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Chicho Arango the Brilliant Star in Galaxy Draw


RSL Captain Chicho Arango was the undisputed star of the show, shining brightest on a night that saw him continue his fantastic form. Chicho led RSL to a 2-0 halftime lead on the road, the Claret-and-Cobalt ultimately forced to settle for a hard-fought 2-2 draw with LA Galaxy at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson on Saturday night.

The 50th MLS regular-season meeting between the two Western Conference rivals provided the backdrop for the Colombian Captain’s continued excellence during the first third of the 2024 season, as pursuit of the MLS Golden Boot - racing with Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez, Christian Benteke and others - was on full display this weekend.

The 29-year-old captured his first goal of the game,

rising over others in the penalty area to powerfully head home a cross from Alex Katranis in the 29th minute, completing a precise attacking sequence from the Utah side to establish the Salt Lake lead in the City of Angels.

Chicho would then grab his second goal of the game, and League-leading 11th of the season, just minutes before halftime, arriving late into the box to get on the end of a cutback from Andres Gomez with a first-time finish to double the Claret-and-Cobalt’s lead and send the away supporters into ecstasy.

Yet again, the dominant Colombian put in a complete and assured performance leading the line for Pablo Mastroeni and Co., in a style befitting the Club’a sixth-ever captain, in what has been a truly inspiring campaign thus far from RSL’s leading man. Chicho’s brace on Saturday night brings his goal tally this season to 11, also meaning that the 29-year old has now directly contributed to 18 of the 20 goals RSL has scored this season, with his seven assists also tied for third amongst MLS leaders.

Fellow Colombian and 21-year-old attacker Andrés Gómez also continued his streak of impressive performances this season, highlighted by his assist on RSL’s second goal of the game, his fourth of the season so far in what has been a revelatory campaign for the young playmaker. Gómez proved to be a constant thorn in the flesh of the Galaxy backline, wreaking havoc on a Galaxy defense that struggled to contain the winger’s pace and trickery for almost the entirety of the game. His impressive performance was unlucky to not have been capped off with a goal, however, with two big chances on either side of halftime which were well-saved by the Galaxy goalkeeper, John McCarthy, but nonetheless, it was another breathtaking and inspired display from one of the league’s most talented young players.

Story of the Game

Despite establishing a two-goal advantage by the end of the first half, RSL struggled to assert its dominance and control for much of the second 45 against a desperate Galaxy side and was made to pay the price, succumbing to two second-half Galaxy goals - one early, another late - including a final-second equalizer at the absolute death to force shared spoils.

RSL began the game on the defensive foot, pinned back by the Galaxy’s attack and soaking up pressure and hitting the hosts on the counter with the pace, strength, and dynamism of its front four. After surviving a few scares early on in the match, RSL took the lead against the run of play through a beautifully worked attacking sequence in the 20th minute. Having rotated the ball all the way to the left flank to find Katranis, the wingback delivered an inch-perfect cross into the box to find Chicho, who rose highest ahead of Maya Yoshida to head home beyond the reach of McCarthy to silence the home crowd and establish a somewhat stunning lead.

RSL grabbed its second goal of the game 20 minutes later. A quick exchange between Gómez and newcomer Matt Crooks found the former with acres of time and space to run down the right side of the penalty box and deliver a cut back to his compatriot Chicho, who subsequently made no mistake with a hard and precise first time finish which flew past McCarthy before he even had time to react, to strengthen’s the visitor’s grip on the contest.

RSL struggled to make any sort of the same level of impact it had in the first half in the second half and was forced to defend against consistent waves of Galaxy pressure for almost the entirety of the second 45 minutes as the hosts valiantly fought back for a result. The Galaxy finally manaegd to pull one back in the 54th minute when Riqui Puig found Gabriel Pec on the left hand side of the penalty area who in turn fired a low, driven near post effort that got a touch from the keeper on its way in.

With the score at 2-1, RSL continued to hold out against a complete Galaxy onslaught as the home team continued its desperate, unrelenting search for an equalizer which finally came in the 4th minute of injury time, with the last play of the game. Upon receiving the ball in the right half space of the pitch, Puig, LA Galaxy’s creative linchpin, delivered an inch perfect ball into the center of the box which found Miguel Berry who stole in front of Zac MacMath - coming out to claim the cross - and managed to poke the ball into an empty net. With that being the last play of the game, RSL was forced to settle for a draw in a game the team would feel it could and should have won.

Important Stats

  • Captain Chicho Arango’s brace brings his goal tally this season to 11, on par with Christian Benteke (DC) and Luis Suarez (MIA) in the race for the MLS Golden Boot. It also means that the 29-year old has now directly contributed to 18 of the 20 goals RSL has scored this season, with his seven assists also tied for third in the league
  • .
  • Andres Gomez’s assist for RSL’s second goal represents the 21-year-old’s fourth assist of the season, with four goals as well in just 11 games.
  • Two players, Philip Quinton and Tommy Silva, receive their first career MLS starts in a Claret-and-Cobalt kit, with Silva getting the first MLS minutes of his professional career, as the 210th player to appear for RSL in its 626-game MLS history.
  • Real Salt Lake’s point keeps it atop the Western Conference standings with 22 points, currently two points ahead of idle Minnesota United who now have two games in hand.

What’s Next?

Fans can catch RSL in action on Wednesday when the team returns home to America First Field for an MLS showdown with Seattle Sounders FC - kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.