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Rubio Rubín’s Stellar Performance Sends RSL to the US Open Cup Semifinal

Real Salt Lake 3 at 2 Los Angeles Galaxy
June 7, 2023; America First Field; Sandy, Utah
MLS Standings: Real Salt Lake (5-7-4, 19 points); LA Galaxy (3-9-3, 12 points)

Man of the Match: **Rubio Rubín** backed his impressive brace-scoring performance on Saturday against Austin FC with another standout game, assisting on two goals and drawing a foul in the box which led to a converted penalty in RSL’s dominant 3-0 win over the Galaxy. Rubín’s exceptional runs created threatening opportunities on the attack, eventually leading to perfect passes setting up teammates **Damir Kreilach** and **Jefferson Savarino** on goal. His precision and pace was too much to handle for LA’s defense, causing an LA defender to trip him up in the box setting up Kreilach for a penalty. In the last two matches, Rubín has two goals and two assists, powering the team to two consecutive wins. The last time Rubín knotted two goals and two assists in two games came on April 24, 2021 vs Minnesota (two assists) and May 1, 2021 vs Kansas City (two goals).

Telling Stats: Real Salt Lake advances to the U.S. Open Cup Semifinal for the first time since 2015, when they beat the Galaxy in the Quarterfinal 1-0 on an Aaron Maund header. The team has scored an impressive 11 goals in four tournament games, compared to 18 goals in 16 matches in league play. Semifinal opponents Houston Dynamo have scored 10 goals thus far in the tournament.

What You Missed: Real Salt Lake opened the match with strong buildup play through the midfield but lacked a clinical finish in the final third. The backline was airtight in the first 15 minutes ensuring that the Galaxy didn’t create any threatening chances on net. In the 19th minute RSL found the offensive execution they were looking for when Rubio Rubín slid a gliding pass parallel to the goalline finding captain Damir Kreilach for an easy tap-in. Kreilach came close to finding a second in the 39th min, but his curling shot was pushed away by the fingertips of a diving Jonathan Klinsmann. A few moments later Rubín was brought down in the box in first-half stoppage time, and Kreilach capitalized on the penalty kick to double the lead heading into the break. Six minutes into the second half **Pablo Ruiz** made picked off a pass at midfield and dished it to Rubín who made a threatening run into the 18-yard-box and laid the ball off for Jefferson Savarino to slide it past Klinsmann on the near post, extending RSL’s lead to 3-0. The Galaxy finally found their first goal in the 82nd minute when Gaston Brugman scored a penalty. Just minutes later the visitors would get another one, this time off the boot of Douglas Costa. Kreilach nearly scored a match-ending dagger in the 89th but his header attempt was cleared off the line by Lucas Calegari. Beavers came up big in the first of seven added minutes, pushing away a shot on goal with a diving attempt, and the backline held out to prevent a game-tying goal, winning the rollercoaster match 3-2.

What’s Next?: RSL will host New York City FC at America First Field in league action this Saturday, June 10 at 7:30 p.m. MT. Having advanced to the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Semifinal, RSL will take on Houston Dynamo on August 23rd for a chance to play in the Final in September.