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 Utah Royals FC

RSL Historically Dominant in 5-1 Home Thrashing of Austin FC

June 2, 2024 - National Women's Soccer League (NWSL)
Utah Royals FC News Release


SANDY, Utah - Real Salt Lake (9-2-6 / 33 points / 1st West) dazzled a standing-room crowd of 21,078 home fans at America First Field on Saturday night with a dominant 5-1 victory over Austin FC thanks to a Chicho Arango hat-trick and an Anderson Julio first-half brace. The win cements RSL atop the Western Conference standings and extends the Club's historic unbeaten streak to 13 matches.

RSL came out firing on all cylinders, owning more than a 65% share of possession through the first 10 minutes of action. The first big chance would come in the 10th minute, as Justen Glad took a set piece in the RSL half, pinging it deep to Alex Katranis, who promptly headed it to Diego Luna on the left wing. Slicing into the box with urgency, Luna beat multiple defenders before his far-post shot attempt was saved for a corner. RSL's high press created another chance just two minutes later as Andrés Gómez jumped a passing lane to intercept the ball deep in Austin territory. He cut across the face of goal for the shot before a swarm of ATX defenders converged to deflect his left-footed attempt.

Converting momentum into an early lead, RSL would break through to claim a 1-0 advantage with an absolutely world-class goal from MLS MVP front-runner and RSL Captain Chicho Arango in the 16th minute. In a seemingly pedestrian situation with Arango standing over the ball just inside the halfway line, Chicho looked up to see Austin FC's Brad Stuver off his line. Without hesitation, he wound up and uncorked a 58-yard blast at net, his shot soaring over the outstretched glove of a helpless Stuver, under the crossbar and into the back of the net. The strike vaulted Arango back atop the MLS Golden Boot race for his 14th of the year to go along with eight assists.

Not satisfied with one, RSL pushed to earn its second goal in the 24th minute. Beating two defenders by himself on the left wing with a clever combination of dribble moves, Braian Ojeda drew a third defender before laying it off to Anderson Julio in the box. Taking one touch to get it on his preferred right foot, Julio opted for placement over power with an off-speed shot to the far post that comfortably found the side netting, his second goal in three matches.

Pouring it on in front of the home fans, RSL took a commanding three-goal advantage in the 32nd minute of play. Intercepting an errant pass from the Austin back line, Ojeda sent it forward to the head of Gómez, who found Arango immediately. Arango raced forward and reconnected with Gómez on a through-ball into the box. Gómez promptly whipped it across the face of goal for Julio at the back post, easily depositing the point-blank finish into the roof of the net. The goal was originally called offside before Video Assistant Referee (VAR) corrected the play to give RSL its first-half triple and Julio his second in a seven-minute span.

Winning a corner deep into first-half stoppage time, RSL made it an astounding four-goal lead at the 45+5 mark. As Katranis' service was cleared out of the box, Andrew Brody controlled it with space to reset and whip another ball into the crowded penalty area. Connecting beautifully, his perfectly-weighted cross found the head of an unmarked Arango at the back post who smashed a powerful header on target, Stuver getting a glove to it but unable to prevent the score. The score, Arango's 15th of 2024, not only extended his scoring lead over the rest of MLS but also marked the first occasion since the 2014 campaign in which two RSL players tallied a brace in the first half of a league match.

The statistics supported the scoreline as both teams hit the locker room for halftime - the Claret-and-Cobalt enjoying a 61% share of possession, a 12-to-1 shot advantage and nearly doubling Austin FC's passing totals (331 to 167, 91.5% accuracy).

Even with RSL coming out flying for the second 45 minutes of play, it seemed that Austin FC got a goal back in the 64th minute against the run of play, Jáder Obrian darting behind the RSL defense on a fast-break-style counter. In a wild turn of events though, upon VAR review, Austin FC committed a handball violation in their own box to start the counterattack, resulting in their goal coming off the board and RSL being awarded a penalty kick. Arango taking the kick with a chance to earn his second hat-trick of the year alongside a bevy of MLS statistical milestones, the RSL captain was as calm as ever, reading Stuver's intentions and sending him the wrong way with a clinical finish inside of the left post.

Austin FC would get on the board late, Alex Ring scoring a penalty kick in stoppage time before the official blew for full time, cementing the 5-1 victory for RSL and first place in the Western Conference.

Off to the best start in Club history with 33 points from 17 matches RSL has ascended to the top of the Western Conference for its latest first-place bragging rights in the calendar since April 30, 2016, and the latest solo No. 1 in the West since August 2013. RSL will then enjoy a much-needed June 8 international bye weekend prior to again traveling to Montreal and Kansas City on June 15/19 to wrap up the circuitous gauntlet.

RSL 5 : 1 vs. ATX

GOAL-SCORING SUMMARY:

RSL - 16' - Chicho Arango (Emeka Eneli): In a seemingly pedestrian situation with Arango standing over the ball just before the halfway line, he looked up to see Austin FC's Brad Stuver off his line. Without hesitation, he winded up and uncorked a 60-yard blast at net, his shot soaring over the outstretched glove of a helpless Stuver and into the back of the net.

RSL - 24' - Anderson Julio (Braian Ojeda): Beating two defenders by himself on the left wing with a clever combination of dribble moves, Ojeda drew a third defender before laying it off to Julio in the box. Taking one touch to get it on his preferred right foot, Julio opted for placement over power with an off-speed shot to the far post that comfortably found the side netting, his second goal in three matches.

