SANDY, Utah -- Injuries gave Deshorn Brown a chance to move into the starting lineup for the Colorado Rapids. The rookie forward could end up sticking around if he continues to be opportunistic.
Brown took advantage of a defensive mistake by Real Salt Lake late in the first half to score his first professional goal. It was enough to help the Rapids earn a 1-1 tie with RSL on Saturday for their first point of the season.
Brown put Colorado on the board when he capitalized on a mistake by Chris Schuler in the 37th minute. Brown stole the ball from Schuler and got behind him with only goalkeeper Nick Rimando to beat. Brown threaded the ball inside the far post beyond Rimando's outstretched arms.
"I'm not going to give up," Brown said. "I saw the defender go around and turn with the ball. He made a silly mistake, so I tore it off his foot. I just went straight to the goal and just hit it."
Alvaro Saborio scored late in the second half to help Salt Lake (1-1-1) rally to force the tie in the first leg of the Rocky Mountain Cup rivalry series. The Rapids (0-2-1) are trying to avoid losing the rivalry series for the seventh straight year. Gaining only a point left a sour taste with RSL, which once again struggled to create offence beyond feeding the ball to Saborio.
"Our guys want more," Salt Lake coach Jason Kreis said. "They expect more. That's a good thing to have."
Colorado lost starting goalkeeper Matt Pickens in the third minute when he broke his right forearm defending Kyle Beckerman's corner kick. Pickens poked away the ball as it hooked toward the goalmouth and RSL defender Kwame Watson-Siriboe headed his right wrist. The goalkeeper crumpled to the ground in front of the goalmouth, was helped off the field and taken to a hospital.
There was no question concerning the severity of his injury when it happened.
"He knew right away," Colorado defender Drew Moor said. "Everybody in the vicinity heard it."
Pickens has set club records for shutouts (29) and wins (41) since joining the team in a trade with Chicago in 2009. He played a key role in helping the Rapids claim the 2010 MLS Cup.
RSL dominated possession for long stretches and controlled the ball nearly 70 per cent of the time during the first half. Still, the Rapids struck first with Brown's goal.
Salt Lake created 11 shots but only two of those were on frame. Pickens saved the first -- a left-footer from Beckerman -- before being injured on the ensuing corner kick. Clint Irwin, his replacement, made the second save in the 41st minute when he snagged a right-footer from Luis Gil near the top left corner.
"We want to be solid defensively," Moor said. "We don't want to give up easy chances. We don't want to sit and bunker in and just absorb a bunch of pressure. We want to eliminate a team's chances."
Saborio tied it in the 80th minute. Joao Plata ended up with the ball following a fight for possession inside the box and fed it to Saborio on the right side. The RSL forward drilled a right-footer into the opposite corner. Salt Lake is 31-5-6 when Saborio scores in a match.
Rimando credited his teammates with having a great response when they faced a one-goal deficit.
"It kind of lights a fire under us to go and get one -- especially at home in front of our fans," Rimando said. "You don't want to lose ever in front of your fans. It just pushed us to move forward."