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Player of the Match: David Ochoa stands on his head despite 2-1 loss to LAFC

It looks weird to give a goalkeeper player of the game in a loss. But without Ochoa, that loss is 4-1 or worse.

MLS: Real Salt Lake at Los Angeles FC Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

David Ochoa had an absolute standout night against LAFC. Sure, he gave up two goals. But LAFC should’ve, and could’ve, had five or more goals in this one. His defense didn’t exactly help him out in this one, either. In a game he needed to come up big Ochoa did his part to keep RSL in the game.

It took just 10 minutes for LAFC to find the back of the net, but after that Ochoa was locked in. He faced 29 shots and only allowed two goals. LAFC’s keeper allowed one of three shots. Ochoa simply stood on his head.

Real Salt Lake vs LAFC shot map from July 17, 2021
MLS Soccer

Not only did he have all of those saves, but he saved a penalty kick on top of it. He stopped Carlos Vela from 12 yards out. While his team was tied. That’s not the behavior of a 20 year old goalkeeper who just started consistently playing for the first team. That’s the behavior of 2019 USL Champion David Ochoa.

LAFC was expected to have 4.3 goals in this game. RSL was expected to have 0.6. One of those teams came to fruition, one did not. LAFC is an incredibly dangerous team and no one can dispute that, but Ochoa tried his best to stop them.

Going into this game no one expected RSL to hold a candle to LAFC, and in a lot of ways they didn’t, but there was no disputing who the better goalkeeper was tonight.

It’s also worth nothing here the connection between Aaron Herrera and Everton Luiz for the goal, though. It was a clutch goal that kept RSL in this game for a long time. Their defensive performances weren't the greatest, but that connection is one I wouldn’t mind seeing again.