SANDY, Utah – The post-match scuffle aside, Real Salt Lake fought to the end for their 3-3 draw against the LA Galaxy on Wednesday night.
Salt Lake faced 1-0, 2-1 and 3-1 deficits and trailed for 80 minutes of the match, but came through with an equalizer in the 94th from Juan Manuel “Burrito” Martinez to remain one of four MLS teams still unbeaten at home.
“That was pretty important to us to come back,” Martinez said.
It’s nothing new for RSL who are now 6-6-2 on the season when they give up the first goal and have earned a league-high 22 points from that position. The win keeps them in second place in the Western Conference, tied with the Galaxy and a point ahead of the Colorado Rapids.
After being down 1-0 at half and 3-1 in the 64th minute, RSL were the first team to take points from LA after they led at the half this season.
“The second half, [we came back] punch by punch,” Martinez said. “They played only counterattack and we had the possession and all the chances.
“They scored two goals and we kept fighting until the last minute and we received the bonus in the last second.”
Joao Plata drew and converted a penalty to tie it at 1-1 in the 53rd minute before Giovani Dos Santos struck for the second and third goals for LA. Plata scored RSL’s second in the 67th minute after Yura Movsisyan settled the ball for him in the penalty box.
“The energy that was in the building at the end of the game, it was loud. It was raucous,” RSL head coach Jeff Cassar said. “Our players were feeding off that and kept going.”
The draw may feel more like a win to RSL, and it keeps their hopes alive for a successful stretch run to the playoffs, and perhaps even the Supporters’ Shield.
“You live to fight another day,” Cassar said.
A big ingredient in that fight: captain Kyle Beckerman's participation. The midfielder arrived in Salt Lake on Wednesday morning after World Cup qualifying duty with the US national team, and marked the occasion with a full 90 minutes for his 400th MLS appearance, the most by a field player in league history. He could tie Steve Ralston’s MLS record for starts by a field player (372) when RSL visit Portland on Saturday.