SANDY -- Call it grittiness.
Call it swagger.
Literally 20 seconds from full time, Real Salt Lake showed exactly what it is made of in the early season.
Newcomer forward Alvaro Saborio scored off wrapping free kick by Nelson Gonzalez, as the Utah MLS side hauled itself back from a goal-deficit to earn a 2-2 draw with the Seattle Sounders at Rio Tinto Stadium Saturday night.
"I don't think we played very well; I don't think we played like us," said outside midfielder Will Johnson, who scored Real's first goal of the match on a fantastic diving header. "We just made two amateur mistakes on (their) goals -- one off a throw-in and one on a set piece. If you want to win games, you have to cut that stuff out.
"That part is frustrating, but 2-2 is probably a fair result if you look at the whole game, possession and chance. It definitely gives us a boost to get a goal at the end and get a point."
It was the kind of finish and effort that shows Real Salt Lake means business about defending its 2009 MLS Cup championship as the team dug in deep after twice falling behind to garner a point in the place it has nearly been unbeatable -- ringing up a streak of 12-straight unbeaten matches.
"I wouldn't say for a moment that our energy level wasn't what it need to be," RSL boss Jason Kreis said. "I still expect more. It's early in the season."
It was also a match fitting of two of the Western Conference's best sides, with quality attacks at a premium as two vastly underrated defenses sought to impose their will against talented offensive players.
"Obviously (I'm) pleased with the reaction of our team," Kreis said. "On two occasions going down twice in a match and reacting the way they did is extremely positive for us. To get that goal felt like a just reward. It felt like that outcome should be a draw."
Real held Seattle to just two shots on goal, both in the first half, one of those, however resulted in midfielder Steve Zakuani punching the visitors into the 11th minute lead.
RSL, which lost star playmaking midfielder Javier Morales to a groin strain in the 38th minute, garnered five shots on frame, including three in the second half and scoring on two of those.
The first was Johnson's header came off a crisp dual-pass play from Robbie Russell and Robbie Findley, equalizing the match at 1-1.
Seattle stormed back in front in dubious fashion as defender Nat Borchers knocked in a free kick in the 72nd minute to put the Washington side up 2-1.
"You've got a bull's-eye. There's no secret about that," Johnson said. "Everyone comes in and they're playing harder. They're playing stronger and they're more physical with you. You can feel it every day, but we embrace it."
Saborio, who came on for the home side in the 77th minute in place of Findley, delivered the sigh of relief as Gonzalez's corner kick sailed to him and he softly headed it home. It was the 12th corner kick of the match for RSL.
* MATCH NOTES: Prior to kickoff Saturday, RSL's players, coaches and ownership was feted at midfied with a celebration of the team's 2009 MLS Cup championship. The parties involved received their championship rings, while a permanent championship placard was unveiled.
* UNION 3, D.C. UNITED 2: At Philadelphia, Sebastien Le Toux scored three goals, including the tiebreaker in the 80th minute, Alejandro Moreno added two assists and the expansion Philadelphia Union won their inaugural home game with a victory over D.C. United.
* CHIVAS USA 2, RED BULLS 0: At Carson, Calif., New York goalie Bouna Coundoul gave up an own goal in the 47th minute and Chivas USA's Jesus Padilla sealed the win in second-half stoppage time.
Shortly after the start of the second half, Padilla sent a shot that deflected off Red Bulls defender Tim Ream. The ball hit the post and came toward Coundoul, who dove at the ball and knocked it across the goal line and into the net.
New York (2-1-0) took its first loss of the season and Chivas (1-2-0) got its first win.
* REVOLUTION 4, TORONTO FC 1: At Foxborough, Mass., rookie striker Zach Schilawski scored three goals in an 11-minute span early in the second half and New England won its home opener.
Schilawski tied the match at 1-1 in the 47th minute, scored the tiebreaker four minutes later and completed his hat trick in the 58th minute.
* WIZARDS 1, RAPIDS 0: At Kansas City, Mo., Ryan Smith danced his way through Colorado's defense all night and set up Kei Kamara's goal in the 48th minute, lifting Kansas City.
Smith found plenty of room to operate in Kansas City's claustrophobically small home field, CommunityAmerica Ballpark, creating plenty of scoring chances early. He later got the assist on the game's only goal, curling a free kick into the box, where Kamara outleaped two defenders and headed it in just under the crossbar.
Colorado (1-1-1) generated only a handful of good scoring opportunities and lost a goal by Conor Casey in the 69th minute on an offsides call.
* GALAXY 2, DYNAMO 0: At Houston, Edson Buddle scored twice and Donovan Ricketts had his third straight shutout to start the season for Los Angeles.
Buddle, who has scored all five of the Galaxy's goals this season, gave Los Angeles a 1-0 lead in the 27th minute on an unassisted goal from the left side.
Buddle upped the lead to 2-0 in the 45th minute.
* EARTHQUAKES 2, FIRE 1: At Bridgeview, Ill., Ike Opara scored on a header in the 82nd minute to lead San Jose.
Opara, selected third in this year's MLS draft, moved forward between Chicago defenders and headed in midfielder Bobby Convey's pass from 12 yards out, beating Fire goalkeeper Andrew Dykstra.
* FC DALLAS 2, CREW 2: At Frisco, Texas, Eric Avila scored the tying goal in the 93rd minute for FC Dallas.
Avila, who entered the game in the 75th minute, fired a shot from near the top of the penalty arc and into the right corner of the net for. Jeff Cunningham also scored for FC Dallas (0-0-2), converting a penalty kcik in the 29th minute.
Andy Moffat tied the score at 1-1 in the 52nd minute and Guillermo Barros Schelotto gave Columbus (1-1-0) a 2-1 lead in the 82nd.