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Real Salt Lake Unbeaten Run Snapped with 3-0 Home Loss to LAFC

SANDY, Utah (Saturday, May 13, 2023)Real Salt Lake (3-6-2, 11 pts, 11th West MLS) dropped a 3-0 home decision to defending MLS Cup champions Los Angeles Football Club (6-1-3, 21 pts, 3rd West MLS) Saturday night in Sandy, before 19,407 fans. RSL sees its five-game unbeaten run across MLS and U.S. Open Cup snapped, with the opportunity to start anew Wednesday night against Portland Timbers FC at America First Field as the League campaign continues.

On the front foot for most of the first half, RSL yet again conceded the first goal of the night, as LAFC struck first in the ninth minute. MF Ilie Sanchez hit a long ball over the top that saw a streaking Kwadwo Opoku latch on, go in alone on RSL’s **Zac MacMath**, and open the scoring. That goal ended RSL’s shutout streak at 230 minutes in MLS action. For the seventh time in nine MLS matches, RSL found itself down 1-0.

RSL saw a trio of chances go wanting, as creativity from both **Jefferson Savarino** and Andrés Gómez created pressure on the LAFC defense. A long-range blast from **Pablo Ruiz** was saved deftly by LAFC keeper John McCarthy; on either side of the Ruiz chance, **Rubio Rubin** found himself inside the six, but was unable to find the back of the net.

Then in the 34th minute, dynamic Carlos Vela played a give and go in the attacking third with the hottest player in MLS, Denis Bouanga. The Gabon international unleashed an unpressured 25-yard blast with his left foot into the top right corner, the RSL ‘keeper MacMath with no chance to thwart. LAFC entered the halftime break up 2-0 over the Utah side.

In the second half, both teams saw a much slower pace of play, as LAFC chose to take the air out of the ball with deliberate possession. LAFC added a third goal via penalty kick in the 86th minute, as DF **Brayan Vera** looked to have pulled down Bouanga in the box. RSL again created several opportunistic half-chances, but despite the advantage in corner kicks (6-2) and shots (20-15), the Claret-and-Cobalt suffered its third consecutive shutout in MLS action, last scoring late in the 3-1 home win over San Jose on April 22.

UP NEXT: Real Salt Lake remains home at America First Field to host Portland Timbers FC this Wednesday, May 17 at 7:30 p.m. MT. Tickets are available at for this match, the second between the sides in a week, as RSL defeated the Timbers 4-3 in U.S. Open Cup play last Wednesday to advance in the 109-year-old tournament.


LAFC: Kwadwo Opoku (Ilie Sanchez), 8thminute: A long, looping ball from Ilie Sanchez over the top finds a streaking Opoku down LAFC’s right central side, the fleet-footed Ghanaian in alone on RSL GK Zac MacMath, as the RSL defense concedes an opposing goal for the first time in 230 MLS minutes.

LAFC: Denis Bouanga (Carlos Vela), 34th minute: After Vela brings the ball into the attacking third, he twice lays off the ball to a dangerous Bouanga, who decides to launch an uncontested left-footed laser from 25 yards out into the opposite top corner to double the LAFC lead, against the run of play.

LAFC: Mateusz Bogusz (penalty), 86th minute: RSL DF Brayan Vera is adjudged to have taken down Denis Bouanga in the box, leading to a converted penalty by the Polish midfielder, his first in MLS.


  • RSL has defeated LAFC just once in 12 MLS reg. season contests, a 3-0 home win in Sept. 2020; LAFC’s 11 wins have come via an 18-3 aggregate scoreline, while the 11 RSL losses are the most by one opponent over another in MLS since KC over Colorado nearly a decade ago
  • The five-game unbeaten run by RSL snapped tonight across all competitions is the longest in the 67-game Pablo Mastroeni era
  • FW Anderson Julio returned from a hamstring injury suffered early in the April 22 win to appear for the first time in three weeks; Marcelo Silva (back), Jasper Löffelsend (ankle) and Erik Holt (shoulder) could return to action this week
  • RSL’s three home losses this year (2W-3L-1T) in its first six games equal the 2022 total, which saw the Utah side post a 9W-3L-5T mark at America First Field


Real Salt Lake (4-4-2): Zac MacMath; Andrew Brody, Justen Glad, Bryan Oviedo; Pablo Ruiz (Emeka Eneli 72), Braian Ojeda Andrés Gómez (Bertin Jacquesson 59), Jefferson Savarino; Danny Musovski (Anderson Julio 59), Rubio Rubin (Damir Kreilach 72)

Subs not used: Gavin Beavers, Bode Hidalgo, Delentz Pierre, Scott Caldwell, Maikel Chang

LAFC (4-4-2): John McCarthy; Denil Maldonado, Diego Palacios (Sergi Palencia 79), Ryan Hollingshead, Aaron Long; Ilie Sanchez (Erik Duenas 88), Timothy Tillman, Kellyn Acosta (Jose Cifuentes 25), Kwadwo Opoku (Stipe Biuk,79); Carlos Vela (Mateusz Bogusz 79), Denis Bouanga

Subs not used: Eldin Jakupovic, Daniel Crisostomo, Nathan Ordaz

Stats Summary: RSL / LAFC

Shots: 20/15

Shots on goal: 6/5

Saves: 2/4

Corner Kicks: 6/2

Fouls: 11/6

RSL: Braian Ojeda (caution) 27’

LAFC: Ryan Hollingshead (caution) 67’

RSL: Emeka Eneli (caution) 78’