mls

Berry’s equalizer helps Galaxy draw Real Salt Lake

Jordon Kelley - The Sporting Tribune
LA Galaxy claimed a point after a late equalizing goal in a 2-2 draw with Real Salt Lake in a pivotal MLS Western Conference match

CARSON, Calif. — The Galaxy claimed points late after failing to capitalize on their opportunities most of the match, drawing 2-2 Saturday night with Real Salt Lake at Dignity Health Sports Park.

The Galaxy have gone three consecutive matches without a victory. They squandered a chance to claim first place in the MLS Western Conference and make a statement against the top team in the conference.

“Scoring a goal was not easy for us tonight,” Galaxy coach Greg Vanney said. “It was not our night when it came to that side of things. The amount of chances that we had over the course of the game was pretty significant.

“We weren’t able to execute at the right speed or put the ball in the right spot. But we stuck with it and got something out of it.”

The Galaxy started quickly, winning possession in the attacking half and creating chances. Forward Joseph Paintsil was tasked with finishing many of these early opportunities. However, he was repeatedly denied by Salt Lake goalkeeper Zac MacMath. 

“[Paintsil] was just really disappointed and disappointed that he let some chances fall,” Vanney said. “He felt like he let the group down because he had some chances, and I respect that.

“Whether it’s training or it’s a game he holds himself to a really high standard and expectation.”

Then, RSL punished the Galaxy for failing to capitalize in the 20th minute. RSL defender Alexandros Katranis delivered a cross to forward Cristian “Chicho” Arango, who put a well-placed header past goalkeeper John McCarthy. 

RSL doubled their lead 40 minutes into the match when forward Andres Gomez slipped a ball to middle of the box for Chicho, who scored. 

The Galaxy got one back in the 54th minute when forward Gabriel Pec scored a shot assisted by midfielder Riqui Puig. However, their failure to finish other looks kept them behind most of the night. 

Still, in the dying seconds of second-half stoppage time, forward Miguel Berry became a hero. Puig played a ball into the box and Berry slid toward the goal, beating MacMath and delivering the Galaxy an equalizer, 2-2. 

“Miguel [Berry] was able to get a step and a long leg in front of his man, and the keeper came,” Vanney said. “It was one of those balls. It’s a tweener.

“It’s a tough one to read, and Miguel was the first one to get in touch on it, and it found its way into the back of the net. The guys were working hard for it.”

Puig was a standout in the midfield against RSL, creating chances for his teammates. He played 90 minutes, took 112 touches, made 12 for 14 accurate long balls and ended with two assists. 

Vanney said the Galaxy’s next growth step comes in situations like the ones they faced against RSL. The team was somewhat frantic when they fell behind and could benefit from more composure. Vanney told his group to slow down instead of trying to “force things.” 

On a better night with better execution, we could have won this game on a bigger number,” Vanney said. “(RSL is) a good team, and they have some really good players.

“But with the amount of chances that we created, especially through the early portions of the game, this could have been a different feeling game.”

The Galaxy remained third in the Western Conference with the draw. They play Minnesota United on Wednesday.