David Ochoa’s Heroics Not Enough As Real Salt Lake Falls To LAFC

Jul 17, 2021, 10:56 PM | Updated: 11:08 pm
Photo courtesy: Real Salt Lake Twitter...
Photo courtesy: Real Salt Lake Twitter

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Real Salt Lake took to the road and visited Banc of California Stadium and a date with LAFC where they lost 2-1 despite a memorable and heroic game by goalkeeper David Ochoa.

Freddy Juarez opted for an unchanged lineup that included David Ochoa in goal, Donny Toia, Marcelo Silva, Justen Glad, and Aaron Herrera across the backline. Pablo Ruiz and Everton Luiz in the heart of the midfield. Justin Meram, Damir Kreilach, Albert Rusnak with Rubio Rubin at the point of the attack.

“I do not remember playing in a game and being under that much pressure. I do not think we controlled the ball for longer than a minute in the second half,” Aaron Herrera confessed following the conclusion of the game.

First Half Barrage

The first half consisted of constant attacks from LAFC. From the opening minutes, LAFC controlled the game and peppered the sticks of RSL.

In the 10th minute, Diego Rossi scored the game’s opening goal after he waltzed his way through the RSL defense and snuck the ball past David Ochoa. It looked like it could be a long night for RSL who seemingly had no answers for what LAFC was throwing at them.

However, RSL found themselves counter-attacking eight minutes later. Kreilach played a ball into Luiz who flicked a through ball onto the feet of a streaking Herrera who needed just one touch before he poked the ball into the bottom right-hand corner with his left foot and equalized proceedings in Los Angeles.

That shot and goal by Herrera was the only shot of the half for RSL.

LAFC entered halftime with 11 shots and 4 on target. Carlos Vela hit the woodwork, Cifuentes missed by a foot after finding space on the penalty spot. The list goes on, and on, and on, LAFC was deserving to be up by multiple goals at halftime but had to settle for a tied result as the two teams entered the main interval.

Carlos Vela Vs. David Ochoa

The second half consisted of a battle between Vela and Ochoa. In the 60th minute, Herrera surrendered an accidental handball, and LAFC was rewarded with a penalty. Vela stepped up and had his shot denied by Ochoa who guessed correctly and dove to his right to deny the star MLS winger.

Juarez then went to his bench and made a triple substitution when he brought on Nick Besler, Bobby Wood, and Anderson Julio for Pablo Ruiz, Justin Meram, and Damir Kreilach, respectively.

The adjustment and influx of fresh legs opted to slow the game down and allow RSL more time and possession.

That time did not last long, however, as Vela received a cross on his chest at the back post and then proceeded to bury his shot into the top of the net and past Ochoa.

Juarez then went to his bench again in an effort to pinch another goal out of the grasp of LAFC when he brought on Maikel Chang for Everton Luiz. Besler became the only RSL player in the midfield which opened up more space for LAFC to attack in.

Shortly thereafter, Vela hit the far post after beating Donny Toia down the right flank.

As good as Ochoa was this evening, his heroics were not enough as RSL fell 2-1 in Los Angeles against a fiery LAFC team.

“We struggled tonight on keeping possession of the ball,” Juarez said post-game. “Credit to LAFC they put a lot of pressure on you, they force you to make quicker decisions and if you are not composed it can become a hard game for you. In the second half we just could not find the ball,” he added.

The Numbers

LAFC won every meaningful attacking statistic. They controlled possession 55 percent to 45 percent. They outshot RSL 28 to 3, LAFC ended with 8 shots on target while RSL only managed 2.

The only statistic that RSL won was in the save column as David Ochoa ended the evening with seven saves while LAFC keeper only managed one.

“I like the challenge, honestly. I think he is the best player in the league and I love the challenge of playing against him,” Ochoa said on playing against Vela.

Short Turnaround

RSL will return home against the LA Galaxy on Wednesday, July 21st. The kickoff is slated for 8 p.m.

The Galaxy lost to Vancouver Whitecaps 2-1 in a surprising result at Rio Tinto Stadium this evening.

The fixture on Wednesday will be available to stream for free via the KSL Sports & KSL 5 TV app and on KSL Sports dot com.

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