Carson, Calif. • With one swing of Kyle Beckerman’s left foot, Real Salt Lake’s fate was changed.
Real Salt Lake pulled off a last-minute miracle thanks to its captain to take home a point in a 1-1 draw with the Los Angeles Galaxy on Saturday night, keeping RSL in the thick of the Western Conference playoff race.
After Saturday’s action, Houston is fifth in the West with 43 points. RSL is in sixth with 42 points, holding the tiebreaker over both FC Dallas and San Jose. Both FC Dallas and Houston have played one fewer game than RSL and San Jose.
“It just showed a lot of character in the team that we didn’t let down at all,” Beckerman said.
It all began with a free kick.
RSL winger Joao Plata lined up to take a direct free kick from outside the box in the fifth minute of stoppage time. His shot bent around the wall, and L.A. goalie Clement Diop knocked it away. The deflection bounced to RSL defender David Horst, who tapped the deflection behind to Beckerman, whose rocket went into the upper right corner of the net.
“It felt like we won tonight with a tie,” Real Salt Lake coach Mike Petke said.
RSL played with 10 men for the majority of the game, after Marcelo Silva was red-carded in the 14th minute upon video review for denial of an obvious goal scoring opportunity.
The play started with Galaxy captain Jermaine Jones cuting off a pass to gain possession for L.A. He pushed it forward to Giovani dos Santos, who turned with Silva on his back and only goalkeeper Nick Rimando between him and the net.
As dos Santos pivoted, Silva pushed off, pulling dos Santos backward while propelling himself forward to reach the loose ball. Silva dribbled across the box, and dos Santos threw up his arms. Referee Rubiel Vazquez blew his whistle and issued Silva a yellow card.
After a pause in play, Vazquez traced a rectangle in the air with both hands to signal a video review. After the review, he circumvented an arguing Luis Silva to show Marcelo Silva a red card.
With the man advantage, it was only a matter of time before L.A. — which hit the post or crossbar three times in the game — scored. It did so with a goal by Bradford Jamieson IV in the 41st minute.
Rafael Garcea settled a pass and tapped it back to Jones, who dribbled centrally before slotting a through ball to Jamieson in the box. At the near post, Jamieson’s shot went across the front of the goal, past a diving Nick Rimando and into the back of the net.
RSL was dealt another blow when winger Jefferson Savarino limped off the field in the 69th minute. RSL public relations said that Savarino had a sprained left ankle; Petke said after the game that there was no timeline for Savarino’s return.