Columbus Crew SC had perhaps the best chance of the season to earn the team's first away win when the club took on Real Salt Lake, who was without multiple starters via suspension, injury, or international call-ups. In the end though, the Black & Gold settled for a road point in a 2-2, come-from-behind draw.
Without its top attacking option and leading scorer, Javier Morales, Real had to find offense through other channels. Early in the match, Salt Lake did that, pressuring Crew SC with a high press and forcing goalkeeper Steve Clark into some uncomfortable situations.
Columbus' back line held tight until Real devised a tricky set piece from 25 yards out in the 36th minute.
Luke Mullholland played the free kick short to Kyle Beckerman, who flicked the ball one-touch over the wall to the near side. Forward Joao Plata made a run on that side off the wall that lost marker Federico Higuain and he headed the ball across the face of goal for a one-time finish for forward Olmes Garcia and the 1-0 lead.
The Black & Gold responded well after conceding, with a goal from Tony Tchani six minutes later.
Major League Soccer assist leader Ethan Finlay found right back Hector Jimenez out wide on an overlapping run. The former winger sent a low cross in to an onrushing Tchani, who finished the chance from inside the penalty area for his second goal of the season and a first half equalizer.
After the halftime break, Crew SC lost composure a bit, allowing Real to take the lead. Once again, it was a mistake in the defensive ranks that gifted the Black & Gold's opponent a goal.
A long ball went over the top of center back Emanuel Pogatetz and the Austrian tried to screen for his goalkeeper to clear. Clark was not off his line fast enough, and Pogatetz did not react quickly, allowing forward Sebastian Jaime to finish and give the team the early second half lead.
Once again Columbus responded well to falling behind by one and found the second equalizer of the night through Finlay.
The winger has become MLS' best assist man on the right-hand side of the Crew SC attack, but turned into a finisher from the left in this contest.
Forward Kei Kamara found Higuain with space on the right side of the pitch. The attacking midfielder sent a driven ball into the box that Finlay touched past goalkeeper Nick Rimando and into the net.
The task became a bit more difficult for Real in the 77th minute when second half substitute Jordan Allen was issued a straight red card after he went over the ball on a sliding tackle on Michael Parkhurst.
Despite creating several good chances with a man advantage over the final 10 minutes, the Black & Gold could not find the go-ahead goal to give the side the victory.
Columbus remains winless on the road after picking up the point.