Real Salt Lake 6, LA Galaxy 2 | 2018 MLS Match Recap
Many dubbed Saturday's meeting between Real Salt Lake and the LA Galaxy at Rio Tinto Stadium a "six-pointer" in light of their proximity in the Western Conference playoff race and the outsize importance of the result on both sides' postseason hopes.
Few would have guessed that the affair would turn out to feature six goals for the home side, however.
Though the Galaxy made a dream start when Jonathan dos Santos hammered home a delightful delivery from Ashley Cole just 33 seconds after the opening whistle, RSL torched LA's persistently leaky back line to the tune of a 6-2 rout, paced by a well-taken hat trick from Damir Kreilach.
The Croatian was aided by two sweet strikes from playmaker Albert Rusnak, while Jefferson Savarino also found the net via a heavy deflection off Michael Ciani, one of several Galaxy defenders to struggle on the night.
The visitors' woes were personified by the bloodied visage of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who had to change jerseys due to a cut – or perhaps the game's adorable, winged pitch invader provided a better metaphor for LA, who were sitting ducks in the face of Salt Lake's relentless waves of attack, and now face a tricky road to the postseason as their campaign slips further from their grasp.
- 1' – LA – Jonathan dos Santos | WATCH
- 14' – RSL – Albert Rusnak | WATCH
- 45+3' – RSL – Damir Kreilach | WATCH
- 48' – RSL – Jefferson Savarino | WATCH
- 61' – RSL – Damir Kreilach | WATCH
- 63' – LA – Romain Alessandrini | WATCH
- 68' – RSL – Albert Rusnak | WATCH
- 71' – RSL – Damir Kreilach | WATCH
- THE BIG PICTURE: Though RSL aren't exactly home and dry in terms of a top-six finish, this victory should serve as a massive shot in the arm as they aim to keep above the playoff line. Conversely, it's a body blow for LA, who now sit three points out of sixth place and have played two more matches than the teams in the 5 and 6 slots, Seattle and Portland.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: Kreilach's first goal, a silky bit of composed skill on the stroke of halftime, was disastrously timed for the Galaxy, handing RSL a lead they would not relinquish ... and previewed how easily the LA defense would be breached down the stretch.
- MAN OF THE MATCH: Hat-trick hero Damir Kreilach is the easy pick here.