Real Salt Lake 6 vs LA Galaxy 2
September 1, 2018; Sandy, Utah; Rio Tinto Stadium
Real Salt Lake (13-10-5, 44 points); LA Galaxy (10-10-8, 38 points)
Man of the Match: It looked like a race between Damir Kreilach and Albert Rusnák to get the club’s first hat trick since 2014 and it was Kreilach to net it on his 71st minute goal to finish off the 6-2 route. It was his first career hat trick and gave him 10 goals on the season. Further, it solved the dilemma about what to do about the number 9 position for RSL. Mike Petke clarified after the match that in using Kreilach along with Rusnák, the duo can place-change with regularity and that freedom of movement causes problems for opposing defenses, as has been clear with back-to-back six-goal games for RSL.
Telling Stat: RSL continued its run of offensive form of late, outshooting LA 22-10, including 12 unanswered shots in the first half. It was the third straight game that saw RSL attempt 20 or more shots and put 10 or more on target. Not coincidentally, RSL has won all three matches and scored a combined 14 goals in those games.
What You Missed: It’s unlikely you missed the duck that invaded the field in the first half. It swooped onto the field and remained on the grass near the LA Galaxy bench for a few minutes before play was finally stopped on an RSL corner kick. At that point the RSL grounds crew corralled the duck into the corner and off the field before being captured and released outside the stadium. Well done to Dan Farnes and Brett Call for humanely ushering the fowl to safety.
So What: RSL not only stays in the chase for a top-four spot in the Western Conference and an assurance of a home playoff match, but it also moved to a plus-2 goal differential. That could prove crucial as the playoffs draw nearer and with just two points separating Salt Lake from second-place LAFC, each win is proving more and more vital and each goal scored all the more critical. In the victory – RSL’s third straight – Salt Lake also became the first team in the West to 10 home victories, extending the home unbeaten streak to 13 straight matches at 10-0-3.