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 Utah Royals FC

RSL Wins 4-3 at Kansas City, Sets New Club Record with 15-Game Unbeaten Streak

June 20, 2024 - National Women's Soccer League (NWSL)
Utah Royals FC News Release


Kansas City, Kansas (Wed.) - Real Salt Lake (10-2-7 / 37 points / 1st West) extended its historic unbeaten streak to 15 matches with a dramatic 4-3 road victory at Sporting Kansas City, surpassing the single-season franchise record established in 2010. RSL has now earned points in the Club's last 10 matches away from America First Field, losing only the Feb. 21, 2024 opener at Miami en route to a 4-1-6 / 18-point road record. The win gives Manager Pablo Mastroeni his 50th victory across all competitions with RSL, the quickest to the half-century mark in the Club's coaching history.

Watch / Listen to RSL Head Coach Pablo Mastroeni, AM Diego Luna and GK Gavin Beavers following 4-3 road victory over Sporting KC on Wed., June 19, 2024

Real Salt Lake came out flying for the midweek matchup, as All-Star hopeful and second-year phenom Emeka Eneli donned the Captain's armband for the first time to become the youngest Captain in the Club's 20-year-history. Despite the early energy, it would be RSL's 19-year-old goalkeeper Gavin Beavers, in his fifth MLS start of the year, facing the first test of the match. With Sporting KC winning corners in the 9th and 10th minutes, Beavers was forced to come off his line at full extension to parry both dangerous crosses off trajectory and out of the box.

Despite the early danger, RSL would convert its first big chance of the game into an early 1-0 lead, as red-hot Andrés Gómez scored in the 14th minute. RSL was hounding Kansas City through the midfield when Braian Ojeda jumped a loose touch to intercept the ball and start a lightning-quick counter attack. Immediately feeding it to Diego Luna, the young winger raced forward with Anderson Julio off to his left and Gómez to his right, both making runs into the box. Dribbling left to move the defenders before playing a clinical through-ball to Gómez on the right, Gómez showed world-class pace as he ripped past two defenders deep into the box, needing only three touches before connecting perfectly with his right foot to send the ball soaring into the far post side netting.

Sporting KC nearly evened the match moments later as Ojeda made a challenge on Erik Thommy's attempt in the box, the referee awarding a penalty. With SKC captain Johnny Russell taking the responsibility, he stepped up to the spot and sent a powerful shot low to the right side, Beavers perfectly reading Russell and diving with confidence at full extension to get both gloves on the shot and deflect it away. The PK save was the first of Beavers' young MLS career in regulation as he became the second-youngest goalkeeper in Major League Soccer history to save a penalty kick (19 years, 51 days).

KC would not be denied the equalizer, breaking through in the 28th minute. Nemanja Radoja controlled it in the attacking third when he played a quick pass to Stephen Afrifra outside of the box as he sat in a pocket between four RSL defenders. Stephen Afrifa took a clever touch and quickly cut upfield, creating just enough space with a final touch to the right side before sneaking a well-placed low strike back against his momentum and into the corner of goal at the far post.

Coming out with intensity, Real's rabid high press quickly created a third transition goal of the match in the 51st minute. As Philip Quinton stepped up to clear a KC pass back into the midfield, Julio got on the end of it to drag in a sliding defender. His tackle deflected the ball behind, halfway between Gómez and a single KC defender as he leapt forward with no hesitation to tap it past the lunging defender and run into the box on an uncontested breakaway. Face-to-face with Melia as he came out to challenge Gómez, the young Columbian showed maturity as he smoothly chipped a lofted ball high over Melia and into the back of the net - jogging to the corner flag as a crowd of Claret-and-Cobalt shirts convened to celebrate his 10th goal of the season. Gómez's 10 goals is tied for 6th best in MLS this season (Arango, Benteke, Bouanga, Messi, Suárez).

Beavers was once again called into action as the hero when KC threatened in the 57th and again in the 59th. First, Beavers dealt with power in the 57th as Kansas City's Russell cut across goal and onto his preferred left foot in the center of the box, sending a low-driven rocket at Beavers that he swallowed up cleanly. Then Beavers showed his athleticism as Thommy ripped a curling ball up and over the crowded area in the 59th, his shot tracking for the top corner when Beavers leapt a full extension to get a glove on it and send the attempt out of play.

