Real Salt Lake and the LA Galaxy traded haymakers for more than 90 riveting minutes at Rio Tinto Stadium on Wednesday night, and both had to settle for a point in the end.
Dos Santos appeared to have bagged a useful road win for LA as the Mexican superstar summoned two quicksilver strikes, against the run of play, in an eight-minute span in the second half amid a relentless attacking display from RSL.
But a Joao Plata brace kept the hosts within striking distance, and their furious late rally finally paid off deep in injury time. Juan Manuel "Burrito" Martinez's speculative drive slipped underneath LA goalkeeper Brian Rowe's hands and trickled over the goal line, equalizing a breathless affair on the last kick of the game.
- 6' – LA – Emmanuel Boateng (Giovani dos Santos)
- 53' – RSL – Joao Plata (PK)
- 57' – LA – Giovani dos Santos (Baggio Husidic)
- 64' – LA – Giovani dos Santos
- 67' – RSL – Joao Plata (Yura Movsisyan, Tony Beltran)
- 90'+4' – RSL – Juan Manuel Martinez (Joao Plata)
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1. ROWE NO: Brian Rowe's underrated work in the Galaxy nets has slowly but surely earned the respect of MLS observers this season. But he endured a horror-show night in Utah despite making five saves. First he gifted RSL a PK by losing track of Plata's proximity as he tried to kill time in the penalty box, and later his focus slipped just enough to let Martinez's shot elude him in the clutch.
2. BURRITO EXPOSURE: Those who watch RSL regularly have learned that the Argentine playmaker summons at least one jaw-dropping moment of skill and technique per game. Yet it's possible that Martinez is still under-appreciated outside Salt Lake. More clutch moments like Wednesday's could change that...though a deep playoff run might be the ideal antidote.
3. GIO AND A PUNCHER'S CHANCE: Even in this disappointing result, LA provided a reminder of why they remain firm MLS Cup contenders. No matter how comprehensively they are outplayed in other areas of the field, the attacking quality of dos Santos, Robbie Keane & Co. means that the Galaxy are never far away from scoring. They mustered just 28.6 percent of possession and allowed RSL to direct eight shots on target, but still stole a point.