Real Salt Lake couldn’t quite get it done in Los Angeles as they drop all three points in a 2-1 loss against the Galaxy, thanks to a game winner from Zlatan Ibrahimovic. LA keeps their perfect record at home (6-0-0) and Zlatan notches his ninth goal of the season.
LA got the scoring started in the 16th minute with an opener from Uriel Antuna off a great assist from Chris Pontius. Defender Diego Polenta sent a ball in toward Ibrahimovic who was near the top of LA’s attacking 18. He smartly dummied it, letting it roll past him and in between two RSL defenders, allowing Pontius to collect the ball and quickly cross it to a streaking Antuna, who easily tapped it in past Andrew Putna.
While there were no more goals in the first half, it wasn't for the lack of trying as the Galaxy took it to RSL, tallying eight shots in total and five on frame, while dominating possession 63% - 37%. The ball was held mostly in RSL’s defensive half, with the exception of a few unsuccessful drives and counter attacks on the visitors’ part, as RSL lodged four shots in total with only one on frame in the first half.
Real Salt Lake threw together some attacking play early on in the second half, which included a decent shot on frame from Nedum Onuoha, but unfortunately went straight into the arms of LA ‘keeper David Bingham. Shortly after, Damir Kreilach collected a beautiful pass from Baird outside the top of the box and let a shot rip, only to kiss the underside of the cross bar and bounce outside of the goal, putting RSL within an inch of equalizing in the 55th minute.
The visitors found the equalizer they were looking for in the 64th minute, courtesy of Donny Toia. Aaron Herrera had just taken a shot from the right side of the box, which Bingham was able to save but he parried it to the far side of the goal where Toia was waiting. Unmarked, Toia hit the ball on the volley and sent it into the wide open net, leveling the game at 1-1.
The Galaxy found a second goal in the 78th minute thanks to none other than Zlatan himself. A weak clearance from Justen Glad was collected by Sebastian Lletget, who dribbled toward the end line and sent it into an unmarked and waiting Zlatan. Glad tried to get there in time, but it wasn’t quick enough as Ibrahimovic slotted it home with his left foot, and proceeded to taunt Onuoha after the goal was scored. The home side went up again with a score of 2-1.
Despite a few more decent chances from Real Salt Lake — especially once Joao Plata came on the field — it wasn't enough and Zlatan’s goal would prove to be the game winner. RSL’s second half was much more productive in the final third, though, ending with a total of 22 shots — good for 18 in the second half alone — while only putting seven of them on frame.
RSL returns home to Rio Tinto Stadium next week to host the Portland Timbers.
16’ LA - Uriel Antuna (Chris Pontius, Diego Polenta)
64’ RSL - Donny Toia
78’ LA - Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Sebastian Lletget)
32’ RSL - Damir Kreilach - yellow card
60’ LA - Zlatan Ibrahimovic - yellow card
82’ LA - Diego Polenta - yellow card
RSL: Putna; Herrera, Glad, Onuoha, Toia (84’ Plata); Beckerman, Kreilach (90+1’ Lennon); Savarino, Rusnak, Baird; Johnson (71’ Saucedo)
LAG: Bingham; Feltscher, Stereo, Polenta, Traore; dos Santos, Corona (74’ Carrasco); Pontius, Lletget, Antuna (74’ Boateng), Ibrahimovic