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Real Salt Lake loses 2-1 to Galaxy, eliminated from playoff contention

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RSL’s playoff hopes officially came to an end tonight as they were eliminated with a 2-1 loss to the LA Galaxy.

MLS: Real Salt Lake at LA Galaxy Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Real Salt Lake’s quest for the postseason came to an end tonight as they suffered a 2-1 loss at the hands of the LA Galaxy. The loss puts RSL too far behind 8th-place San Jose to mathematically have a chance of qualifying for the playoffs. Goals from Geancarlo Gonzalez and Cristian Pavon lifted the home side to a victory. A late goal from Douglas Martinez gave RSL a glimmer of hope, but they were ultimately unable to make anything else happen beyond that.

The Galaxy struck first when Sebastian Lletget sent a free kick in toward the goal, when Geancarlo Gonzalez jumped and got his head to it, sending the ball sailing past Putna to his right to give the home side an early lead in the 19th minute.

LA kept bringing the heat as they nearly scored just four minutes later, but a quick save from Putna and a touch from Glad saved two golden chances from the Galaxy as they kept their foot on the gas pedal in hopes of avoiding elimination from playoff contention.

LA had one more great chance in the first half, but aside from that the rest of the half was relatively uneventful as the teams went into the locker room at 1-0 in the Galaxy’s favor. RSL, while controlling 59% of possession, failed to log a single shot on target as their attack didn’t see much action throughout the first 45 minutes.

RSL was an inch away from an equalizer early in the second half when Corey Baird collected a fantastic long ball in from Albert Rusnak and found himself in a one-on-one with keeper David Bingham. Bingham came off his line and Baird cleverly chipped the ball over him and watched it head toward the empty net. Geancarlo Gonzalez came out of nowhere and made a heroic save, kicking the ball away from goal and out of the area just as it was about to go over the line, keeping his team in the lead.

Cristian Pavon doubled LA’s lead when he collected a ball near half field. He took off streaking toward goal and outran Justen Glad while sprinting right past Marcelo Silva, sending in an easy ground shot past Putna to put the home side up 2-0.

Just when they thought the game was done and dusted, RSL pulled one back thanks to a Douglas Martinez header. Justin Meram sent in a cross from outside the left side of the box and found Martinez in a perfect position to rise up and head the ball past Bingham and into the net. With just over 10 minutes left to play, the visitors would be fighting for their playoff chances as they searched for an equalizer.

It would never come, and the Galaxy wound up with the 2-1 win at home. RSL, now officially out of playoff contention, will close out their 2020 campaign against Sporting Kansas City next week at home.