Kansas City would not sit quietly though, as it pushed forward to get a goal back in the 70th minute. With KC probing in the attacking third, Thommy laid it off to Zorhan Bassong on the left wing. Bassong juking left and faked a cross to create space before moving left once more to whip it in, his cross sailing towards Agada in the center of the box. Agada took a touch with his chest and settled it with his left before smashing it into the back of the net with his right foot.

With Club history nearly within reach for RSL, the Claret-and-Cobalt scored a dagger fourth goal in the 84th minute to seal the deal. As Captain Chicho Arango ran down a long cross on the left side of the box, he held up play and waited for the run of Matt Crooks in the middle. Arango then floated a perfectly-placed cross onto the head of the leaping 6'6'' Englishman as he smashed the point-blank header into the back of the net, his first goal in an RSL shirt since coming to Utah from Middlesbrough (EFL Championship) in January. The assist for Arango was his 10th of the year to bring his total on the year to a league-high 26th goal contribution.

Kansas City added some late drama to the mix, scoring to cut the RSL lead to one at 90+5 in stoppage time. Lining up for a late corner, Memo Rodríguez whipped a cross centrally. It found its way over the traffic of the box and onto the head of Agada, sending it downward with power as it bounced into the back of the net. The late momentum would not be enough to find an equalizer though, as the final whistle blew with RSL up 4-3 to clinch its 15th unbeaten and remain atop the Western Conference.

GOAL-SCORING SUMMARY:

RSL - 14' - Andrés Gómez (Diego Luna, Braian Ojeda): RSL was hounding Kansas City as it built up through the midfield when Braian Ojeda jumped a loose touch to intercept the ball and start a lightning-quick counter attack. Immediately feeding it to Diego Luna, the young winger raced forward with Anderson Julio off to his left and Gómez to his right, both making runs into the box. Dribbling left to move the defenders before playing a clinical through-ball to Gómez on the right, the 21-year-old showed world-class pace as he ripped past two defenders deep into the box, needing only three touches before connecting perfectly with his right foot to send the ball soaring into the far post side netting.

SKC - 28' - Stephan Afrifa (Nemanja Radoja): Nemanja Radoja controlled it in the attacking third when he played a quick pass to Stephen Afrifra outside of the box as he sat in a pocket between four RSL defenders. Afrifa took a clever touch and quickly cut upfield, creating just enough space with a final touch to the right side before sneaking a well-placed low strike back against his momentum and into the corner of goal at the far post.

RSL - 33' - Anderson Julio (Diego Luna, Emeka Eneli): Beginning with a goal kick, Beavers played short left to Ojeda who quickly moved it forward to Emeka Eneli, the 24-year-old captaining RSL for the first time to become the youngest to wear the armband in Club history. Eneli spotted Luna flashing in the midfield and played an accurate ball to his feet, Luna taking a good touch and advancing it to the halfway line with his head up. Julio found himself isolated with the back line of KC up top, showing his own world-class pace as he easily darted behind the defense to receive a perfect through ball from Luna sending him into the box. One-on-one with only Tim Melia to beat, Julio showed his technique as he calmly chipped the 'keeper to reinstate his team's advantage.

RSL - 51' - Andrés Gómez (Unassisted): As Philip Quinton stepped up to clear a KC pass back into the midfield, Julio got on the end of it to drag in a sliding defender. His tackle deflected the ball behind, halfway between Gómez and a single KC defender as he leapt forward with no hesitation to tap it past the lunging defender and run into the box on an uncontested breakaway. Face-to-face with Molia as he came out to challenge Gómez, the young Columbian showed maturity as he smoothly chipped a lofted ball high over Molia and into the back of the net.

SKC - 70' - Willy Agada (Zorhan Bassong): With KC probing in the attacking third, Thommy laid it off to Zorhan Bassong on the left wing. Bassong juking left and faked a cross to create space before moving left once more to whip it in, his cross sailing towards Agada in the center of the box. Agada took a touch with his chest and settled it with his left before smashing it into the back of the net with his right foot.

