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Real Salt Lake Ride Dominant first half en route to 4-0 road victory in Chicago

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April 21, 2024 – Major League Soccer (MLS)
Real Salt Lake News Report

CHICAGO – Real Salt Lake (4-2-3, 15 points, T-1st West) turned a three-goal first-half offensive explosion into three road points at Chicago Fire FC. RSL captain Chicho Arango led the way with two goals and two assists, extending his lead in goals contribution atop the MLS race, now with eight goals and six assists. Tonight’s win extends RSL’s unbeaten streak to five matches – the last one coming on March 9 against Colorado – collecting 11 of a possible 15 points in that period.

Watch/listen to RSL Head Coach Pablo Mastroeni, Chicho Arango and Gavin Beavers post-game commentary after the 4-0 win at Chicago Fire on Saturday April 20, 2024

Real Salt Lake started the affair with four changes to the line-up as injuries to a pair of centre-backs pushed full-backs Bode Hidalgo and Bryan Oviedo into the middle ahead of teenage goalkeeper Gavin Beavers. Additionally, 18-year-old playmaker Fidel Barajas was making his second career appearance in MLS, replacing American Olympic hopeful Diego Luna.

RSL’s first quality chance came in the 12th minute. Receiving the ball on the right side of midfield, Arango dribbled through three defenders before being fouled on the edge of the penalty area. As both teams pushed into the area and jostled for position for the ensuing free kick, Arango attempted to catch Chicago off guard with a quick curling shot towards the top left corner, opting to take the kick standing rather than running up, allowing the offer was sent. just wide.

RSL almost struck in the 16th minute, when MF Braian Ojeda guided Alex Katranis down the left wing and played a long, high through ball over the top. However, the ball was slightly out of reach, and when Chicago’s Chris Brady came out to make the catch, he collided with his defender and dropped the ball at Arango’s feet for a straight opportunity that was deflected out of bounds .

Yet Chicago was not entirely one-sided: in the 21st minute, Chicago created the first real chance of the match. MF Emeka Eneli lost possession just outside his own penalty area during the build-up when Chris Mueller took it away and, nutmegging a defender, fired towards the heart of the penalty area before RSL’ keeper Gavin Beavers raced out to quell the danger with a courageous rescue.

However, it wouldn’t take Real Salt Lake long to regain the momentum as they would turn the dominance into a 1-0 lead in the 24th minute. As Katranis controlled the ball down the left side, he played a beautiful give-and-go pass to Chicho in the middle, who returned the favor with a long ball down the left wing for Katrinis. Katranis raised his head and spotted Andrés Gómez in the far corner of the penalty area, connecting with a pinged pass. Gómez received the ball with a clean touch and danced to his right to clear out an attacking defender before cutting back to his left for a beautiful strike past Brady and into the corner near the post.

RSL smelled blood, maintained the pressure and pushed for another goal, but found it just nine minutes later. As Matt Crooks and Gómez tried to play a one-two down the right side, Federico Navarro intercepted the ball and, feeling the pressure, tried to pass it back to his goalkeeper in panic. Arango seemed to fly in out of nowhere, ran at the ball, intercepted it directly in front of the net and calmly finished the one-on-one opportunity by nutmegging Brady as he shot with the outside of his right foot to to put RSL two ahead.

In what can only be described as a flurry of goals, RSL would concede the third of the half just four minutes later in the 37th minute. Oviedo unleashed a long, curling cross into a corner across the pack and towards the back post as an unmarked Arango lost his marker and fired a powerful header past Brady for his second of the match. With the goal, Arango now leads the MLS Golden Boot race with eight goals.

When play reopened for the second 45 minutes, RSL didn’t just sit back and defend the lead. Looking for a third goal in the 52nd minute, Arango dribbled between four defenders, with the ball deflecting to Crooks, who then tapped it to the feet of a charging Fidel Barajas. Two-on-one, with only his marker and the keeper to beat, Barajas opted for a low cross-body effort that went just wide of the far post.

Then, against the run of play, RSL almost stole another goal. A three-man combination on the right of Barajas, Arango and Diego Luna almost set up a fourth for RSL in the 62nd minute. Barajas, racing down the right wing, played the ball forward to the feet of Arango, who then played the ball centrally for Luna with a low, one-touch cross. He attempted a one-touch shot himself just to the right of the penalty spot, with the attempt going just wide of the near post.

Chicago did its utmost to prevent Beavers from getting his first career MLS clean sheet and almost got one back in the 87th minute. As Chris Mueller faced Katranis on the edge of the RSL pitch, he cut to the left and fired a through ball to the feet of Herbers deep on the right side of the penalty area. Without a single tap, Herbers whipped a ball across goal, making it through traffic untouched before landing on the foot of Georgios Koutsias for the easy finish, but the goal was disallowed for offside.

To cap their dominant performance, RSL added a fourth goal in extra time. Operating in the defensive third, Oviedo intercepted an errant Chicago pass and immediately began the fast break towards goal. Oviedo soon found Arango on the right flank who then pinged a ball centrally for Luna’s run on the edge of the penalty area. As the defenders retreated from Luna, respecting his passing skills and vision, he took possession of the space and stepped forward into a right-footed shot that curled around a helpless Brady and into the net at the side of the post ended up. The strike was the first goal of Luna’s 2024 season with his five assists, and continued where he left off at the end of 2023 with a run of four goals in five games.

