Cristian Arango’s hat trick leads Real Salt Lake past St. Louis City

Mar 30, 2024; Sandy, Utah, USA; Real Salt Lake midfielder Bode Hidalgo (19) and St. Louis CITY SC midfielder Chris Durkin (8) battles for possession during the first half at America First Field. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Creveling-USA TODAY Sports

Cristian Arango scored three second-half goals, including a go-head marker on a penalty kick, as Real Salt Lake overcame an early defensive lapse to defeat visiting St. Louis City 3-1 on Saturday night at Sandy, Utah.

Arango had all of his goals in a span of about 21 minutes, pushing his goals total to five through five games this season.

Real Salt Lake (3-2-1, 10 points) has scored more than one goal in each of its victories this season.

Indiana Vassilev scored for St. Louis (1-1-4, 7 points).

Vassilev converted in the third minute off a set piece following a foul on Matt Crooks of Real Salt Lake. The goal came because of a slick move by Vassilev — and slow reaction from Real Salt Lake — to dribble the ball into the box from the right side and unload a shot that went into the far corner of the net.

Despite trailing for most of the match, Real Salt Lake controlled much of the play. That was reflected in an 11-4 advantage in corner kicks.

Arango’s first goal might have been his most impressive. He settled the ball after receiving a pass from Alexandros Katranis, and then delivered a blast from outside the box in the 70th minute to pull Real Salt Lake even.

Then in the 84th minute, Arango made a patient approach on his penalty kick and rolled the ball into the right side of the net. That created a reaction of frustration from goalkeeper Roman Burki.

A hand ball in the penalty area by St. Louis City’s Chris Durkin provided the opportunity for the penalty kick.

Arango’s third goal came early in extra time off an assist from Diego Luna.

Arango is within one goal of his total for all of last season, when he appeared in 11 MLS matches for Real Salt Lake.

It marked the second match in a row that Real Salt Lake overcame a halftime deficit to win.

–Field Level Media

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