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 Utah Royals FC

RSL Falls 1-0 to LA Galaxy, Ending Historic Unbeaten Streak

June 23, 2024 - National Women's Soccer League (NWSL)
Utah Royals FC News Release


SANDY, Utah - Real Salt Lake (10-3-7 / 37 points / 1st West) saw its historic 15-match unbeaten streak come to an end before the second-largest crowd (21,570) in the 15-year history of America First Field, as the Claret-and-Cobalt fell to Western Conference foe LA Galaxy 1-0 on Saturday night. Prior to the loss, Real Salt Lake had been undefeated for the previous 103 days - the second-longest unbeaten streak in a single season in Major League Soccer history, four games shy of Dallas' 19-game run in 2010.

Watch / Listen to RSL Head Coach Pablo Mastroeni, MF Noel Caliskan and AM Andrés Gómez following 0-1 home loss to LA Galaxy on Sat., June 22, 2024

Coming out for the first 45 in front of an electric America First Field with the Club's annual Pride Night celebrations, the rotated center back pairing of Bode Hidalgo and Bryan Oviedo were thrust into action due to a combination of match congestion, suspensions and injuries, rarely making a misstep defensively. Not only did the RSL back line prevent the Galaxy from getting on the board in the first half, it prevented the Western Conference's third-ranked side from registering even a single shot on goal.

RSL earned its first major chance in the 16th minute. As RSL patiently probed in the Galaxy defensive zone, Andrew Brody controlled the ball on the right side when he spotted Alexandros Katranis deep on the left wing and pinged a switching cross over the top of the defense. The defender misjudged the ball and leapt too early, Katranis taking a soft touch before ripping a powerful left-footed volley at the far post, the attempt saved by John McCarthy. The ensuing clearance would see RSL Captain and MLS MVP favorite Chicho Arango collide with an opponent while going up for a header, forcing him to leave the game with a head injury, necessitating a concussion evaluation as well as 20 stitches to close a v-shaped gash above the right eye.

Following the six-minute delay - which also saw a Galaxy defender subbed out simultaneously for fear of his own head injury from the collision - RSL's attack nearly broke through to claim the lead in the 25th minute. With the Galaxy pushing forward, an errant pass was intercepted by Hidalgo and quickly shuttled to Zac MacMath in net. MacMath, noticing the numbers advantage, quickly booted it far downfield to create a two-on-three situation with Anderson Julio and Andrés Gómez. Gómez received it on the run as he floated down the right wing, first popping it over the heads of two defenders before cutting inside and outpacing the third as he raced into the heart of the box. Opting for placement over power, Gómez curled a shot at the far post with his preferred right foot, McCarthy able to swallow up the attempt with an athletic save.

Continuing to dominate on the ball, RSL nearly broke through once again in the 36th minute. As Braian Ojeda won the ball for RSL in midfield, he quickly shuffled it to Gómez on the right wing for a counterattacking opportunity. Gómez received the ball and ran straight at two defenders, consuming the green space while hitting a combination of three stepover dribbles before unleashing a shot at the far post that went inches wide of the woodwork.

Despite the barrage of solid chances, RSL would head to the locker room drawing even with Los Angeles after 45 minutes, holding advantage in all statistical measures.

Coming out for the second half, Manager Pablo Mastroeni's side immediately hunted for the lead, putting together three dangerous chances in quick succession. The first put the power of RSL's counter on full display in the 51st minute. As Joseph Paintsil pressed the RSL back line, he intercepted the ball to find himself flying into the box one-on-one with MacMath, the MLS veteran coming off his line to swallow up the opposing shot. Quickly recovering, MacMath put it back into play as RSL progressed from its own box to the Galaxy 18 in just three passes. Gómez flew up the right wing by way of an outlet pass from Ojeda, laying off to Julio inside the box for the point-blank shot at the far post that was only kept out by an impressive kick-save by McCarthy.

Then, on the ensuing corner kick, Diego Luna's curling ball made its way over the crowded box to find the feet of Gómez all alone at the back post, connecting beautifully with the first-time volley as his shot glanced off the crossbar. Finally, RSL nearly hit paydirt again in the 54th minute. As Matt Crooks carried it through the attacking third with Luna off to his left and Gómez on his right, the three combined quickly to unlock the defense. First, Crooks laid off to the underlapping run of Gómez, who held up play before laying forward to the run of Luna in the box. Two men marking him, Luna simply tapped it behind himself for Gómez to run on for the shot, his attempt from the penalty spot area soaring just over the bar.

MacMath was called into action once again in the 56th minute as Los Angeles threatened against the run of play, winning a free kick deep in Claret-and-Cobalt territory. With Diego Fagundez stepping up to take it from about 30 yards, he got a pure connection on the strike as it curled directly for the top right corner of the net, only kept out as MacMath bravely dove at full extension to parry it away with a single glove.

