The LA Galaxy topped Real Salt Lake 2-1 in mid-week action Wednesday night at Rio Tinto Stadium. With the result, LA have qualified for the 2019 MLS Cup Playoffs and now sit 3rd in the Western conference with just a pair of games remaining.
It was an uncomfortable chess match in the opening half hour for Guillermo Barros Schelotto’s group as the bend-but-don’t-break defense was tested while LA struggled to possess the ball and create in the final third. The end of the half featured a scary moment as a RSL corner kick resulted in the ball shaving both of David Bingham’s goalposts before the Galaxy cleared, on the other end Ibrahimovic had an excellent aerial look but his header was high.
Encouragingly LA broke the deadlock early in the second half. Cristian Pavon got loose on the left flank and did enough to evade the challenges of Nedum Onuoha and Nick Rimando, slipping a low finish between the two. The Galaxy continued to press RSL and were able to generate several clear-cut chances, however LA and Uriel Antuna in particular were wasteful in front of net.
After dodging a flurry of bullets, the hard working Pavon beat Justen Glad to a loose ball on the touchline and squared back to Ibrahimovic who side footed a powerful blast past Donny Toia to double the lead.
Nedum Onuoha was in the right place at the right time to redirect a header past Bingham late, but the Galaxy held on in stoppage time to secure a massive result.