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RSL Dominant in 5-2 Home Trouncing of Atlanta United


SANDY, Utah (Sat., July 6, 2024)Real Salt Lake (12-3-7 / 43 points / T-1st West) came out red-hot in front of a fifth consecutive sold-out crowd at America First Field (20,396, and its seventh in 11 home matches this season. RSL needed only 43 seconds to claim the advantage over Atlanta, as MF Matt Crooks’ early score with assists from Diego Luna and Braian Ojeda claimed the title of fifth-fastest goal in Club history. Following a lackluster first half, the final 45 minutes would be dominant for RSL, matching its season high with another five-goal performance, improving to 8-2-1 / 25 points at home this season.

The clear “Man of the Match” for RSL tonight was 20-year-old playmaker Diego Luna, finishing with a goal and three assists. The “hat trick” of assists marks just the fourth time in the Club’s 636-game MLS history that an RSL player has set up three goals (Espindola, 2012; Ruiz, 2023; Luna, 3/3/24 & tonight). The four total goal contributions for Luna are the most in any match in his professional career, matching the most of any RSL player in a game this season (Arango). Alongside Luna on the scoresheet was MLS MVP and Golden Boot frontrunner, RSL Captain Chicho Arango, the Colombian frontman bagging his 17th goal of the campaign. Arango’s 17 goals are the most in MLS, while Luna’s 12 assists rank third-most in the league entering Sunday’s action.

Also contributing was midfielder Braian Ojeda, his 59th minute goal his second in as many games, previously playing 66 consecutive RSL appearances without a goal, scoring in the last two. In addition to Ojeda, DF Alex Katranis also came forward from his natural position to get on the scoresheet, the former Greek youth international scoring for the third time in his inaugural stateside season.

The win was a comprehensive example in ball control for Manager Pablo Mastroeni’s side, his team dominating 62% of possession and outpassing Atlanta 650-383. RSL’s three points keeps it even with LAFC at 43 points atop the Western Conference table, now staring down a three-match road trip to Portland Timbers, LAFC and Colorado Rapids July 13, 17 and 20, heading into the MLS All-Star break and then the Leagues Cup kickoff.


RSL - 1’ - Matt Crooks (Diego Luna, Braian Ojeda): As RSL took possession to open the match, calmly passing throughout the midfield for players’ first touches of the evening, Braian Ojeda took control in the midfield. Seeing green grass ahead, Ojeda launched himself forward, pulling off a devastating dribble to cut between the only two oncoming defenders. Now drawing the attention of the entire ATL defense, he laid it off to Diego Luna charging into the right side of the box. Without taking a touch, Luna whipped it back across the face of goal with pace for the incoming run of Matt Crooks, his English teammate able to tap in the point-blank scoring chance.

ATL - 31’ - Saba Lobjanidze (Daniel Ríos, Bartosz Slisz): Despite Real dominating possession and more than doubling Atlanta in completed passes, the Five Stripes equalized in the 31st minute of play. Controlling possession deep in Claret-and-Cobalt territory, the ball found its way to the feet of Bartosz Slisz on the edge of the box. With his teammate flashing to the ball, Slisz fired a quick pass to the center of the box for Saba Lobjanidze with a defender at his back. Lobjanidze played a flashy back-heel give-and-go with Daniel Ríos, popping out on the other side with just enough space to get off the shot - his right-footed attempt bending around the outstretched glove of Gavin Beavers and inside the near post.

RSL - 59’ - Braian Ojeda (Unassisted): Coming out for the second 45 with refreshed legs, it wouldn’t take long for Real Salt Lake to re-establish control of the game. As Alex Katranis stood alongside the flag, preparing to take a 59th minute corner kick, his teammates flooded the box. Katranis floated a high, arcing ball to the center of the box when Captain Chicho Arango rose up and headed it at goal. As Arango’s attempt deflected by an ATL defender up into the air, Braian Ojeda, with his back to the goal, flipped his hips and sent it into the side netting with a spinning shot. After having not scored in his first 66 RSL appearances, Ojeda has now gotten on the scoresheet in consecutive matches.

RSL - 68’ - Chicho Arango (Diego Luna): Keeping the feet on the gas, Pablo Mastroeni’s side took a commanding two-goal lead in the 68th minute. With Diego Luna standing over a free kick opportunity on the edge of the attacking third, his teammates flooded the box in a coordinated rush. As Luna’s cross zipped over the main crowd and towards the back post, Arango outpaced his only marker on the outside to get on the end of it, sending a thundering downward header back against the ‘keeper’s momentum and into the far post side netting.

