Cristian Arango scored twice, including a goal 20 seconds into the game, and a Real Salt Lake own goal was the difference in Los Angeles FC’s 3-2 win over visiting Real Salt Lake Sunday night in Major League Soccer at Banc of California Stadium.
LAFC (8-9-6, 30 points) has 10 goals in its last three matches and it is undefeated in three straight games.
Arango hustled into an onside position as LAFC worked the ball into the box seconds after the opening whistle. It was the fastest goal ever scored in club history.
Real Salt Lake’s Damir Kreilach struck with the right foot from outside the box to make it 1-1. Moments later in the 30th minute, Arango put in a header on a ball from Eduard Atuesta.
LAFC took a 2-1 lead to halftime, but Real Salt Lake leveled the game at 2-2 in the 48th minute. Anderson Julio got free to bring in a long pass from Albert Rusnak off an LAFC turnover, and he finished with the right foot.
With so many goals scored, the major gaffe from RSL’s Toni Datkovic in the 59th minute seemed like it might be made up for later. But there was no denying that the mistake, in which Datkovic tapped the ball back to his goalkeeper David Ochoa and it rolled wide of him and into the net, was painful for Real Salt Lake.
It seemed a completely harmless back pass to set up a goal kick, but Ochoa had to dive for the ball, and it slowly rolled into the net as Datkovic watched in desperation.
After midfielder Jose Cifuentes just missed a shot that went off the cross bar, which would have put LAFC in firm command, an attempted pass back for goalkeeper Tomas Romero almost went into the net for an own goal to tie the game.
Real Salt Lake (8-9-6, 30 points) lost its third straight game this year to LAFC. The two teams ended the night in seventh and eighth place in the Western Conference, with RSL holding the final playoff spot by virtue of a tiebreaker over LAFC despite the same record and point totals.
–Field Level Media