RSL - 31' - Anderson Julio (Andrés Gómez): Intercepting an errand pass from the Austin back line, Ojeda sent it forward to the head of Gómez who found Arango immediately. Arango raced forward and reconnected with Gómez on a through-ball into the box. Gómez promptly whipped it across the face of goal for Julio at the back post, easily depositing the point-blank finish into the roof of the net. The goal was originally called offside before a Video Assistant Review (VAR) corrected the play to give RSL their first-half triple and Julio his second in a seven-minute span.

RSL - 45+5' - Chicho Arango (Andrew Brody): As Katranis' service was cleared out of the box, Brody controlled it with space to reset and whip another ball into the crowded penalty area. Connecting beautifully, his perfectly-weighted cross found the head of an unmarked Arango at the back post who smashed a powerful header on target, Stuver getting a glove to it but unable to prevent the score.

RSL - 71' - Chicho Arango (Unassisted): Jáder Obrian darting behind the RSL defense on a fast-break-style counter. In a wild turn of events though, upon VAR review, Austin FC committed a handball violation in its own box to start the counterattack, resulting in their goal coming off the board and RSL being awarded a penalty kick. Arango taking the kick with a chance to earn his second hat-trick of the year alongside a bevy of MLS statistical milestones, the RSL captain was as calm as ever, reading Stuver's intentions and sending him the wrong way with a clinical finish inside of the left post.

ATX - 90+2' - Alex Ring (Unassisted): Austin FC would get on the board late, Alex Ring scoring a penalty kick in stoppage time before the official blew for full time.

NOTES FROM RSL 5 : 1 vs. ATX

RSL unbeaten in 13 consecutive matches, the second-longest streak in Club history (14, 2010). RSL's last defeat was on March 9 vs. Rocky Mountain Cup rival Colorado, 96 days prior to the next RSL match on June 15 in Montreal; also, the 33 points accumulated in 17 matches extends the best start in Club history.

For the second time in Head Coach Pablo Mastroeni's 118-game tenure at RSL, the Claret-and-Cobalt score five goals in a match - the first coming in the last home game, May 18 in a 5-3 match against Colorado

RSL scores 4 goals in first half for the second time in club history (9/19/2014 RSL v. COL), the third time in a single half (either first or second) (8/22/2020 RSL @ COL, second half)

MVP contender and RSL Captain Chicho Arango tallies 2nd hat-trick of 2024, becoming 2nd RSL Player All-Time with multiple hat tricks, with two in 35 MLS games for Real Salt Lake, joining Alvaro Saborio, who had three in 127 regular season games. Saborio notched two hat tricks in his 2012 season, that mark matched tonight by Chicho, who previously tallied 3 goals on March 30 v St. Louis.

Chicho earns the hat trick to reclaim sole possession of MLS Golden Boot lead. His 16 goals are three more than the closest competitor (C. Benteke, DC, 13).

Chicho's 16 goals this season leave him one shy of Saborio's all-time Club-high of 17, set in 2012; another RSL striker, Jeff Cunningham, had 16 goals in 2006.

Chicho Arango claims shared title for second-fastest active player to reach 50 MLS goals (79 Matches, ties Raul Ruidiaz), Josef Martinez being the only active player to achieve the feat in less games). He also becomes the fifth-fastest all-time to 15 Goals in a MLS season (17 games) behind only Josef Martínez (14 games, 2017), Carlos Vela (15 games, 2019), Mamadou Diallo (15 games, 2000), and Jaime Moreno (16 games, 1997).

With Chicho Arango's second goal against Austin FC, he recorded his MLS-high 15th goal of the 2024 Season in his 17th game, tying for fifth-fastest player to reach 15 goals in MLS history.

Andrés Gómez earns an assist to become the third U-22 player in MLS history with a goal contribution in six consecutive matches. He joins Andy Williams (7 games in 1998) & Erick Torres (6 games in 2014).

Anderson Julio nets first-half brace to tally his fourth and fifth goals of the season. The first-half double is Julio's first brace since April of 2021 at Minnesota, his first match with Real Salt Lake.

Two RSL players tally multiple goals (Chicho Arango, Anderson Julio) for just the third time in franchise history (5/18/24 v. COL - Chicho Arango two goals and Andrés Gómez two goals, 9/1/2018 v. LA Galaxy - Damir Kreilach hat trick and Albert Rusnák brace).

LINEUPS

Real Salt Lake (4-2-3-1): Zac MacMath; Andrew Brody; Alexandro Katranis (Bryan Oviedo, 63'); Justen Glad; Brayan Vera; Emeka Eneli (Nelson Palacio, 46'); Braian Ojeda; Andrés Gómez (Fidel Barajas, 46'); Diego Luna; Chicho Arango © (Zavier Gozo, 79'); Anderson Julio (Bode Hidalgo, 63')

Subs not used: Philip Quinton, Bertin Jacquesson, Gavin Beavers

Austin F.C. (4-2-3-1): Brad Stuver; Leo Väisänen, Jon Gallagher (Hector Jimenez, 54'), Julio Cascante (Brendan Hines-Ike, 46'), Žan Kolmanič (Owen Wolff, 46'), Guilherme Biro, Jhojan Valencia; Dani Pereira; Alex Ring ©; Jáder Obrian (CJ Fodrey, 79'); Diego Rubio (Gyasi Zardes, 79')

Subs not used: Matt Hedges, Matt Bersano, Stefan Cleveland

Stats Summary: RSL / ATX

Shots: 21 / 10

Shots on Goal: 11 / 4

Saves: 3 / 5

Corner Kicks: 4 / 2

Fouls: 16 / 11

MISCONDUCT SUMMARY:

ATX: Danie Pereira (Caution - 45+1')

ATX: Alex Ring (Caution - 54')

ATX: Guilherme Biro (Caution - 82')

RSL: Nelson Palacio (Caution - 83')

RSL: Brayan Vera (Caution - 84')

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