Real Salt Lake 3, LAFC 0 | 2020 MLS Match Recap
Damir Kreilach opened the scoring during a fast-paced first half, and Justin Meram doubled his team's lead early into the second half, en route to Real Salt Lake's 3-0 blanking of LAFC at Rio Tinto Stadium.
It's remarkable that these Western Conference foes entered halftime with only a single goal, as they combined for 19 shots in a lively opening 45 minutes. The breakthrough came in the 9th minute, with Kreilach heading home the opener on a set piece.
RSL had a few solid chances to double the lead, and looked particularly dangerous around the midpoint of the first half. But LAFC found some footing as the game progressed, and in the 35th minute Jose Cifuentes nearly beat RSL goalkeeper Andrew Putna.
RSL started the second half well, with Meram finishing a corner kick after dancing past four LAFC defenders and slotting home in the 47th minute. Then, in the 77th minute, Justen Glad put a shot on frame that bounced off Jordan Harvey's outstretched arm in the box. That allowed Albert Rusnak to slot home from the penalty-kick spot and secure the three-goal lead.
LAFC, the 2019 Supporters' Shield champions, now have four losses in their last five games for the first time in club history (they lost a total of four games across 34 matches in 2019). They rotated their starting XI significantly, and Carlos Vela and Eduard Atuesta continue to be sidelined through injury. For RSL, it was their first victory of 2020 against a team other than the Colorado Rapids.
- 9' – RSL– Damir Kreilach | WATCH
- 47' – RSL– Justin Meram | WATCH
- 79' – RSL– Albert Rusnak (PK) | WATCH
- THE BIG PICTURE: RSL earned their first regular-season victory over LAFC (they ousted them in the 2018 playoffs), leapfrogging Bob Bradley's team in the Western Conference standings. For an LAFC team with some key players rotated out, they've lost four of five since returning from the bubble in Orlando. Was last week's 5-1 barrage against the 'Quakes an anomaly or an indication of what they're still capable of doing?
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: Meram's goal involved some tight control and then the sweetest of finishes.
- MAN OF THE MATCH: For all of RSL's offensive prowess, goalkeeper Andrew Putna had eight saves. Putna, playing in place of Zac MacMath, stopped any momentum LAFC might have mustered.