COMMERCE CITY, Col. (ABC4 Sports) – Real Salt Lake sure looked ready for the resumption of the MLS season.
Maikel Chang scored his first MLS goal, added his first two assists and RSL overcame an early own goal to beat the Colorado Rapids 4-1 on Saturday night.
RSL, playing its first game since getting eliminated from the MLS is Back Tournament on July 27th, scored all four goals in the second half to improve to 2-1-3 on the season.
“I think in the first half we weren’t trying to play passive,” RSL forward Justin Meram said. “We wanted to go and try and score goals. In the second half, we started off strong and one goal leads to another and we shifted the momentum to our favor once we got the first goal. You saw some composure in good spots on the field.”
The Rapids took a 1-0 lead in the 38th minute, as Diego Rubio’s crossing pass deflected off of Aaron Herrera and into the net for an own goal that sent RSL into halftime trailing 1-0.
But Freddy Juarez made a change at halftime, substituting Mikael Chang for Everton Luiz to create more attacking opportunities, and the strategy paid off.
In the 56th minute, Meram set up Kreilach for a thundering strike to tie the game at 1-1. Chang then made his mark, scoring his first career goal to give RSL the lead in the 76th minute, then assisting on goals to Corey Baird and Meram to secure the 4-1 victory.
“Chang came in and we thought he’s been training very well,” Juarez said. “I told you guys in the lead up to Orlando that the whole team is training well and we’ve had intrasquads and they are hard games and guys looked sharp. At any given time someone could be given the opportunity. Chang embraced the opportunity and he’s been working his tail off. It comes from him working hard and recovering and going the other way. It makes me proud that the team embraced the situation and let someone like Chang make a difference.”
Real Salt Lake will next host LAFC Wednesday at Rio Tinto Stadium at 7:30 p.m. A limited amount of fans will be allowed to watch the game in person.