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May 19, 2024 12:10 am

Cristian Arango (2 goals), Real Salt Lake rally past Rapids 5-3

Real Salt Lake

Cristian Arango scored his MLS-leading 12th and 13th goals of the season, Andres Gomez added his sixth and seventh and host Real Salt Lake rallied to a 5-3 win over the Colorado Rapids on Saturday night.

Arango’s second-half leveler and Gomez’s go-ahead strike came in the 85th and 88th minutes, respectively, for Salt Lake (8-2-4, 28 points), which extended its unbeaten run to 10 matches and avenged an earlier 2-1 defeat to the Rapids in Utah in early March.

The Claret-and-Cobalt have won seven of those 10 and outscored opponents 21-9 over that stretch to climb to a four-point lead in the Western Conference table. They remain three points behind Miami nearing the season midpoint in the Supporters’ Shield race.

Anderson Julio added an insurance tally in second-half stoppage time and Arango provided his eighth assist on Gomez’s second goal of the night.

Rafael Navarro scored his team-leading eighth goal for Colorado (6-5-3, 21 points), which also held an early 2-0 lead before settling for a 2-2 tie at halftime. Cole Bassett added his fifth and Djordje Mihailovic’s third gave Colorado a 3-2 advantage early in the second half.

But after keeping clean sheets in two of their last three, the Rapids conceded five goals for the first time since a 5-1 loss to Houston last October. Salt Lake scored five or more for the first time since 2018.

And yet it took an instinctual play from Arango to turn the tide.

After the Rapids initially half-cleared a Salt Lake corner, Emeka Eneli took a shot from the edge of the penalty area that rattled the crossbar and bounded down in front of Zack Steffen’s goal.

Arango outmuscled two defenders to reach the loose ball and send his header across the line from close range to tie it at 3-3.

It was another failure to completely clear the danger that led to Gomez’s winner three minutes later. This time it was Gomez reaching the loose ball on the right side of the penalty area himself and playing a slick give-and-go with Arango, before driving a low finish past Steffen from a tight angle.

–Field Level Media

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