PHILADELPHIA (Saturday, April 27, 2024) – Real Salt Lake (5-2-3, 18 points, T-1st West) converted an 89th-minute winner from nearly 30 yards by newcomer Alex Katranis into a 2-1 victory on the road at Philadelphia Union. The win gives RSL six road points in back-to-back wins at Chicago and Philadelphia and extends the Claret-and-Cobalt unbeaten run to a League-high six matches, including five straight results away from home.

The first half-hour of play was quiet as neither team could manufacture consistent scoring chances. In Captain Chicho Arango’s first match against Philadelphia since MLS Cup 2022, when his former LAFC squad defeated the Union on penalties for the title, the Colombian sniper created the match’s first chance in the fourth minute. Rushing at Philadelphia’s Andre Blake as he prepared to play the ball long, Arango leaped up to deflect it into the air. Matt Crooks and Andrés Gómez combined to find Arango at the top of the box, but his shot went over the crossbar. 

Both teams would battle it out in the midfield until Fidel Barajas nearly collected his first MLS goal in the 25th minute. As Arango pinged a ball across toAlexandros Katranis on the left side of the midfield, he leapt forward with his first touch, slicing to the middle of the field before finding a cutting Barajas on the right corner of the box. Space suddenly appeared for Barajas to claim his first MLS goal as a fake shot sent the first defender flying out of view, but it would be deflected out of play as the Philadelphia defense converged with another sliding defender.

Real Salt Lake finally broke the stalemate in the 34th minute to claim a 1-0 lead. Arango carried possession forward in the midfield when an attempted tackle deflected the ball forward towards the box for Arango to sprint onto. Spotting Gómez darting in from the right side, Arango laid it off for his Colombian teammate who took one touch and loaded up for a thunderous right-footed strike at the goalkeeper’s near post. Gómez’s technique was so powerful that Blake could only get a piece of the shot, deflecting it upwards before falling across the line for an RSL goal. Both teams finished the half within one point of each other in possession, passing accuracy, shots on target, corners and fouls.

The RSL lead wouldn’t last for long coming out of the half, as Philadelphia equalized in the 50th minute. After winning the ball in the RSL half, Philadelphia counterpressed with Dániel Gazdag charging towards the RSL goal from the left side. Then, a combination of Julián Carranza and Quinn Sullivan set up Jack McGlynn for a one-time shot on the left corner of the box. The shot deflected off Gazdag and back out to Sullivan who promptly re-centered it for Gazdag, this time finishing into the far post with a back-heeled flick.

Philadelphia nearly took the lead in the 61st minute as Gazdag found himself just a few meters from goal with nobody but the goalkeeper to beat. Kai Wagner and McGlynn played a one-two along the left side that opened up space for Wagner to dart into the box. As RSL defenders came out he played a clever ball to Gazdag in front of net but he couldn’t control it as the shot went off the target.

Keeping with the back-and-forth nature of the game, both teams exchanged threatening blows in the 72nd and 73rd minutes. First, Real Salt Lake threatened in the 72nd as Arango sliced into the attacking third, drawing the attention of the Philadelphia defense before laying it off to Crooks on the edge of the box. Crooks quickly found the overlapping run of Gómez for a one-time curled shot to the far post, putting it just over the bar. Then, Philadelphia countered as Nathan Harriel and McGlynn played a give-and-go through the RSL back line for a one-on-one with Zac MacMath, electing to play it across the face of goal as the attempt flew inches past the boot of MacMath and out of play.

As the final whistle approached and a draw seemed ever-more likely, Real Salt Lake struck back to take a late lead in the 89th minute with a world-class strike from Katranis. As a deep Maikel Chang free kick was headed up and out of the box in an attempt to clear by the Union defense, it fell directly to the left foot of Katranis. From nearly 30 yards, Katranis controlled it with a beautiful first touch, reset his feet, and ripped a cross-body thunderbolt over a crowd of helpless Philadelphia defenders and into the back of the net. Following seven minutes of stoppage time, Katranis’ strike would prove to be decisive.

