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Meram rescues RSL in dramatic 2-1 turnaround in Dallas with Kreilach, Rusnak goals

Meram’s assists proved the differentiator.

MLS: Real Salt Lake at FC Dallas Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Real Salt Lake rescued a victory late against FC Dallas in dramatic fashion, with Albert Rusnak and Damir Kreilach scoring second-half goals for a 2-1 victory.

FC Dallas opened the scoring in the 20th minute, with defender Matt Hedges capitalizing on a very poor showing from David Ochoa to head a looping ball into the back of the net.

It was an inauspicious start to the match, especially given it followed a 1-0 loss to Chicago Fire. The first half continued in that vein, with RSL riding their luck throughout. Fortunately for the visitors, Dallas’s finishing was entirely suspect, and Dallas took the 1-0 lead into the locker room.

The 63rd minute saw what was arguably RSL’s best opportunity of the match, with Anderson Julio flicking a header on to Damir Kreilach, whose shot from roughly the penalty spot was deflected high. Maikel Chang had an opportunity parried away shortly thereafter, signaling RSL’s first real attacking forays of the night. Jonathan Menendez — playing in a highly unusual position for him at right wing back — later had a shot ping off the post during RSL’s 10 minutes of attacking dominance.

Justin Meram had RSL’s next opportunity of note shortly after replacing Maikel Chang in the lineup, with a mazy horizontal run leading to open space centrally, just outside the goal box. His shot hit the crossbar, rebounded off FC Dallas goalkeeper Jimmy Maurer before heading out for a wasted corner.

The 78th minute saw Damir Kreilach rescue a chance at points for RSL, getting in front of the defense on a Justin Meram cross for a typically smart finish. It was Kreilach’s 15th goal on the season.

Justin Meram’s impact continued apace, with a brilliant pass to Albert Rusnak leading to a go-ahead goal.

The win marked the first time Real Salt Lake has picked up points in 2021 after being in a losing position at halftime, and they certainly have the impact of Meram to thank.