Miguel Berry scores late in stoppage time to seal Galaxy draw with Real Salt Lake

Miguel Berry admits the start of his first season with the Galaxy hasn’t gone the way he had hoped.

“I’ve played 11 games and having three shots is not ideal,” he said. “As a striker, you’re judged on goals obviously. And when you’re not scoring, it’s fair to judge.”

But he made up for all that Saturday when his first goal of the season, which came on the final touch of the game, gave the Galaxy a 2-2 draw with with Real Salt Lake before a sellout crowd of 25,220 at Dignity Health Sports Park. And it wasn’t just the timing of the goal, deep in stoppage time, or the significant of the goal, which brought the Galaxy all the way back from a two-goal first-half deficit, that made it stand out.

It was how Berry scored, sliding toward the goal, extending all of his 6-foot-3-inch frame to get his right foot on a perfect cross from Riqui Puig, taking the ball out of the grasp of RSL keeper Zac MacMath and deflecting it ever-so-slowly across the goal line.

“It’s obviously a great feeling as a team to have those moments and when you look back on your career and in your life, those are the moments that stick with you,” said Berry, who came off the bench in the 68th minute and got his first goal with the Galaxy 26 minutes later.

The late goal rescued a point for the Galaxy (5-2-5), who are unbeaten at home this season. It also marked the third time in 12 games the Galaxy have rallied from a two-goal deficit to earn at least a point.

“This group has shown that they believe they can score, they believe that they can get back into a game,” coach Greg Vanney said. “Different guys stepped up tonight, but I think the group has believed what they’re capable of. It’s just a matter of us emotionally managing those moments through the course of the game where there’s a little bit of adversity and sticking to the program and trusting ourselves.”

RSL ran out to a 2-0 first-half lead behind two goals from Cristian Arango 20 minutes apart. After being outshot 9-0 in the first 19 minutes, RSL made its first shot of the game count, with Arango beating defender Maya Yoshida to a high cross in the center of the box, then heading it past former LAFC teammate John McCarthy.

Arango beat McCarthy from the center of the box again in the 40th minute, this time with his right foot, one-timing home a nifty pass from Andrés Gómez. That goal was Arango’s 11th of the season, tying him with DC United’s Christian Benteke and Inter Miami’s Luis Suárez for the MLS lead.

Gabriel Pec pulled that back for the Galaxy after an RSL turnover 10 minutes into the second half. After winger Joseph Paintsil wound up with the loose ball, he sent it on to Puig, who dribbled across the top of the box before right-footing a soft feed in front of a hard-charging Pec on the left wing. Pec then deflected a low left-footed shot off MacMath to snap the team’s 269-minute scoreless streak dating to April 21.

After the goal, his third of the season, Pec lifted the bottom of his jersey to show a message on his white undershirt that dedicated the goal to the people of Rio Grande do Sul, his home state in southern Brazil, which has been devastated by recent floods.

But until the final seconds, the Galaxy could get no closer despite outshooting RSL 23-12 and taking 12 corners to RSL’s three. Berry said as he made his run toward the goal on the final play he saw MacMath come off his line and heard him call off a defender, intending to play the ball himself. Only Berry got there first.

“Maybe he didn’t see me,” Berry said. “I knew if I just make a run, I could get in there. I’m really happy to score and obviously we’ll take the point, given the situation.”

With the draw RSL (6-2-4) extended its MLS-best unbeaten streak to eight games and its lead atop the Western Conference table to two points over the Galaxy and Minnesota United (6-2-2).

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