable to find a goal. TFC got very lucky in the 59-minute as

Meram should have scored. Alejandro Pozuelo passed the ball to Raúl Jiménez but did not get good contact with the ball in a dangerous area. Cordova had a big chance to score in the 62-minute of play, which Salt Lake will regret later on in the game.

Petrasso’s shot was off-target in the 62-minute of play. TFC’s Shane O’Neill gave up a free kick in the 64-minute of play. Luiz’s shot in the 65-minute was skied high.

Petrasso’s ball to the box was easily kept by Real Salt Lake’s goalkeeper. Jacob Shaffelburg made a good defensive play in the 71-minute to make sure Real Salt Lake does not score. Pablo Ruiz’s shot in the 65-minute was wide from a free kick. Kadin Chung’s shot was off-target in the 77-minute.

Jayden Nelson’s goal helps TFC earn a draw

It does feel like a lot of these players are learning how to play at the MLS level. Lukas MacNaughton, for example, made a mistake that led to Real Salt Lake’s third goal. It is unclear when their defence will get better, but at least they are on the right track. Also, one can also see the positive play of these TFC players like Kosi Thompson and Jayden Nelson scoring their first-ever goal.

The one player to be concerned about though is Carlos Salcedo. He needs to be more disciplined. Trying to get the ball with your feet is very dangerous when a player is also battling for the ball.

For people who do not know, there are studs under the shoes, which might cause serious injury. It is also a much more punishable offence than the hard and dangerous tackle that got him suspended for a game against the New York Red Bulls.

Games coming up for both teams

TFC will play the Philadelphia Union next at 7:30 p.m. ET at BMO Field on Saturday, April. 16. They will then travel to Citi Field Stadium to face “Financial Centre Derby” rivals, New York City FC on Sunday, April. 24 at 5:00 p.m. ET.

The Philadelphia game will be shown on PHL17 while the game at Citi Field Stadium will be shown on the YES Network. Both games will be televised nationally in Canada.

This is while Real Salt Lake will travel to Yankees Stadium to face New York City on Sunday, April. 17 at 1:00 p.m. ET. They will then travel to Providence Park to face the Portland Timbers on Saturday, April. 23 at 10:00 p.m. ET.

The Portland game will be shown on Fox 12 Plus. This is while both the NYCFC and Timbers games will be shown on MLS Live on DAZN and KMYU. Additionally, RSL has a U.S. Open Cup game against Hailstorm on April 19.

Three Takeaways from the Game:

Real Salt Lake will feel that this game got away from them. RSL had the majority of the scoring chances against Toronto FC. They also found a way to get open looks to score in the first and second half. Unfortunately, in the second half, they did not capitalize on their opportunities. In particular, Meram’s shot in the 59-minute should have gone into the back of the net.

A historic night for two homegrown Toronto FC players. There were 10 Canadians who started for TFC today. Two of them scored their first-ever MLS goal for TFC today. Kosi Thompson connected on Jacob Shaffelburg’s cross perfectly while Jayden Nelson had individual brilliance and awareness to score Toronto’s game-tying goal.

Only the third time that Toronto FC got a result in Utah. Since 2007. Toronto only got a result two times prior to the one on Saturday. It shows that things are heading in the right direction in Bob Bradley’s tenure. They also extend their unbeaten run to three games after previous wins against DC United and New York City FC.

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