Onuoha Shines Despite RSL Loss

Apr 29, 2019, 3:00 PM | Updated: 3:00 pm
Real Salt Lake celebrates a goal during the second half against the Los Angeles Galaxy at Dignity H...
Real Salt Lake celebrates a goal during the second half against the Los Angeles Galaxy at Dignity Health Sports Park on April 28, 2019 in Carson, California. (Photo by Katharine Lotze/Getty Images)
(Photo by Katharine Lotze/Getty Images)

SANDY, Utah – Real Salt Lake visited Dignity Health Sports Park in the hopes of making it three wins in a row against the LA Galaxy this past Sunday. Unfortunately, a 2-1 loss derailed their winning streak and RSL was held without a point to add to the standings.

However, the match provided for great entertainment.

The Galaxy dominated the first half and held a 1-0 lead at halftime thanks to a Uriel Antuna tap in in the 16th minute. The response from Mike Petke and RSL in the second half was impressive.

The first 30 minutes of the second half was solely played on RSL’s terms. They controlled the ball, the tempo and the pace of the game. Space started opening up and Rusnak and Kreilach were able to play themselves into the contest. After many close opportunities, their perseverance paid off in the 64th minute when Donny Toia scored on a deflected shot by Aaron Herrera.

After Toia leveled the score, it seemed as though the second goal for RSL was only minutes away.

However, Kyle Beckerman turned the ball over in LA’s own half and a counter attack ensued. Zlatan Ibrahimovic played the ball out to Sebastian Lletget who was able to maneuver around Aaron Herrera far too easily. From there Lletget played a simple cross into an unmarked Ibrahimovic for LA’s second and winning goal.

Throughout the contest, Ibrahimovic and RSL center back Nedum Onuoha were going back and forth in a heated battle. Ibrahimovic received a yellow card in the 60th minute for clothes-lining Onuoha, he also elbowed the back of Onuoha’s head which was missed by referee Joe Dickerson. After Ibrahimovic scored in the 78th minute he celebrated by shouting and getting in the face of Onuoha, another possible yellow card offense that went without a call from the referee.

After the match, Ibrahimovic entered RSL’s locker room in the hopes of shaking and apologizing to Onuoha. However,Onuoha was not having any of it and he spoke to the media after the game to explain what happened.


Ibrahimovic also spoke on the encounter.

Here is how the players were rated after the win, on a scale of 0-10.

0-5: The player did not play well or did not get enough minutes to judge performance correctly.

6-7: The player played well, but had moments where they did not make good decisions.

8-9: The player was very impressive, had very few mistakes and offered a lot of production.

10: The player played a perfect game. No mistakes, everything the player touched turned to gold.


Andrew Putna, 7
Putna was again good, but not great. He ended the evening with 4 saves next to his name. Throughout the first half Putna was influential in keeping the deficit to only one goal, and when Ibrahimovic scored in the 78th there was not much more he could have done. The second LA goal was put on Beckerman, Herrera and Glad, not Putna.


Right Back: Aaron Herrera, 6
Aaron Herrera was very good for most of the night. His work up and down the right hand side was impressive, his shot in the 64th minute lead to the Donny Toia tap in. Unfortunately, Herrera also played a role in the game winning goal for the Galaxy. His defending on Lletget who eventually assisted Ibrahimovic was poor. Herrera is the future at right back for RSL, but learning and experience is certainly needed before Herrera feels comfortable controlling the right back position.

Center Back: Justen Glad, 6
Justen Glad had a few nice passages of play throughout the 90 minutes. His help on Ibrahimovic did not go unnoticed. Unfortunately he misread the passing channels on the Ibrahimovic game-winner and was playing too shallow in the penalty area which made for an easy pass and assist from Lletget. Glad does a nice job of keeping the back four intact, he is able to gather himself and close attackers with his speed.

Center Back: Nedum Onuoha, 9
Onuoha was the best player on the pitch for RSL. He kept Ibrahimovic in check and even when hescored in the 78th minute, it was not Nedum’s fault. His stature posed for a difficult matchup against Ibrahimovic . The dual that took place on Sunday will not be forgotten and when the Galaxy come to the RioT on September 25th. Expect more fireworks between the two of them. It was very fun and physical matchup in which Nedum performed admirably.

