Orlando City SC 0, Real Salt Lake 0 | 2020 MLS Match Recap
Orlando, who were missing the inspiration of star attacker Nani out due to suspension, were slightly the better side in the first half. It was Lions right back Ruan who helped generate a couple good chances for his teammates, while a deflected Mauricio Pereyra shot in the 18th minute was probably the closest the ball came to hitting the back of either net.
It was more of the same in the second half, with the two sides deadlocked. RSL 'keeper Zac MacMath showed strong hands to keep out a close-range effort from Chris Mueller in the 78th minute, which was the best look either side had in the half.
RSL fans also got their first glimpse of ex-Italy international Giuseppe Rossi, who signed for the club on Thursday and entered the game in the 79th minute.
- THE BIG PICTURE: It wasn't a game either group of supporters will sing songs about, but looking at the bigger picture and how their teams played, both coaches probably won't be too upset at getting a point to open the season. Pareja will be disappointed not to have generated better looks at home, but the strong defensive performance from his side is nothing to sniff at, especially for a team that hasn't had a lot of those in their MLS history. Opposite number Freddy Juarez will have no qualms about pulling off a draw on the road as he looks to integrate a number of new faces and deal with the departure of former star man Jefferson Savarino.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: MacMath's save on Mueller may not make the Save of the Year shortlist, but he did well to push it out of danger, keeping the game tied late on, and it will be an important confidence builder for a 'keeper who's fighting to lock down the starting job on the Wasatch Front.
- MAN OF THE MATCH: No one had a truly standout performance, but Ruan dropped some hints as to why he's one of the most exciting fullbacks in MLS. He generated a number of good looks for Orlando while pushing forward in the first half and though he was less influential in the second half, he made up for a potentially disastrous giveaway by making a crucial tackle on RSL's Justin Meram in the box that only a player with the Brazilian's speed and instincts could execute.
- Orlando: Saturday, March 7 at Colorado (9 pm ET | MLS LIVE on ESPN+ in the US; MLS LIVE on DAZN in Canada)
- Real Salt Lake: Saturday, March 7 vs. New York Red Bulls (2 pm ET | MLS LIVE on ESPN+ in the US; MLS LIVE on DAZN in Canada)