LAFC 2, Real Salt Lake 0 | 2018 MLS Match Recap
The teams, entering the game next to each other in the Western Conference standings and at risk of falling below the playoff line with a slump, both played the first of two games this week, but the home team put out the stronger lineup to start and looked the sharper side throughout the game. In the end, the debut start in an LAFC uniform for Christian Ramirez proved to be the difference on the night.
LAFC took the lead 13 minutes in, as Carlos Vela set up Ramirez, who scored his first goal for the club on the breakaway. He doubled that tally, and his team's lead, at the half-hour mark with a tap-in off a low cross from Eduard Atuesta.
RSL goalkeeper Nick Rimando was replaced at halftime by Andrew Putna, after the stalwart picked up an injury. It was Putna's MLS debut, and he stepped up on short notice, making four saves, including a big block on Vela in the 75th minute, to give his side a shot of getting back into the match.
- THE BIG PICTURE: Both teams needed a win, but LAFC's five-game slide was their worst to date in their debut campaign, and the three points vaults them back up the standings. RSL's four-game unbeaten run ends here, but they'll look to pick up points on the road this weekend in Houston.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: The opening goal set the tone on the night and gave Ramirez -- and LAFC fans -- a measure of relief.
- MAN OF THE MATCH: Ramirez is the clear choice, as he opened his account for his new team and scored the goals he was brought in to score. With performances like this, he'll see plenty of playing time moving forward.