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Recap: Toronto FC earn a 2-2 draw against Real Salt Lake

Kosi Thompson and Jayden Nelson both netted their first goals for TFC in the tie.

Toronto FC v Real Salt Lake
Kosi Thompson and Pablo Ruiz battle for the ball in the first half at the Rio Tinto Stadium.
Photo by Chris Gardner/Getty Images

Kosi Thompson and Jayden Nelson scored their first senior goals for Toronto FC in a 2-2 draw on the road against Real Salt Lake.

Nelson’s long-range effort in the second half tied the game at two a piece as TFC went on to secure a point in Utah.

Thompson got his first goal for his hometown club in the 9th minute, tying the match at one-all.

Toronto FC (2-2-2) came back from a goal down twice in this one, earning themselves a point and extending their unbeaten run to three.

Justin Meram and Damir Kreilach of Real Salt Lake (3-1-3) scored their first goals of the 2022 MLS season in Saturday night’s contest.

Meram opened the scoring in the 7th minute following a turnover from Jacob Shaffelburg. The Nova Scotian lost the ball on the left flank, and it eventually found Meram in the middle. The Iraq international wasn’t closed down properly and let fly from outside of the box. His strike fizzed into the top left corner, past the diving Alex Bono.

Shaffelburg seemed determined to make up for his giveaway, and that he did. Just two minutes after conceding, Shaffelburg raced down the left flank to the goal line, before floating a ball into Thompson. The recent academy graduate neatly volleyed it into the goal on his weaker left foot, scoring his first for the club in just his second start.

Before the half would end, TFC would suffer another lapse of concentration in the defensive third. Maikel Chang was allowed too much time to send a cross into the penalty area, as his ball sailed over Lukas MacNaughton, and onto the chest of Kreilach. The Croatian would make no mistake with the control or the finish, slotting it past Bono in the 43rd minute.

Toronto FC v Real Salt Lake
Sergio Cordova challenges Lukas MacNaughton for the ball in the first half.
Photo by Chris Gardner/Getty Images

Toronto came out of the break looking a bit sluggish on the attack, while still making sloppy mistakes when defending.

Already down 2-1 in the second half, The Reds almost let in a third in the 59th, as Meram missed an absolute sitter after being set up by Sergio Cordova.

TFC would make the most of that fortune by finding the net themselves.

Upping the pressure in search of an equalizer, it would be Nelson off the bench for TFC who would prove to be the difference-maker.

Five minutes after coming on for Shaffelburg, Nelson stole the ball off of Kreilach and caught goalkeeper Zac MacMath off his line. Nelson then sent it flying into the back of the net from a considerable distance.

Following an unnecessarily lengthy review from VAR, the goal would stand, giving the Toronto academy product his first goal in MLS.

The drama wouldn’t stop there as Carlos Salcedo was shown a straight red card in the 86th minute after failing to deal with a clearance, nicking Cordova in the head with his boot in the process.

TFC would do enough to see out the rest of the match with 10 men, with a final score of 2-2.

A memorable evening for Thompson and Nelson would end with a hard-fought point against a tough Western Conference opponent.

Real Salt Lake travel to the Empire State to take on New York City FC on April 17 in their next match.

Meanwhile, The Reds will look to stay undefeated in four-straight when they host league-leaders Philadelphia Union on April 16.