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RSL Captain Chicho Arango Voted MLS Player of the Matchday For Matchday 7


NEW YORK / HERRIMAN, Utah (Monday, April 1, 2024) – Real Salt Lake Captain Cristian “Chicho” Arango was voted the Major League Soccer Player of the Matchday for Matchday 7 of the 2024 MLS season.

On Saturday, March 30, Arango recorded his second MLS career hat trick, scoring all three goals in the club’s come-from-behind 3-1 victory over St. Louis CITY SC (Watch Highlights from His Performance Here). With his three-goal performance, Arango became the first Salt Lake player to produce a hat trick since Damir Kreilach scored three times against the LA Galaxy on September 1, 2018. Chicho is just the fifth player in RSL’s Club history to register a hat trick in MLS play, and the sixth overall (Jason Kreis, U.S. Open Cup, 2005). 

“We knew we needed to focus on ourselves,” said Arango to the assembled media post-game. “We saw in the first half that it was a closely-played game despite the early goal. But we knew in the second half we would create space, and take the time and opportunities to separate from them. Thank God we did and we ended up winning the match.”

Among active MLS players with at least 40 goals scored, Arango ranks second in goals per game (0.60), behind only Josef Martínez, with Arango also the only active player to have scored at least five goals in each of the past four seasons. Since joining Real Salt Lake last July, the Colombian forward has scored 11 times and added six assists in only 17 MLS appearances, with additional attacking flair provided in Leagues Cup (two goals), Open Cup and the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs.

After falling behind in the third minute Saturday, Salt Lake equalized when Arango received the ball at the top of the 18-yard-box, made a quick turn, and lasered a shot to tie the match in the 70th minute (Watch Here). Arango gave the home side the lead 14 minutes later as he stutter-stepped his approach to a penalty kick, which sent the St. Louis goalkeeper the wrong way for him to pass his finish into the open net (Watch Here). Arango sealed all three points in extra time as midfielder Diego Luna drove at the St. Louis defense and laid off a pass for the Colombian to slot home and complete his hat trick (Watch Here).

Arango becomes the first Salt Lake player to be named MLS Player of the Matchday since Luna earned the honor on Matchday 26 of the 2023 season against New York City FC, while Kreilach also won last year following a standout performance against St. Louis at CITY Park last June. This also marks the third different time that Arango has won the award after doing so for his performances on Matchdays 24 and 31 of the 2021 season.

Salt Lake will look to stretch its win streak to three-straight victories – something not accomplished since May of 2022 in MLS action – and potentially move atop the Western Conference standings when it travels to face Minnesota United FC at Allianz Stadium on Saturday, April 6 (6:30 p.m. MT, MLS Season Pass on Apple TV).

The MLS Player of the Matchday is selected each matchday of the regular season through both media and fan voting in a process conducted by MLS Communications. A panel of journalists from the North American Soccer Reporters (NASR) comprises 75 percent of the vote, while an X (formerly known as Twitter) fan vote represents the remaining 25 percent of voting. NASR consists of members of print, television, radio, and online media. 

2024 MLS Player of the Matchday Winners




Matchdays 1 and 2

Christian Benteke

D.C. United

Matchday 3

Luis Suárez

Inter Miami CF

Matchday 4

Giorgos Giakoumakis

Atlanta United

Matchday 5

Luis Suárez

Inter Miami CF

Matchday 6

Lewis Morgan

New York Red Bulls

Matchday 7

Cristian “Chicho” Arango

Real Salt Lake