SANDY, Utah – Ola Kamara has scored five times in his last two matches against Real Salt Lake. After a hat trick en route to a 4-3 victory in Columbus in the cross-conference meeting last season, Kamara notched a brace for Crew SC in a 2-2 draw on the road Saturday evening at Rio Tinto Stadium.
The forward was assisted by rookie midfielder Connor Maloney on a goal in the 15th minute that put the Black & Gold ahead 1-0. Maloney found a rebound on an attack and sent it toward the center of the box to Kamara, who slotted it near the top of the net perfectly.
The assist was the first of Maloney’s Major League Soccer career. The Penn State product also made his first career start in the match against R.
Kamara struck again with the Black & Gold under fire later in the match and down 2-1. In the 60th minute Kamara found a rebound after a shot by Crew SC midfielder Ethan Finlay and scored it himself with a bounding strike that RSL goalkeeper Nick Rimando was unable to track.
Kamara’s team-leading 10th and 11th goals of the season snapped a four-match goalless streak for the forward dating back to June 24 against the Montreal Impact in Columbus.
The 50th minute saw the whistle blow with RSL in the penalty box. Crew SC defender Josh Williams was called for a hand ball after Real Salt Lake forward Luis Silva fired a ball in his direction.
The penalty kick was converted by Real midfielder Joao Plata and equalized the score at 1-1 midway through the match.
Salt Lake scored again just three minutes later when midfielder Jefferson Savarino received a long ball from Silva and scored far-post on Crew SC goalkeeper Zack Steffen to push RSL ahead 2-1 in the 53rd minute.
The defensive stat sheet showed in favor of the Black & Gold. Crew SC recorded more saves (3-0), clearances (22-16) and won more tackles (14-7) than RSL in the match.
Crew SC Sporting Director and Head Coach Gregg Berhalter was a bit restricted in his choices for his matchday 18 during the match out west. The Black & Gold were without veteran midfielder Federico Higuain due to a right knee sprain and center backs Jonathan Mensah and Lalas Abubakar were out due to red card suspensions.
Columbus (10-11-2, 32 points), remained in playoff position in the MLS Eastern Conference with only their second draw of the season while Salt Lake (7-12-4, 25 points) remained on the outside of the Western Conference playoff picture.
Venue: Rio Tinto Stadium (Sandy, Utah)
Referee: Kevin Stott
Assistants: Brian Poeschel, TJ Zablocki
Fourth Official: Baboucarr Jallow
15’ – CLB – Ola Kamara (Connor Maloney)
50’ – RSL – Joao Plata (PK)
53’ – RSL – Jefferson Savarino (Luis Silva)
60’ – CLB – Ola Kamara
RSL – Sebastian Saucedo (Caution) 88’
Columbus Crew SC: Zack Steffen; Nicolai Naess, Alex Crognale, Josh Williams; Waylon Francis (Jukka Raitala 78’), Wil Trapp ©, Artur, Connor Maloney (Hector Jimenez 82’); Justin Meram (Kekuta Manneh 66’), Ethan Finlay; Ola Kamara
Substitutes not used: Brad Stuver, Mohammed Abu, Cristian Martinez, Adam Jahn
Real Salt Lake: Nick Rimando; Danilo Acosta, Tony Beltran, Marcelo Silva, Justen Glad; Sunny, Kyle Beckerman ©; Jefferson Savarino (Brooks Lennon 68’), Albert Rusnak, Joao Plata (Sebastian Saucedo 82’); Luis Silva (Yura Movsisyan 78’)
Substitutes not used: Chris Wingert, Luke Mulholland, David Horst, Lalo Fernandez
A pair of milestones were seen for two Crew SC veterans in Sandy on Saturday night. With the start, Finlay made his 150th appearance as a member of the Black & Gold. Midfielder Hector Jimenez also appeared in an MLS match for the 125th time during the game when he entered as a substitution in the 82nd minute.
The match was the lone meeting of 2017 between the two clubs. Crew SC holds a record of 11-5-4 against RSL, scoring 33 goals in the process while only allowing 30. During road matches such as Saturday’s, Real Salt Lake have only beaten Crew SC once in seven regular season games since the start of the 2011 season (1-4-2).
Crew SC will next travel to face the San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday, August 5 at 10:30 p.m. ET before returning home to Columbus on Saturday, August 12 for a match against t