Real Salt Lake Splits Points With Galaxy, Playoff Hopes Remain
SALT LAKE CITY – Real Salt Lake settled for a draw against Los Angeles Galaxy in California despite being outplayed in all areas of the pitch.
The good news for Real Salt Lake is that Minnesota United lost 2-0 to San Jose and the club still remains a chance to play in the postseason this year.
Currently, Real Salt Lake finds themselves one point shy of Minnesota United in eighth and just three points shy of fourth and fifth-placed Galaxy and Nashville.
“Listen, I think when the players play it was a great game, when others got involved it got messy,” Mastroeni said post-game in frustration.
Manager Pablo Mastroeni opted to utilize a unique lineup that featured Sergio Córdova and Jefferson Savarino at the point of the attack. Jasper Löffelsend operated in the center-attacking midfield role while Braian Ojeda and Scott Caldwell played behind Löffelsend in the center of the park. Andrew Brody and Bryan Oviedo in the full-back positions and Aaron Herrera, Justen Glad, and Marcelo Silva as a three-man center-back.
Star Galaxy midfielder Riqui Puig drew a penalty in the 20th minute but was shortly denied by Zac MacMath who read the shot and comfortably saved the Puig penalty by diving to his left.
Minutes later, Real Salt Lake found the games opening goal when Brody played in Herrera who floated a ball into the area that Córdova got on the end of. It was a terrific display of athleticism from Córdova who maneuvered his body into a position where he was able to control his header.
we don't call him scordova for nothin pic.twitter.com/RjMm05bFcd
— Real Salt Lake (@realsaltlake) October 2, 2022
Chicharito was at the center of attention, as expected, and received a yellow card for diving towards the end of the first half when he attempted to bait the referee into a penalty.
Despite the lead, Real Salt Lake entered the halftime break losing every meaningful statistic but the one that mattered most; goals.
The second half began with the Galaxy pressing the Real Salt Lake defense. RSL found themselves stuck deep in their own half as LA pushed for the equalizer.
The intense pressure forced Mastroeni into an early substitution as he brought in Anderson Julio and Diego Luna for Córdova and Löffelsend respectively.
In the 66th minute, Puig threaded a ball onto the feet of Chicharito who turned his back into Silva before the two fell to the ground. The referee waived off the penalty claim before being instructed to review the challenge and promptly turned the call over.
This time Douglas Costa stepped up to the spot and buried his attempt into the back of the net sending MacMath the wrong way. The score was level.
— LA Galaxy (@LAGalaxy) October 2, 2022
It was later confirmed that the VAR monitor was not working and therefore the referee was instructed to base his decision on the recommendation of the person in charge of VAR.
Mastroeni and Herrera both admitted post-game that they never received an explanation from the fourth official or the referee regarding the overturning of the call.
Puig came within inches of gifting LA the lead when his long distant strike ricocheted off the bottom side of the crossbar.
In the 94th minute, Justen Meram played a ball into the area and Glad was denied by the Galaxy goalkeeper from four yards away. Then, seconds later Glad got on the end of another head but skied his attempt high after Bond misread the cross. Glad has the entire goal to aim for but was unable to find the accuracy to put the ball on frame.
Glad was in disbelief. The final whistle blew minutes later.
Real Salt Lake will return home for the final game of the season with a playoff position on the line.
Real Salt Lake will play its final game of the 2022 regular season at home on Saturday, October 9 when they host Portland Timbers.
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