Jaden Nelson’s highlight-reel goal binds Toronto FC to Real Salt

SANDY, Utah – Alternate Jaden Nelson’s first MLS goal of his career, an opportunistic strike from a long range, drew Toronto FC 2-2 with Real Salt Lake on Saturday.

The ball was stolen from Damir Kreilach, 19, after receiving the ball from Salt Lake captain Goalkeeper Jack McMath. Nelson looked up, McMath was out of position and fired it from home in the 79th minute from 35 yards-plus.

Saltlake shouted foul but referee Marcos de Oliveira did not foul Nelson and the goal survived the video review. The goal came in Nelson’s 20th MLS regular-season appearance.

Another 19-year-old, Kosi Thompson, also scored his first MLS goal for Toronto.

Toronto defender Carlos Salcedo, who had a tough game to get back to where he started his MLS career, was sent off in the 86th minute for a high boot that caught Sergio Cordova in the face.

This was a rare point for Toronto (2-2-2) in Utah. TFC has not won since its first tour of the Behavior State, a 2-1 win in July 2007. Since then, Salt Lake has won eight of 10 (8-0-2) against TFC.

Toronto was almost as influential on the BMO field against the RSL, leading 5-1-3 in all competitions there.

Veteran Justin Murram started the score for Salt Lake in the seventh minute (3-1-3) after Jacob Schaffelberg lost the ball to Michael Chang in midfield. Two passes later it was at the feet of the American-born Iraq International, who, despite facing four TFC defenders, fired a shot into the top corner from behind Alex Bono just outside the penalty box.

Merem made room for some fancy footwork shots, with TFC captain Michael Bradley unable to adjust. It was the 49th regular-season goal of Meram’s career.

Schaffelberg corrected two minutes later with a fine run to the left flank, starting from Toronto’s midfield side, before a cross was floated by Thomson, who acrobaticly home it with his left foot at the start of his second MLS.

Kreilach led the home side 2-1 in the 43rd minute, scoring in the penalty box before Chang’s perfect cross bounced off Bono from close range. Defender Lucas McIntyre got up for the ball but failed to get his head in it and the Croatian midfielder paid him.

Chank was given too much time to notice his cross in the far post.

Toronto won at home and away against DC United and New York City FC. And coach Bob Bradley is stuck in the winning lineup, starting at 11 against NYCFC just like last time.

Midfielder Jonathan Osorio has extended his club record with 298th appearances for Toronto in all competitions.

With the game tied at 1-1, Salt Lake had two good aerial chances in the middle of the first half but Cordova and Marcelo Silver Header both missed.

An unmarked McIntyre had a great chance to equalize in a corner in stoppage time in the first half but missed his header mark.

Cadin Chung replaces McInton at halftime as Toronto moves to the back four, perhaps to strengthen his right against Meram’s danger.

Right after the break the home side almost added their lead when Cordova bypassed Solcedo but the Venezuelan shot managed Bono from a solid angle. Thompson went downstairs soon after, having an accidental head injury after a scuffle with an RSL player, but continued after treatment.

Meram’s curling shot was wide from a distance after Salcedo lost the ball in the 50th minute.

Toronto missed a bullet in the 59th minute when Pablo Ruiz was unable to deliver a feed from Cোrdoba in an attack caused by a charging. Two minutes later, Cোrdoba fired a shot as the Salt Lake TFC defense continued to dig.

Salt Lake has not lost a home match to an Eastern Conference opponent since a 1-0 defeat to Orlando in July 2017. RSL went 10-0-5 against the Eastern Conference spectators at the Rio Tinto Stadium.

In 2021, RSL was 9-4-4 at home, a club record, including seven consecutive wins.

Salt Lake is now 2-0-1 at home this season. Toronto 0-1-2 on the street.

Toronto snatched a nine-game winless streak with a drawn home win in early October, failing to win its last 11 away games (0-7-4) since a 2-1 win over Chicago in early July.

Its last victory over a Western rival was in September 2017 at the Los Angeles Galaxy, although there were limited meetings with Western enemies in the epidemic-disrupted 2020 and ’21 seasons.

Toronto Wingback Jahkile was without marshal-bread (knee) and forward Ayo Aquinola (recovery from knee surgery).

Jack Farnworth (ankle), Justin Glad (hamstrings), Brett Halsey (ankle), Eric Holt (foot), Johann Capelhoff (calf), Jonathan Menendez, Jasper Lofelsand (hamstrings), David Ochoa (quad) The list was long. And Bobby Wood (hamstrings) is not worn.

Salt Lake has started 17-year-old center-back Jazel Orozco for the second week in a row. Last time out, the Mexican Youth International started playing MLS as the youngest RSL player, breaking Freddie Adu’s 2007 club record in five days.

It was the “Utah Jazz Night” at the Rio Tinto Stadium.

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