An own goal was the difference during a wild late-night Western Conference matchup between LAFC and Real Salt Lake, which saw the Black & Gold take all three points in a 3-2 victory Sunday at Banc of California Stadium.

Cristian Arango bagged a brace for LAFC, including the fastest goal in club history, to pace the hosts. Damir Kreilach and Anderson Julio each scored to bring Real Salt Lake back from deficits of 1-0 and 2-1, but an unfortunate own goal off the foot of center back Toni Datkovic was the decisive tally in a match with big Audi MLS Cup Playoffs implications. The win takes LAFC level on points with RSL in the seventh and final Western playoff spot, and below the line only on goal differential.

LAFC jumped on top during the game's very first sequence, with Arango finishing off a clinically executed attack just 20 seconds in to give the hosts a stunning opener. It was the fastest goal to start a match in LAFC history, beating the previous mark set earlier this season by Eduard Atuesta, who scored 85 seconds into his team's game against the Seattle Sounders on April 24.

RSL would regroup, however, and find an equalizer on 28 minutes through a stunner from Kreilach. The standout Croatian unleashed a gorgeous curling distance strike from the right side that was perfectly placed to the far post.

But the 1-1 scoreline was short-lived, as LAFC snatched the lead right back just two minutes later. Arango provided the finish again, this time with a snap header off a pinpoint assist from Atuesta.

LAFC were unable to hold the lead, and Julio found another leveler for RSL just on the other side of halftime. The Ecuadorian got free on a breakaway set up by a through ball from Albert Rusnak, making no mistake with the finish past Tomas Romero.

Once again, though, the hosts regained the advantage, this time through a gift of an own goal that was charged to Datkovic. The defender attempted a wayward back pass that went beyond goalkeeper David Ochoa and rolled into his own net. The bizarre sequence stood as the game's final goal despite a couple more late chances for both sides.

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Goals

  • 1' - LAFC - Cristian Arango | WATCH
  • 28' - RSL - Damir Kreilach | WATCH
  • 30' - LAFC - Cristian Arango | WATCH
  • 48' - RSL - Anderson Julio | WATCH
  • 59' - LAFC - Toni Datkovic (OG) | WATCH

Three Things

  • THE BIG PICTURE: This was some quintessential #MLSAfterDark action, highlighted by the record-breaking opener and the bizarre own goal. But it's a huge win for LAFC, both in terms of covering ground in the playoff race and from a psychological perspective. Bob Bradley's group has had their struggles, but they're right in the Western Conference playoff race with 11 matches to play. It's a frustrating one for RSL after wasting two separate comebacks that put them in a position to steal points on the road, only to see it slip away due to a very preventable defensive lapse.
  • MOMENT OF THE MATCH: Cristian Arango's opener set the tone for the theatrics to follow, and provided a slice of history in the process.
  • MAN OF THE MATCH: Marco Farfan had a brief but eventful cameo that was among his better performances in an LAFC uniform. The former Portland Timbers left back logged an active shift on both sides of the ball after entering as a second-half substitute.

Next Up

  • LAFC: Wednesday, September 15 at Austin FC | 9 pm ET (MLS LIVE on ESPN+)
  • RSL: Wednesday, September 15 at San Jose Earthquakes | 10:30 pm ET (MLS LIVE on ESPN+)

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