SANDY, Utah (AP) — Diego Rubio scored from distance in the 60th minute, seconds after entering as a second-half substitute Sunday, and Western Conference champion Sporting Kansas City tied Real Salt Lake 1-1 in Game 1 of a two-legged semifinal.
It was Rubio’s first touch after entering as a sub. Goalkeeper Nick Rimando’s clearance attempt was deflected by a hustling Felipe Gutierrez and Rubio settled it and sent it inside the far post.
Albert Rusnak scored for RSL in the 52nd minute by volleying home Damir Kreilach’s header on a give-and-go. Rusnak, one of RSL’s key players, will miss the next game after picking up a yellow card on a needless challenge of Graham Zusi far from goal.
Sporting KC, which will host the second leg next Sunday, has only one win in its last 13 regular-season meetings against RSL. SKC entered the playoffs as the top seed in the West, earning a first-round bye. Meanwhile, RSL snuck in at No. 6 in the standings and upset expansion side Los Angeles FC in the knockout round to advance to Sunday night’s contest.
The second leg of the conference semifinal will take place Nov. 11 at Children’s Mercy Park. The Portland Timbers have a 2-1 advantage over the Seattle Sounders in the other semifinal matchup.