Left Back: Donny Toia, 8
Toia played his best game this season. He scored the only goal for RSL but more importantly was influential up and down the left hand wing all evening long. Toia defended well and when he found himself joining the attack he made his left foot known, whipping balls in and offering another dangerous attacking option.


Center Midfield: Damir Kreilach, 7
Kreilach was poor in the first half. He was stuck and surrounded by white shirts any time he touched the football. In the second half, however, he was able to utilize the space he found. He ricocheted the cross bar and was inches from scoring an absolute peach, he also was dangerous with his head from corners and crosses. Kreilach would have liked to play better in the first half, but his second half performance was worth the wait.

Center Midfield: Kyle Beckerman, 6
Beckerman was having another one of those days where he was effective without being flashy, but unfortunately he will be remembered for turning the ball over in a dangerous part of the field that eventually led to the game winner for the Galaxy. Beckerman will not let that linger, his maturity and experience will help him in bouncing back and putting in another very positive shift against the Timbers on Saturday night.

Right Wing: Corey Baird, 7
Baird was dangerous, without being superb. He is starting to play himself into form at his preferred right wing position. Baird offered a dangerous match up for the Galaxy and often found himself attacking defenders. However, his touch is still slightly off. Heavy touches have been Baird’s downfall over the last few weeks.

Center Attacking Midfield: Albert Rusnak, 7
Much like Kreilach, Rusnak was no where to be found in the first half. That all changed after half time. Space opened up for him and he became his usual dangerous self. Rusnak is one of the more important players for Mike Petke and there is no question that when Rusnak is playing well, often his team follows his lead.

Left Wing: Jefferson Savarino, 6
Savarino has been quite polarizing for two consecutive weeks now. His ability to dance around defenders was again on show but he was unable to make the most of the opportunities he provided. If Savarino can find a dangerous shot, his game will be taken to the next level.



Striker: Sam Johnson, 7
Johnson was quite as sharp in comparison to the previous two weeks. Still his work rate was high and  he seems so determined to make the most of every opportunity whether he has the ball or not. He was good when it came to holding up the ball, something no other RSL striker can offer. His runs off the defenders shoulders were dangerous, it was just the delivery was not there for him. Johnson is the first-choice striker for RSL and his performance will only improve the more minutes he accumulates.


The Bench

Sebastian Saucedo, 6
Bofo came on in the 71st minute for striker Sam Johnson. That shifted the positioning for RSL as Bofo went to the right wing and Baird played striker. Bofo offered a spark to RSL, his fresh legs were evident and his willingness to attack defenders was fun to watch. Bofo can, at times, let his confidence get the better of him. He has a powerful shot, but not powerful enough to score from 35 yards out on a severe angle.

Joao Plata, 4
For the second straight week, Plata came on deep into the 90 minutes. This time for Donny Toia in the 84th minute. His impact was minimal, however he was able to touch the football on occasion and when he did he created chances. Maybe Plata needs to come on a touch earlier?

Brooks Lennon, 1
Lennon was the last gasp, desperation attempt for Mike Petke. He joined the game in the 91st minute and had no impact.

Next Up

Real Salt Lake will host the Portland Timbers this Saturday at 7 p.m.

Portland is coming off a very impressive 2-1 road win against Toronto F.C. The Timbers currently sit in 10th spot in the Western Conference on 7 points.

The match on Sunday can be streamed for free on, as well as on the KSL TV app.

Reminder in collaboration with Real Salt Lake has launched a new podcast, The RSL Lion’s Den. It is the official Real Salt Lake podcast for all your club news and updates. Tom Hackett, Spencer Warne and RSL’s Director of PR, Matt Gaschk break down the games and discuss important club matters.

To listen to The Lion’s Den, click here. It is available on iTunes, Google Play or wherever podcasts are found. Don’t forger to rate and subscribe!

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