LOS ANGELES (Sunday, October 1, 2023) – Real Salt Lake (13-11-7, 46 points, t-2nd West) secured a massive road victory over Western Conference elite LAFC, moving the Utah side into a second-place tie with Seattle entering the final three weeks of the 2023 MLS Regular Season. Tonight’s 1-0 result arrived courtesy a 72nd-minute game-winning goal from FW Chicho Arango and a spectacular shutout performance from goalkeeper Zac MacMath and the entire side, helping RSL earn a Club-record seventh MLS road win of the year and its first-ever result at BMO Stadium in the regular season.
The opening 20 minutes of the match saw both teams exchange possession, with neither able to create any threatening chances on goal. In the 22nd minute, however, LAFC had a chance to take the lead on a Dénis Bouanga freekick, but ‘keeper Zac MacMath made a diving save to his left to null the threat. Seconds later MacMath was quick off his line to snuff out a threatening through ball.
RSL continued to adjust to LAFC’s advances and contain the hosts, doing well to keep the match tied 0-0 at the break. Coming out of the locker rooms RSL was quick to test Maxime Crépeau, as Andrés Gómez struck a volley that forced the LAFC ‘keeper to an outstretched diving save in the 47th minute. Moments later on the other end MacMath made another important save, pushing Carlos Vela’s attempt over the bar.
Despite LAFC controlling possession, RSL continued to bend but never break as it faced the demands of the match, keeping itself in the contest waiting for a chance to pounce. That chance finally arrived in the 72nd minute, when tonight’s Captain, Chicho Arango, rose up in the six-yard-box to head home a perfectly-placed, whipped-in cross from substitute Rubio Rubín to give RSL the late lead against Chicho’s former team. The goal marked Arango’s 99th career professional goal, now just one away from his prized centenary.
RSL held to its game plan with a stingy, impenetrable defense, maintaining the one-goal lead deep into the match. With seven added minutes, LAFC bombarded MacMath with consecutive shots, but the RSL netminder stood tall, making a game-ending backpedaling save to silence the home crowd and secure the full three points, vaulting RSL up the West table.
UP NEXT: Real Salt Lake returns to America First Field for its 2023 reg. season home finale, hosting rivals Sporting Kansas City on Saturday, October 7 at 7:30 p.m. MT. The two clubs battled for a hard-fought 2-2 draw back in July in Kansas City.
RSL: Chicho Arango (Rubio Rubin, Braian Ojeda) 72nd minute: Ojeda laid a short pass off for Rubin who curled a perfect cross to the head of Arango who was able to rise up and flick the ball to the far post, sneaking it into the back of the net.
- Real Salt Lake recorded a Club-record seventh road victory, surpassing the previous record of six wins set, and then matched, in 2012 and 2013.
- The win also marked the team’s first-ever result at BMO Stadium in the regular season, having previously posted an 0-5-0 record at LAFC’s home. It is also only the second regular season win over LAFC, with the record against the Black and Gold now at 3-12-0 across all competitions (playoffs, Leagues Cup).
- Forward Chicho Arango recorded his sixth league goal, and eighth in 15 games across all competitions since arriving at Real Salt Lake in early July. The goal marked his 99th professionally, now just one away from the coveted centenary.
- Goalkeeper Zac MacMath’s seven saves earned the Claret-and-Cobalt’s eighth clean sheet of the season, and the Club’s first since a Sept. 2 home win over Colorado.
Real Salt Lake (4-4-2): Zac MacMath; Andrew Brody, Justen Glad, Brayan Vera, Bryan Oviedo; Andrés Gómez (Rubio Rubín 69’), Nelson Palacio, Braian Ojeda, Diego Luna (Maikel Chang 69’); Jefferson Savarino (Bode Hidalgo 88’), Chicho Arango (Danny Musovski 81’)
Subs not used: Gavin Beavers, Emeka Eneli, Anderson Julio, Damir Kreilach, Marcelo Silva,
LAFC (4-3-3): Maxim Crépeau; Ryan Hollingshead (Sergi Palencia 81’), Aaron Long, Jesús Murillo, Diego Palacios; Timothy Tillman, Ilie Sánchez, Kellyn Acosta (Mateusz Bogusz 34’); Cristian Olivera (Nathan Ordaz 62’), Dénis Bouanga, Carlos Vela
Subs not used: Giorgio Chiellini, Denial Maldonado, Filip Krastev, Érik Dueñas, John McCarthy, Stipe Biuk
Stats Summary: RSL / LAFC
Shots on Goal: 4/7
Corner Kicks: 1/9
LAFC: Ilie Sánchez (caution) 39’
RSL: Andrés Gómez (caution) 51’
LAFC: Cristian Olivera (caution) 56’
LAFC: Timothy Tillman (caution) 62’
LAFC: Mateusz Bogusz (caution) 67’
LAFC: Diego Palacios (caution) 78’
RSL: Rubio Rubín (caution) 86’
RSL: Nelson Palacio (caution) 89’