Real Salt Lake 1 vs. 0 Los Angeles Football Club
_October 1, 2023; BMO Stadium; Los Angeles, California_Real Salt Lake (13-11-7, 46 points); Los Angeles Football Club (12-10-9, 45 points)
Man of the Match: Chicho Arango propelled Real Salt Lake into a favorable playoff position with the lone goal of the match in the 72nd minute, his 99th career tally. Against his former team Arango was determined to score, creating dangerous looks around the 18-yard-box. Although Arango was the only player to score, he helped craft several looks for teammates with his nifty passing and excellent ball control during the match.
Telling Stats: Real Salt Lake’s 1-0 victory over LAFC is only the second time that RSL has won against the City of Angels side in 13 Major League Soccer regular season matches, the win marking the first on the road. By recording a shutout RSL extends LAFC’s streak without a goal scored to four straight, a record only shared between these two clubs across all of MLS. The shutout also marks the 20th time that LAFC has been held scoreless across its first five seasons in MLS. Finding their seventh victory on the road this season the Claret-and-Cobalt set a single-season road win record while propelling themselves to second in the Western Conference.
What You Missed: Throughout the first half both teams exchanged several chances but neither side was able to find an early goal. The Real Salt Lake backline remained steadfast and focused, preventing LAFC from finding the back of the net in the first 45 minutes despite Dénis Bouanga and Carlos Vela creating several chances. In the 26th minute RSL began to garner confidence and created several dangerous looks inside the 18-yard-box, but was unable to score entering the half tied 0-0. At the start of the second half Real Salt Lake seemed determined to score out of the gate creating multiple looks but the first goal continued to evade the Claret-and-Cobalt. RSL would finally end the drought in the 72nd minute when Rubio Rubín crossed a brilliant ball into Arango who struck a header past the ‘keeper to take the 1-0 lead and eventual victory, as Zac MacMath made a number of clutch saves in the dying moments to kill the game.
What’s Next: Real Salt Lake will return to America First Field on Saturday, October 7 for the Club’s last home game of the regular season facing rivals Sporting Kansas City at 7:30 p.m. MT. In the previous match between these two sides RSL drew 2-2 making a late comeback on the road to escape Children’s Mercy Park with a point.