RSL - 78’ - Alex Katranis (Diego Luna): Pouring it on in front of the home fans, Real pushed the lead to three goals in the 78th minute. Another corner kick, this time from the left side, began as Luna stood over the ball with menacing intentions. Faking as if he was sending in a traditional cross, Luna unleashed a worm burner to Alex Katranis on the near side. Shuffling his feet as the ball approached, Katranis caught it pure on his left boot with a first-time shot, his attempt curling up and over the glove of Brad Guzan as it sailed into the back of the net.

ATL - 80’ - Daniel Ríos (Brooks Lennon): Against the run of play, Atlanta immediately stole one back in the 80th minute. With Atlanta pressing far up the pitch in desperation, a long cross made its way from the left side through the box untouched, resettling at the feet of Brooks Lennon on the other side. Holding play for the run of his teammate, Lennon whipped in an accurate ball to the head of Daniel Ríos in the box, Ríos able to connect and send it into the back of the net.

RSL - 84’ - Diego Luna (Maikel Chang): Capping off an unreal flurry of offensive action, RSL scored yet again in the 84th. As Atlanta attempted to break out from its own end, an errant pass was intercepted by Maikel Chang and immediately converted into a counter attack. Running directly at the defenders, Chang reached the edge of the box when he sent a line drive pass to the chest of Luna in the box. Controlling it with a masterful first touch to set up the shot, Luna pounded a half-volley back into the ground that bounced perfectly into the corner.


  • Chicho’s goal tonight represents his 17th this year, tying the franchise single-season record of 17 goals, set by Alvaro Saborio over a decade ago in 2012. RSL’s captain now needs just one more to break and claim sole possession of the all-time single-season RSL scoring mark.
  • Matt Crooks’ goal 43 seconds into the match now stands as the fourth-fastest goal scored in RSL Club history.
  • 19-year-old Gavin Beavers gets the win in goal, bringing his season record to 4-1-1 (+9 Goal Differential) when between the posts.
  • Captain Chicho Arango extends his MLS Golden Boot lead to three goals with his 17th of the campaign, ahead of both Christian Benteke (DCU) and Denis Bouanga (LAFC), with 14 goals each.
  • Diego Luna’s three assists now represent his second triple-assist game of the year, and only the fourth time a player has recorded up to three assists in a game in RSL’s 636-game MLS history (Fabian Espindola and Pablo Ruiz in 2012 and 2023); Luna’s 12 assists this season now ranks him third in all of Major League Soccer.
  • RSL improves to 8-2-1 / 25 points at home in 2024. With one more win, RSL would equal its home point total from 2023 (6-7-4 / 22 points), with six home League games remaining, all coming in the final nine MLS matches after Leagues Cup, resuming Aug. 24
  • MF Braian Ojeda earns a goal for the second time in as many matches, and the second MLS/RSL goal in his 68th game across all competitions since first joining the Claret-and-Cobalt in Sept. 2022.


Real Salt Lake (4-2-3-1): Gavin Beavers; Brayan Vera (Bryan Oviedo, 67’); Bode Hidalgo; Philip Quinton (Andrew Brody, 46’); Alex Katranis; Emeka Eneli (Nelson Palacio, 46’); Braian Ojeda; Andrés Gómez (Maikel Chang, 79’); Diego Luna; Matt Crooks (Anderson Julio, 67’); Chicho Arango ©

Subs not used: Zac MacMath, Tommy Silva, Zavier Gozo, Noel Caliskan

Atlanta United (4-2-3-1): Brad Guzan ©; Ronald Hernández (Matthew Edwards, 89’); Derrick Williams; Brooks Lennon; Noah Cobb; Caleb Wiley; Bartosz Slisz (Luke Brennan, 90’); Saba Lobjanidze (Jay Fortune, 69’); Dax McCarty (Tristan Muyumba, 60’); Xande Silva (Tyler Wolff, 60’); Daniel Ríos

Subs not used: Luis Abram, Efrain Morales, Josh Cohen, Nicolas Firmino

Stats Summary: RSL / ATL

Shots: 12 / 14

Shots on Goal: 6 / 4

Saves: 2 / 1

Corner Kicks: 5 / 5

Fouls: 11 / 8


RSL: Diego Luna (Caution, 57’)

ATL: Derrick Williams (Caution, 67’)

ATL: Jay Fortune (Caution, 89’)