SANDY, Utah (ABC4 Sports) – After Saturday’s 6-1 debacle at Portland, Real Salt Lake responded with a dramatic, last-minute victory over the L.A. Galaxy Wednesday night at Rio Tinto Stadium.
Anderson Julio drilled the game-winning goal in the 95th minute to give RSL a 2-1 victory, enabling Real Salt Lake to move past the Galaxy and into fifth place in the Western Conference.
Damir Kreilach contributed one goal and one assist as Real Salt Lake (11-10-6, 39 points) won for the fourth time in its past six games.
Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez scored his 12th goal of the season for the Galaxy (11-11-5, 38 points), who are winless in their past eight matches (0-5-3).
Kreilach set up Julio’s decisive goal with a long pass. Once Julio collected the ball, he ripped a left-footed shot from beyond the box past Los Angeles goalkeeper Jonathan Bond. It is Julio’s seventh goal of the season.
“What a fantastic goal,” said RSL interim head coach Pablo Mastroeni. “Anderson is one of the players that has repeatedly come in and waits for his moments and does amazing things. When you talk about a team, it’s not about just the guys that start. It’s about the guys that wait patiently, come in and make a splash and make a difference. Tonight, Anderson was just that guy.
David Ochoa recorded four saves for Salt Lake, kicking off Hispanic Heritage month with a victory.
“Everyone was fighting until the end,” Ochoa said. “Julio with an amazing goal last minute, and it’s just crazy. It’s an amazing feeling.”
The Galaxy held a 20-12 edge in shots and put five on target to RSL’s four.
Kreilach scored his 12th goal of the season in the 45th minute on a shot that went off Bond’s hands. The ball barely trickled fully across the goal line before Bond slapped it back out.
Chicharito knotted the score in the 76th minute when he received a pass from Efrain Alvarez and turned and sent a left-footed shot into the right corner of the net.
Real Salt Lake had a chance to regain the lead three minutes later, but Bond made the save on Julio’s close-range, right-footed shot.
One minute later, the Galaxy had a solid opportunity, but Dejan Joveljic sent a right-footed blast just over the crossbar.
Joveljic had another chance in the second minute of second-half stoppage time, but his header off a corner kick went just over the goal.
“It’s a big result,” Ochoa said. “We had a tough night in Portland and we wanted to respond the right way. I feel like we did that tonight. To come out with three points is huge, especially in these last couple games. Hopefully we can forget the night in Portland and build some momentum and keep getting some big results because every point is crucial now.”
“I am so proud of the group, of my teammates, the coaching staff, of all of us,” said Kreilach, who set a career high with his 12th goal. “It wasn’t easy to come out tonight after losing 6-1 against Portland, but we did it. We showed again that we are mentally ready to win the game at any time and we did it tonight. It wasn’t the best game, but at the end of the day who cares because three points are in our account and that is what counts. It was the most important game of the season so far and we won it.”
RSL next plays at Austin FC Saturday at 1:30 p.m.