Real Salt Lake Suffers Agonizing Defeat Against LAFC In Front Of Rowdy Rio Tinto Stadium

Jul 3, 2021, 10:13 PM | Updated: 10:34 pm
Photo courtesy: Real Salt Lake Twitter...
Photo courtesy: Real Salt Lake Twitter

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Real Salt Lake lost 1-0 at home to Carlos Vela and LAFC after yet another promising display that led to no fortune in the attacking third.

Manager Freddy Juarez opted to gift Maikel Chang his second consecutive start on the wing after a brilliant performance a week ago against the Houston Dynamo. Rubio Rubin, Albert Rusnak, and Damir Kreilach rounded out the front four. Pablo Ruiz and Nick Besler shared the middle of the park while Andrew Brody, Justen Glad, Marcelo Silva, and Aaron Herrera solidified the backline. David Ochoa played in goal.

“I feel like we should be frustrated after tonight,” RSL Captain Albert Rusnak said in the post-game press conference. We have to start converting these chances and capitalizing on a lot of good play.”

The anticipation for the match was high as RSL announced mid-week that Rio Tinto Stadium was open for full capacity for the first time since March of 2020. 18, 253 crammed into the rafters and made for an electric atmosphere.

First Half Stalemate

The first 45 minutes consisted of many chances for both teams, however, RSL looked like the more dangerous team when they made their way forward. As expected, RSL controlled most of the possession and developed a lot of their chances through build-up play.

LAFC, on the other hand, relied on a more counter-attacking approach that was always dangerous consisting of Carlos Vela and Diego Rossi.

It was an opening 45 minutes that concluded with the majority of players gasping for air as the halftime whistle blew. The heat, combined with the open style of play led to a brutally exhausting opening half of soccer.

Another 2nd Half Goal Conceded

The second half started much like the first half ended with a lot of back and forth ball movement from both teams. LAFC, in particular, seemed worse for wear as their players grappled with the altitude.

The home crowd grew more and more frustrated with the away team as multiple LAFC players made time to lie on the pitch and receive treatment following very minor challenges. It was apparent that they were content with leaving Rio Tinto Stadium with a point and did not necessarily require all three points to feel fulfilled.

Maikel Chang had a perfect opportunity to put the hosts in front when his left-foot strike found the diving arms of LAFC’s goalkeeper i the 62nd minute. Chang was left all alone inside the area and should have done more with his chance.

LAFC manager Bob Bradley made the first big move of the evening by bringing on a pair of subs in the 67th minute. His gamble paid dividends when one of his substitutes, Jose Cifuentes, found a pocket of space in the box and slotted the game’s opening goal against the run of play in the 69th minute.

Juarez looked to respond with a pair of substitutes himself in the 73rd minute when he brought on Justin Meram and Bobby Wood for Maikel Chang and Nick Besler.

Minutes after RSL was invigorated with fresh legs they had their best opportunity in the match to equalize. Rubio Rubin chipped the LAFC goalkeeper only for it to be cleared off the line and out for a corner.

LAFC then did what all good teams do and killed off the game by controlling the speed and tempo of the fixture.

RSL was never able to find their groove and the game ended with an array of unhappy RSL fans, players, and coaching staff. Boo’s echoed the chambers of Rio Tinto Stadium.

“A lot of flopping and killing off the game,” A frustrated Juarez said at the conclusion of the game. “The referee has to take control of the game and keep the game flowing.”

RSL surrendered more points at home. The pressure grows on the coaching staff to fulfill the needs of a fanbase that is itching for three points at home.


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Real Salt Lake Suffers Agonizing Defeat Against LAFC In Front Of Rowdy Rio Tinto Stadium