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RSL advances to semifinal, beats LAFC 3-2

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Damir Kreilach put on a show, scoring twice against a team RSL didn’t beat in the regular season.

MLS: Knockout Round-Real Salt Lake at Los Angeles FC Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

You make it into the playoffs, anything can happen.

That’s the mantra.

Against LAFC, anything did happen. After going ahead early in the match, going behind shortly after the second half kicked off, and going ahead late in the second half, RSL beat LAFC 3-2 in a match marred by supporter behavior.

Damir Kreilach — who else! — scored Real Salt Lake’s opener, receiving an immaculate cross from Brooks Lennon before burying RSL’s first opportunity of the match.

LAFC’s Danilo Silva scored an equalizer around the 30th minute, finishing a headed goal from a Carlos Vela free kick. It is worth noting that the free kick should perhaps have not been given, as Aaron Herrera had a fine tackle that referee Mark Geiger deemed a foul.

Further, the free kick was delayed while officials tried to assess the crowd; immediately following the goal, the match was suspended for five minutes. During the free kick, Nick Rimando was pelted with ice multiple times. The match resumed after the delay without further incident in the first half.

Christian Ramirez, who entered the match at the start of the second half, scored a go-ahead goal for LAFC in the 55th minute, scoring a well-placed goal from the edge of the box. It was poor defending all around from Real Salt Lake, who unsuccessfully attempted to play an offside trap, then failed to step to Ramirez before the shot.

Damir Kreilach equalized from likely the best goal he’s scored all season, his second of the night. The stunning goal came from outside the box with what can only be described as a beautiful crane kick scored by the most skillful crane in the whole world. That equalizer gave RSL new life.

It was the best response RSL could have hoped for, coming only four minutes after conceding and going down 2-1.

The 64th minute carried some drama: After a superb cross and head from LAFC that inched past the far post, Nick Rimando collided with Walker Zimmerman and stayed down for several minutes with apparent shoulder pain. He remained on the pitch.

Real Salt Lake scored a second go-ahead goal in the 68th minute, with Jefferson Savarino rebounding the ball off Walker Zimmerman’s head with a cross that ended up redirecting past LAFC goalkeeper Tyler Miller. It was a beautiful thing that gave RSL an insane 3-2 lead.

Inside the seven minutes of stoppage time, Luke Mulholland found himself smashed in the head by Walker Zimmerman’s foot. Some lengthy delay led to even more of the match being played, and, of course, there was the not-insignificant issue of LAFC fans throwing even more garbage on the field.

It was, as they say, one hell of a game.

Lineup

Real Salt Lake

Rimando
Lennon, Marcelo Silva, Onuoha, Herrera
Beckerman, Mulholland
Baird (Plata, 58’), Rusnak, Savarino (Sunny, 80’)
Kreilach

Bench: Putna, Glad, Sunny, Luis Silva, Saucedo, Besler, Plata

LAFC

Miller
Beitashour, Danilo Silva, Zimmerman, Harvey
Nguyen, Feilhaber (73’, Atuesta)
Blessing (76’ Kovar), Vela, Rossi
Diomande (45’ Ramirez)

Bench: Lopez, Jakovic, Moutinho, Kovar, Horta, Atuesta, Ramirez