RSL 4:0 CHI

SUMMARY OF GOAL SCORES:

RSL – 24′ Andrés Gómez (Alex Katranis & Chicho Arango): As Katranis controlled the ball down the left side, he played a beautiful give-and-go pass to Chicho in the middle, who returned the favor with a long ball down the left wing for Katrinis to run on. Katranis raised his head and spotted Gómez in the far corner of the penalty area, connecting with a pinged pass. Gómez received the ball with a clean touch and danced to the right to pick out an attacking defender before sliding it to the left for a beautiful strike past Brady and into the near post corner.

RSL – 33′ Chicho Arango (unassisted): As Matt Crooks and Gómez tried to play a one-two down the right, Federico Navarro intercepted the ball and, feeling the pressure, tried to pass it back to his goalkeeper in panic. Arango seemed to fly in out of nowhere, ran towards the ball, intercepted it directly in front of the net and calmly finished the one-on-one chance with Brady to put his side up two.

RSL – 37′ Chicho Arango (Bryan Oviedo): As Brayan Oviedo stood over the ball for a corner kick from the right, most of the traffic circulated around the penalty spot and near the post area. Seeing this, Oviedo unleashed a long, curling cross across the pack and towards the back post, while an unmarked Arango tracked him down and fired a powerful header past Brady into the back of the net for his second of the match.

RSL – 90+3 Diego Luna (Chicho Arango): Operating in the defensive third, Oviedo intercepted an errant pass from Chicago and immediately started the fast break towards the goal. Oviedo soon found Arango on the right flank who then pinged a ball centrally for Luna’s run on the edge of the penalty area. As the defenders retreated from Luna, respecting his passing skills and vision, he took possession of the space and stepped forward into a right-footed shot that curled around a helpless Brady and into the net at the side of the post ended up.

RSL vs. CHI NOTES:

Real Salt Lake’s win extends its unbeaten run to five games (3-0-2), collecting 11 of a possible 15 points since its March 9 defeat to Colorado. In addition to five consecutive undefeated games overall, the win makes it four consecutive road games without a loss (2-0-2), collecting 8 of a possible 12 road points and only failing to score a road point in the February 21 season to earn. opener in Miami.

GK Gavin Beavers’ impeccable performance in net for RSL against Chicago marks the first MLS clean sheet of his career, in nine league games (Beavers scored one clean sheet in Colorado last year in the Open Cup). His next appearance in net will mark the 18-year-old’s 10th league appearance for the Claret-and-Cobalt.

Diego Luna’s 93rd minute strike into the back of the net marks the first goal of his 2024 season – his first time on the scoresheet since scoring four goals in RSL’s last five games of 2023.

Defender Philip Quinton, signed from Columbus Crew SC yesterday, was substituted for Alex Katranis in the 74th minute to make his Real Salt Lake debut. Quinton – who played the full 90 for the Crew in last week’s 0-0 draw at RSL – is the fifth RSL player to make his Club debut this year, joining Matt Crooks, Alex Katranis, Fidel Barajas and Noel Caliskan.

The 4-0 shutout victory is the second consecutive clean sheet by the RSL defense, achieved with two different goaltenders and four different center backs. In the first, Zac MacMath was in goal with Brayan Vera and Justen Glad, April 13 against Columbus, and in the second, Gavin Beavers was in goal with Bode Hidalgo and Bryan Oviedo in central defense.

The 4-0 offensive surge marks the first time since a 6-0 win at Colorado Rapids on August 25, 2018 that RSL has won a game away from America First Field by four or more goals.

tonight marks the third time that RSL has scored three first-half goals in its 309 all-time road league games, first achieved in May 2014 in Houston, with the last time prior to tonight coming in May 2023 in Colorado.

SETUPS:

Real Salt Lake (4-2-3-1): Gavin Bevers; Brian Oviedo; Bode Hidalgo; Alex Katranis (Philip Quinton, 74′); Andrew Brody; Emeka Eneli; Bryan Ojeda (Nelson Palacio, 73′); Andrés Gómez (Diego Luna, 56′); Matt Boeven (Anderson Julio, 82′); Fidel Barajas (Maikel Chang, 82′); Chicho Arango ©

Subs not used: Zac MacMath, Keller Storlie, Zavier Gozo

Chicago Fire (4-2-3-1): Chris Brady; Arnaud Souquet; Carlos Teran; Rafael Czichos; Chris Mueller; Hugo Cuypers, Xherdan Shaqiri © (Koutsias, 28′); Fabian Herbs; Kellyn Acosta; Allan Arigoni; Federico Navarro (Giménez, 46′; Barlow, 60′)

Subs not used: Spencer Richey, Jonathan Dean, Wyatt Omsberg, Mauricio Pineda, Andrew Gutman

Summary of Statistics: RSL/CHI

Shots: 16/12

Shots on target: 7/5

Saves: 5/3

Corners: 5/5

Errors: 11 / 16

SUMMARY OF MISCONDUCT:

RSL: Andrés Gómez (Yellow, 31′), 11 total fouls

CHI: Kellyn Acosta (Yellow, 15′), 16 total fouls

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