 RSL 2 : 1 at PHI 

GOAL-SCORING SUMMARY:  

RSL – 34’ Andrés Gómez (Chicho Arango): As Arango carried possession forward in the midfield, an attempted tackle deflected the ball forward towards the box as Arango sprinted onto it. Spotting Gómez darting in from the right side, Arango laid it off for his Colombian teammate who took one touch and loaded up for a thunderous right-footed strike at the goalkeeper’s near post. Gómez’s technique was so powerful that Blake could only get a piece of the shot, deflecting it upwards before falling across the line for an RSL goal. 

RSL – 50’ Danil Gazdag (Quinn Sullivan): After winning the ball in Salt lake’s half, Philadelphia counterpressed with Gazdag  charging towards the RSL goal from the left side. Then, a combination of Carranza and Sullivan set up McGlinn for a one-time shot on the left corner of the box. The shot deflected off Gazdag and back out to Sullivan who promptly re-centered it for Gazdag, this time finishing into the far post with a back-heeled flick.

RSL – 89’ Alex Katranis (Maikel Chang): As a deep Chang free kick was headed up and out of the box by the Union defense, it fell directly to the left foot of Katranis. From what looked to be about 30 yards, Katranis controlled it with his first touch, reset his feet, and ripped a cross-body thunderbolt over a crowd of helpless Philadelphia defenders and into the back of the net.

RSL v PHI NOTES:

  • Alex Katranis scored his second goal of the season – both second-half game-winners on the road – at Vancouver on March 23 and tonight at Philadelphia 
  • Midfielder Emeka Eneli extends his Iron Man streak, with 900 minutes played across all 10 RSL matches this season, the only RSL player to have played every minute this season. Eneli is currently one of only 15 players with 900 minutes played in MLS.
  • RSL improves to two wins and two draws when scoring first away from home this season, winning at Chicago and Philadelphia the last two weeks, and drawing at St. Louis in February and at Minnesota on April 6; RSL failed to score on Feb. 21 at Miami and came back to win in Vancouver on March 23.
  • RSL’s 2-1 victory marks the first time it has claimed all three points since 2016 in Philadelphia.
  • Chicho Arango’s assist to Andrés Gómez marks his 7th assist and 15th goal contribution.
  • Chicho Arango gets an assist and a victory in his first meeting with the Philadelphia Union since his LAFC squad’s victory over Philadelphia in the 2022 MLS Cup decided on penalty kicks. 
  • The goal conceded by RSL in the 50th minute snapped a 233-minute shutout streak for the RSL rearguard, which has allowed a league-low nine goals against this season; the recent streak was amassed across a four-game span by two goalkeepers (Zac MacMath, Gavin Beavers) and four centerbacks (Justen Glad, Brayan Vera, Bryan Oviedo and Bode Hidalgo)

LINEUPS:

Real Salt Lake (4-2-3-1): Zac MacMath; Justen Glad (Maikel Chang, 80’); Brayan Vera; Bode Hidalgo; Alex Katranis; Braian Ojeda; Emeka Eneli; Andrés Gómez (Andrew Brody, 90+1’); Matt Crooks; Fidel Barajas (Anderson Julio, 58’); Chicho Arango © 

Subs not used: Bryan Oviedo, Nelson Palacio, Philip Quinton, Bertin Jaquesson, Gavin Beavers

Philadelphia Union (4-2-3-1): Andre Blake; Kai Wagner; Jack Elliot; Jakob Glesnes; Nathan Harriel (Chris Donovan, 90+3’); José Martinez (Jesús Bueno, 87’); Jack McGlynn; Alejandro Bedoya ©; Daniel Gazdag; Julián Carranza; Quinn Sullivan (Mikkel Uhre, 72’); 

Subs not used: Oliver Semmle, Olivier Mbaizo, Leon Flach, Jeremy Rafanello, Tai Baribo

Stats Summary: RSL / PHI

Shots: 9 / 15

Shots on Goal: 4 / 8

Saves: 5 / 2

Corner Kicks: 5 / 4

Fouls: 15 / 17

MISCONDUCT SUMMARY:

RSL: Chicho Arango (Yellow, 39’),  Alex Katranis (Yellow, 49’), Brayan Vera (Yellow, 57’), Matt Crooks (Yellow, 59’), Andrés Gómez (Yellow, 75’); 15 Total Fouls

PHI: Jakob Glesnes (Yellow, 57’), Julián Carranzo (Yellow, 78’); 17 Total Fouls

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