RSL - 84' - Matt Crooks (Chicho Arango, Andres Gómez): As Captain Chicho Arango ran down a long cross on the left side of the box, he held up play and waited for the run of Matt Crooks in the middle. Arango then floated a perfectly-placed cross onto the head of the leaping 6'6'' Englishman as he smashed the point-blank header into the back of the net.

RSL - 90+5' - Willy Agada (Memo Rodríguez): Lining up for a late corner, Memo Rodríguez whipped a cross centrally. It found its way over the traffic of the box and onto the head of Agada, sending it downward with power as it bounced into the back of the net.

NOTES FROM RSL 5:1 @ SKC:

RSL now unbeaten in 15 consecutive matches, breaking the longest single-season streak in Club history (14, 2010). RSL's last defeat was on March 9 vs. Rocky Mountain Cup rival Colorado, 103 days prior to the team's next match vs. LA Galaxy. The 37 points accumulated in 19 matches matches the best start in Club history

Andrés Gomez scored his 9th and 10th goals of the year (now 11 career MLS goals with RSL) to move into 6th on MLS leaderboard behind only teammate Chicho Arango, Christian Benteke (13, DCU), Denis Bouanga (12, LAFC), Lionel Messi (12, MIA), Luis Suarez (12, MIA) and Dejan Joveljic (11), pending Wednesday's late results

Captain Chicho Arango improves his case for MVP with a 10th assist of the year, moving into a tie for third-most in MLS. His 26 goal contributions (16 goals) leads Major League Soccer

Manager Pablo Mastroeni collected his 50th win across all competitions as Real Salt Lake manager. His 50 wins ranks second all-time amongst Real Salt Lake managers, Pablo achieving the feat three games quicker than Jason Kreis

With his 23rd-minute penalty kick save on SKC Capitan Johnny Russell, GK Gavin Beavers became the second-youngest goalkeeper in MLS history to save a penalty kick in regulation (Gabriel Slonina, Chicago, 2022)

Andrés Gomez collected two goals and an assist (10g/7a) to become the youngest player in Club history to record at least 15 goal contributions in a single season (21 years, 281 days)

Diego Luna earned two assists to become the youngest player in Club history to record 20 career goal contributions

Attacking midfielder Matt Crooks scored a header in the 84th minute on a cross from Chicho Arango for his first career RSL goal

During the current MLS run, RSL has outscored opponents 35-17, scoring first in eight of the 15 matches and hammering home five game-winning goals in the final 15 minutes of matches, as well as two extremely late stoppage-time equalizers.

RSL earns a point on the road for the 10th consecutive match, last losing in the season opener at Inter Miami on Feb. 21; the ongoing streak extend a franchise record

LINEUPS:

Real Salt Lake (4-2-3-1): Gavin Beavers; Andrew Brody (Bode Hidalgo, 46'); Bryan Oviedo (Alex Katranis, 62'); Philip Quinton; Brayan Vera; Emeka Eneli ©; Braian Ojeda; Andrés Gómez; Fidel Barajas (Chicho Arango, 46'); Diego Luna (Matt Crooks, 62'); Anderson Julio (Maikel Chang, 84')

Subs not used: Zac MacMath, Bertin Jacquesson, Nelson Palacio, Tommy Silva

Sporting KC (4-2-3-1): Tim Melia; Kayden Pierre (Khiry Shelton, 67'); Tim Leibold; Dany Rosero; Andreu Fontàs (Robert Voloder, 60'); Jake Davis; Nemanja Radoja (Memo Rodríguez, 60'); Erik Thommy; Johnny Russell ©; Willy Agada; Stephen Afrifa (Alenis Vargas 60')

Subs not used: John Pulskamp, Marinos Tzionis, Christopher Rindov, Robert Castellanos

Stats Summary: SKC / RSL

Shots: 30/13

Shots on Goal: 11/8

Saves: 4/8

Corner Kicks: 13/0

Fouls: 16/11

MISCONDUCT SUMMARY:

RSL: Brayan Vera (Caution - 77')

SKC: Zorhan Bassong (Caution - 90+2')

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