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Cristian Arango strikes against former team, Real Salt Lake edge LAFC

Cristian Arango scored against his former club in the 72nd minute to lift visiting Real Salt Lake to a stunning 1-0 victory over Los Angeles FC on Sunday night in a pivotal match for both teams’ playoff aspirations.

Arango’s sixth goal in 10 league appearances — set up by Rubio Rubin’s pinpoint cross — helped Real Salt Lake (13-11-7, 46 points) to a second consecutive win as they leaped above LAFC into second place in the Western Conference.

Zac MacMath made seven saves to record his eighth clean sheet of the season for RSL, who won for only the second time in 13 regular-season meetings with Los Angeles.

Defending MLS Cup champion LAFC (12-10-9, 45 points) were held scoreless for a third consecutive time in league play.

The result dropped Los Angeles to fourth in the West, a point behind Salt Lake and Seattle and not yet mathematically guaranteed one of the nine playoff spots in the conference with three matches remaining.

Arango scored 30 goals across portions of two seasons for LAFC but was sold to CF Pachuca in Mexico following Los Angeles’ 2022 MLS Cup-winning campaign.

Salt Lake then acquired Arango from Pachuca during the MLS secondary transfer window this summer.

He scored on his only dangerous chance of the evening, when Rubin — who had just entered the match — spotted him on a counterattack on an early cross from the right flank.

Arango did well to fade his run away from LAFC defender Jesus Murillo and toward the back post, then headed the ball past a diving Maxime Crepeau.

Afterward, Arango opted not to celebrate, as is often custom for players who score in front of their former home fans.

LAFC outshot Real Salt Lake 20-7 overall and 7-4 in efforts on target despite taking the loss.

Fittingly, the hosts came closest to equalizing on a shot that looked to be an intended cross, when MacMath reacted well to push Denis Bouanga’s inswinging service over the crossbar in second-half stoppage time.

–Field Level Media

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