Having lost to Minnesota United, New York Red Bulls, Sporting Kansas City, and the Houston Dynamo (on penalties in the U.S. Open Cup), as well as drawing the LA Galaxy at home after going up 2-0, LAFC was in desperate need of a victory. The Black-and-Gold not only needed one for confidence, but to get back on track in the Western Conference table as the season approaches the final stretch. LAFC did finally find a way against Salt Lake, however, hopping out to an early lead thanks to Christian Ramirez.
In the ninth minute, Carlos Vela found himself on the right side of the box and crossed with his left foot into the box, and Ramirez headed the ball past Nick Rimando for what many thought was the first goal of the game, and Ramirez’s first goal for LAFC. However, the goal was called off due to an offsides call, which when you look at the replay, is a bit debatable.
Regardless, Ramirez made up for it just four minutes later. Vela got the ball again from Benny Feilhaber in the middle of Salt Lake’s half, and sent an amazing ball into Ramirez, who was splitting the defense up the middle. The ball fell right to the feet of Ramirez in stride, and he put it past Rimando for his first goal in Black-and-Gold.
Christian Ramirez scores his first #LAFC goal, in his first start!— Jason Foster (@JogaBonito_USA) August 16, 2018
Great finish with the outside of his foot to make it 1-0 against #RSL, after a superb ball by Carlos Vela to play him in.#LAFCvRSL #MLS pic.twitter.com/noBQUXImrc
Just over 15 minutes later, Ramirez struck again to double LAFC’s lead, and make the match look like the home side was headed for a rout. Eduard Atuesta got the ball as he ran down the left side of the field, and as he dribbled into the box, he slotted the ball towards the six-yard box. The pass went right past three RSL defenders, was left alone by Vela, and trickled right to the foot of a waiting Ramirez. Ramirez lifted the ball into the back of the net to easily put LAFC up by two.
Christian Ramirez gets his brace to double the lead for #LAFC!— Jason Foster (@JogaBonito_USA) August 16, 2018
Good buildup, and great work by Eduard Atuesta to set up Ramirez for the first-time finish from the top of the 6 yard box.
2-0. #LAFCvRSL #RSL #MLS pic.twitter.com/oKjwaDGYuA
After taking the lead, LAFC put in a professional performance, and never played in danger of losing. While Real Salt Lake did have a couple of legitimate chances, they were snuffed out by the defensive line, which had a very positive response to the recent rough stretch of form. LAFC had several more chances in the match, especially after the 70th minute, but were never able to emphatically slam the door shut on Mike Petke and RSL. That said, they played very well throughout the game, dominating possession for the most part and creating most of the chances on goal. It never really seemed like LAFC were under a lot of pressure in the game, and LAFC took full control of the match early, never looking back.
LAFC, with this win, climbs into third place in the West, level on points with Sporting Kansas City with 39. Their next match is at home against the Colorado Rapids on Sunday.
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