RSL Defeats Houston 3-2 Before Electric Home Crowd

Utah Royals FC

July 4, 2024 – National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL)
Utah Royals FC News Release

SANDY, Utah – Real Salt Lake (11-3-7 / 40 points / T-1st West) returned to its winning ways with an electric 3-2 victory over familiar foe Houston Dynamo before 21,522 at America First Field, the third-highest attendance in the venue’s 15-year history. Elite MF Braian Ojeda’s first career MLS/RSL goal provided the game-winner on an assist from FW Andrés Gómez, whose goal and two assists see him ascend into the top 10 in both 2024 MLS.

Watch / Listen to RSL Head Coach Pablo Mastroeni, MF Diego Luna and MF Braian Ojeda following 3-2 home win over Houston Dynamo on Wed., July 3, 2024

Head Coach Pablo Mastroeni’s side, fresh off its second bye week of the season, conceded just eight minutes into the contest. The play started as a long pass from the Houston defense made it through a packed midfield and rolled onto the stride of Sebastian Kowalczyk down the left wing. While awaiting the underlapping run of Ibrahim Aliya into the box, he played an off-speed pass to Aliyu as he held off a marker and connected with a curling right-footed strike past the outstretched glove of RSL GK Zac MacMath and into the side netting.

Feeding off the standing-room only energy of the crowd, RSL roared back and nearly equalized in the 19th minute. As Houston built up through the midfield, midfielder Matt Crooks used his 6’6” frame to overpower the ball carrier and feed it to Captain Chicho Arango for a lightning-quick counter attack. Arango raced upfield and laid it off to Gómez, whistling down the right wing, his Colombian compatriot drawing two defenders before creating distance with a nasty fake shot and playing it back to Arango atop of the box. Winding up and ripping the one-time shot with his preferred right foot, Arango’s strike beat the goalkeeper but glanced off the crossbar and out of play.

Not to be denied, RSL turned its momentum into a 1-1 scoreline with a 22nd minute equalizer, Gómez collecting his 11th goal of 2024 (T-8 in MLS). In seemingly pedestrian run of play, DF Bode Hidalgo stepped up from the defensive line to head a ball forward through the midfield. As the pair of Houston center backs attempted to let it roll between them and into the box for their goalkeeper to collect, Gómez had other plans, flying at the ball as the ‘keeper desperately rushed out. Gómez would win the race though, splitting the defenders and beating Steve Clark to the ball by a millisecond to…

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