MLS- Real Salt Lake

Juan Manuel Martinez's late equalizer sees RSL, Galaxy split points in thriller

Photo by Jeff Swinger/USA Today Sports

Photo by Jeff Swinger/USA Today Sports

Giovani dos Santos and Joao Plata went blow-for-blow, but it was Juan Manuel Martinez who landed the final punch.

Real Salt Lake and the LA Galaxy played to a thrilling 3-3 draw at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah, on Wednesday night after Martinez found a last-gasp equalizer in the 94th minute. The tying goal came with some help from Galaxy goalkeeper Brian Rowe, who allowed Martinez’s low roller to trickle under him and into the back of the net.

Martinez’s strike sent Real Salt Lake and its fans into a frenzy, as it capped a comeback from two goals down. The Galaxy were up, 3-1, midway through the second half thanks to a two-goal, one-assist performance from dos Santos, but Plata impressively cut the deficit in half with his second tally of the night in the 67th minute before playing the final ball to Martinez that was fired home.

Plata had scored earlier in the match to pull RSL level at 1-1. The diminutive forward struck in the 53rd minute via a penalty kick that he earned, but dos Santos reclaimed the lead for the Galaxy four minutes later with a low shot that stung off the post.

The Mexican attacker had put the Galaxy ahead early in the match with an assist to Emmanuel Boateng, but that was canceled out by Plata’s spot kick in a wild second half that saw five goals scored and the points split between the two Western Conference sides.


A strong case could be made for Giovani dos Santos here given his all-around contributions and the fact that he was playing for the road team. Joao Plata was slightly better, however. Plata earned the penalty kick that initially gave Real Salt Lake life by alertly chasing down a ball that Brian Rowe should have picked up. The Ecuadorian attacker once again gave his club a chance at getting a result by firing a rocket into the top corner of the net to trim the Galaxy’s lead to 3-2, and he then fed Juan Manuel Martinez for the last-second goal that completed the comeback.


A likely Goal of the Week candidate, Joao Plata’s second strike in the 67th minute was more than just a thing of beauty. His ability to blast a one-timed shot into the top corner with such force was certainly easy on the eyes, but, more importantly, it gave Real Salt Lake a reason to believe at a point in the game in which it seemed like the Galaxy were going to cruise to the finish line.


If the Galaxy had held on for a win, Jamison Olave would have been the top choice here. They didn’t, though, thanks to two terrible blunders from Brian Rowe. In what very well may have been his worst game of the season, Rowe first conceded a penalty kick when he fouled Joao Plata in the box after bafflingly refusing to pick the ball up and getting stripped of it by the RSL attacker. Rowe’s day only got worse in the game’s dying seconds, as he somehow could not get enough of the routine ball that ended up as the equalizer.

  • Gary Page

    Calling Dan Kennedy. Brian Rowe literally gave this match away. The first RSL goal was hands down the dumbest play I have ever seen a goalie make, and I’ve seen a lot of games. Here’s the situation. A cross goes in, about 7 yards outside the box, attacker and defender both go up and the ball pops up in the air and lands about 5 or 6 yards to the goal’s right. Rowe has enough time to get over there, watch the ball bounce right in front of him, bounce about as high as his shoulder and then lets it bounce again and tries to control it with his foot. A Galaxy defender is next to him, expecting him to pick up the ball, as does everyone else in the stadium. Instead, he tries to play it out with his foot and Plata then comes in and steals it and then Towe fouls him trying to get the ball back. It was a brain cramp of epic proportions. One of the biggest bonehead plays I have ever seen in any sport. Even if it hadn’t been headed, it clearly wasn’t a back pass, so he could have picked it up at any time. Then, the last goal literally rolled under both of his arms as he dived. He had enough time to stop it, but didn’t. One of the worst goal keeper performances I have ever seen. Unbelievable.


    • johnnyrazor

      That play made me laugh, it wasn’t the Min United guy throwing it into his own net, but it was pretty bad. Made even worse by Rowe wearing the headgear, but not strapping it on in anyway. I’m pretty its not very protective if it flops around or falls off every time you jump or dive. My best guess was he thought the ball was going to roll out, but I’m with you dive on it and take your goal kick.


  • josh

    Just weird. I have been a fan of Rowe, but his strength is consistency and decision making. He isn’t necessarily an incredible shot-stopper. But this is the second time this year that he has cost LAG 2 points with errors, and this was particularly bad. Consistency stops being considered a strength in times like this.

    But I don’t know if Kennedy is the solution. Arena hates keepers that disappoint him, so we may see a change. But Kennedy has looked tentative the few times he has seen the field. And that is worse than a couple of glaring mistakes within otherwise solid play.


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