The threat would not be totally extinguished though, as LA Galaxy earned another chance, this time converting to take a late lead in the 74th minute. As Edwin Cerrillo controlled it atop the attacking third, he played forward to Dejan Joveljic at the edge of the box. Seeing the run of Gabriel Pec off to his left, he calmly flicked it forward for Pec, who promptly knifed between two RSL defenders with his first touch to find himself cutting across the face of goal with space. Pec opted for a near-post strike from just outside the box against his own momentum, the attempt barely exceeding MacMath's reach to find the back of the net.

The strike would prove to be decisive as the final whistle blew with LA Galaxy enjoying the 1-0 advantage, putting an end to Real Salt Lake's historic 15-match unbeaten streak and unseating RSL from the undisputed top spot in the Western Conference.

GOAL-SCORING SUMMARY:

LA - 74' - Gabriel Pec (Dejan Joveljic, Edwin Cerrillo): As Edwin Cerrillo controlled it on the rim of the attacking third, he played forward to Dejan Joveljic at the edge of the box. Seeing the run of Gabriel Pec off to his left, he calmly flicked it forward for Pec who promptly knifed between two RSL defenders with his first touch to find himself cutting across the face of goal with space. Pec opted for a near-post strike from just outside the box against his own momentum, the attempt barely exceeding MacMath's reach to find the back of the net.

NOTES FROM RSL 0 : 1 v. LA Galaxy:

The 0-1 loss snaps the Club's all-time record 15-match unbeaten run, dating back to March 9. RSL had been unbeaten for 103 consecutive days prior to the defeat, matching the second-longest run in MLS history, set three times before (Portland, 2013 and 2018; Colorado, 2016).

23-year-old MF Noel Caliskan, fresh off signing a first-team contract with the Club earlier in the day, makes his third appearance for RSL at the MLS level. Caliskan played 24 minutes, completing 22 passes at a 96% success rate, including a key pass.

The rotated centerback pairing of Bryan Oviedo and Bode Hidalgo played together for just the second time this season, holding the Galaxy to just one goal and keeping the opponent without a shot on target in the first half.

MF Nelson Palacio earns his third start with RSL this season, posting a magnificent 98.2% passing accuracy rate with 53 completed passes (one key pass).

For the first time in 20 games this season, Emeka Eneli (illness/fatigue/rotation) started on the bench, replaced by Palacio.

RSL Captain Chicho Arango remains atop the MLS Golden Boot lead with 16 goals along with 10 assists, two scores ahead of D.C. United striker Christian Benteke (14 goals).

RSL will be off next weekend, June 29, next taking the field on July 3 at home against Houston Dynamo FC, with Atlanta United also visiting Utah soil on July 6. Tickets for both expected sellout matches are available at www.RSL.com/tickets.

Tonight's standing-room only crowd of 21,570 was the second-largest in RSL's 15-year history at the venue, just a few hundred shy of the August, 2022 LAFC visit featuring Garth Bale that remains the largest.

RSL was without several players tonight, including regular centerbacks Justen Glad (ankle) and Brayan Vera (caution accumulation suspension).

LINEUPS:

Real Salt Lake (4-2-3-1): Zac MacMath; Andrew Brody (Philip Quinton, 82'); Alexandros Katranis; Bide Hidalgo; Bryan Oviedo; Braian Ojeda; Nelson Palacio (Noel Caliskan, 66'); Diego Luna; Andrés Gómez; Matt Crooks (Fidel Barajas, 75'); Chicho Arango © (Anderson Julio, 21')

Subs not used: Emeka Eneli, Maikel Chang, Tommy Silva, Gavin Beavers

Los Angeles Galaxy (4-2-3-1): John McCarthy; Miki Yamane; Maya Yoshida ©; John Nelson (Julian Aude, 65'); Martin Caceres (Jalen Neal, 22'); Diego Fagundez; Edwin Cerrillo; Tucker Lepley (Mark Delgado, 46'); Dejan Joveljic (Migeul Berry, 75'); Gabriel Pec; Joseph Pantsil (Mauricio Cuevas, 65')

Subs not used: Eriq Zavaleta, Jalen Neal, Emiro Garces, Novak Micovic, Isaiah Parente

Stats Summary: RSL / LA

Shots: 15 / 8

Shots on Goal: 4 /3

Saves: 2 / 4

Corner Kicks: 6 / 3

Fouls: 13 / 10

MISCONDUCT SUMMARY:

RSL: Bryan Oviedo (Caution - 55')

LA: Miki Yamane(Caution - 59')

RSL: Andrés Gómez (Caution - 78')

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