Chicho Arango’s thrilling three goal performance on Saturday has earned him MLS Team of the Matchday and Player of the Matchday honors. Let’s take a look into how the RSL forward did it all for the Claret-and-Cobalt against St. Louis CITY. 


As fans of the Claret-and-Cobalt descended upon America First Field, no one could expect the chaos that would ensue after a third-minute goal from St. Louis’ Indiana Vassilev. Being down 1-0 so early in the game led to America First Field morphing from a soccer field to a pinball machine. St Louis City SC Captain and 2023 MLS Goalkeeper of the Year Roman Bürki defended the CITY goal like flippers from the classic arcade game from a barrage of shots from Real Salt Lake attackers. 

In the 70th minute, RSL DF Brayan Vera fed newcomer Alex Katranis a pass to spring an attacking run into the left half-space. Seeing RSL Captain Chicho find room at the top of the box, Katranis places a pass onto Chicho’s left foot. Chicho - with his back to the goal, facing his own back line - takes a perfect first touch, turns 180 degrees and fires a laser beam into the right side of the net, pushing past the diving Bürki’s outstretched hands.

After some clever play from winger Andrés Gómez and holding mid Emeka Eneli, St Louis City conceded a penalty due to a foul in the box by Chris Durkin. Following a VAR check, the penalty stood and the two team captains faced off. Chicho stutters, Bürki bites to his right and Chicho passes it low and left for the brace as Real Salt Lake takes the 2-1 lead.

As the 90th minute approached, the fourth official indicated that there would be a minimum of 13 minutes of added time, justified from all the stoppages a choppy second half experienced. There were sighs from the crowd and the boys in the Peak Utah kits decided to ease the anxiety of those 19,357 at America First Field. The ball is played deep into the attack to Chicho who boxed out his defender, brought the ball down to his feet with a touch off his knee, and playing a loose ball won confidently by Diego Luna. The young Olympic hopeful beats a defender and cuts the ball back to Chicho on his left, the Colombian sniper continuing his attacking run and firing a shot past Bürki’s right. 

Chicho’s hat trick was his second over his impressive MLS career, once notching the feat for LAFC against Dallas back in 2021. The three-goal individual effort was just the seventh in Real Salt Lake's 620-game Major League Soccer history, the first since Damir Kreilach’s three-goal effort on September 1, 2018. Chicho’s heroics Saturday bring him to 5 goals and 4 assists on the young MLS season, ranking him second amongst League leaders in both categories (behind teammate Luna, who leads MLS with five assists).

Chicho was the first to credit his teammates post-game, highlighting the performances of Katranis, Gómez, Eneli, and Luna, each of whom provided opportunities for the Captain to score.Chicho’s heroics led the Claret and Cobalt to a statement 3-1 win and helped turn the homeground into a fortress.