SANDY, Utah (ABC4 Sports) – Real Salt Lake had never lost three straight games at Rio Tinto Stadium, and thanks to a gutty performance Wednesday night against the L.A. Galaxy, that streak is still in tact.
Albert Rusnak and Damir Kreilach both scored goals in the second half, as RSL snapped a 2-game losing skid with a 2-0 victory over the Galaxy.
With the victory, RSL (4-4-5) moves above the playoff line in the Western Conference with ten games remaining in the season.
“It was a must-win game,” said Rusnak. “We spoke about it the past couple of days leading up the game. That was the main talking point of the pre-game meeting as well. It’s all about the three points. It doesn’t matter if it’s with a nice style of football or if it’s going to be a hard-working ugly one. It doesn’t really matter. The most important thing was the three points and we got that.”
After a scoreless first half, Real Salt Lake came out attack-minded early in the second half. Rusnak got off a blast in the opening minute in the half, but Galaxy goalkeeper David Bingham made a sprawling save.
One minute later, Kreilach had a scoring opportunity, but his shot sailed just wide of the net.
Then in the 63rd minute, Justin Meram got free down the left sideline, and Bingham came out of the net to try to make a play on the ball. But he tackled Meram in the box, resulting in a yellow card and a penalty kick for RSL.
Rusnak stepped up and buried the PK, despite a slight touch by Bingham, for his third goal of the season to give RSL a 1-0 lead.
Then in the 72nd minute, Rusnak made a brilliant cross to Kreilach, who one-timed it into the net for his team-leading 6th goal of the season to give RSL a 2-0 lead.
“I thought the team played a well-rounded game both offensively and defensively,” said head coach Freddy Juarez. “It was a great group performance. I thought we got a response against Vancouver and weren’t rewarded for our football, but I thought we even upped it a level today.”
Andrew Putna made two saves in goal to earn the shutout.
Real Salt Lake out-shot the Galaxy, 13-8, and had six shots on frame compared to just two for L.A.
RSL next plays at Minnesota on Saturday.