Following a two week international break, the Claret and Cobalt took the pitch once again Friday night to face the Western Conference’s 11th ranked Vancouver Whitecaps. Nicknamed the “Utah Derby”, the match was the first meeting between the two sides since Vancouver temporarily relocated to Utah in March due to the pandemic.
After struggling to find a full three-point outcome in its last few games, RSL scored two late goals in stoppage time to cruise to a 3-1 victory over the Whitecaps. Substitute Erik Holt scored the go-ahead goal in the 92nd minute and Damir Kreilach secured a brace with a goal in the 95th minute.
Here’s three takeaways from the crucial win for RSL:
Brace for Kreilach
The steady midfielder was true to form once again Friday night. After securing the opening goal on a right-footed shot from the top of the box in the 43rd minute, Kreilach put the game on ice when he got his head to a beautiful Justin Meram cross in the final minutes of the game to make the game 3-1.
The two goals gave Kreilach five on the season, three of which had been scored with his head inside the box.
Kreilach gave all the credit for his goals to his teammates for setting him up for his goals.
“Credit to the team at the end of the day,” Kreilach said. “It’s all about the team and we showed an overall good game today.”
Holt picks a good time to get his first
After 16 appearances, Holt picked up his first career MLS goal — and it came at the time when his squad needed it the most.
Over a half hour after Vancouver scored the equalizing goal to start the second half, Aaron Hererra heaved a deep throw-in toward Holt inside the box, and the center half was able to get a head on the ball and direct it just inside of the far post to make it 2-1, scoring what ended up being the game-winning goal.
This will go down in history books.— Real Salt Lake (@realsaltlake) June 19, 2021
Take a bow, Erik pic.twitter.com/4Ur3uQZGiv
The goal was even sweeter for Holt considering he couldn’t put a potentially game-winning goal on frame earlier in the season against Nashville.
“That last header against Nashville was killing me,” Holt said. “I’m just super happy to help the team win, and to come on and just try to make a difference. Super proud of the group and that we were able to get back to our winning ways at home.”
Feels good to finally come away with 3
Coming into the game, it had been 48 days since Real Salt Lake had been able to secure three points in a game. Friday’s win ended a four-game stretch that saw a loss and three draws for the Claret and Cobalt.
The win moves RSL into fifth place in the west through seven matches, an excellent position considering the troubles that it has had closing out its past handful of games.
Head coach Freddy Juarez said he thinks the win will be a defining one for the group going forward.
“I’m happy for the guys,” Juarez said. “This is one of those culture building, team building type of games where you do well and then the opponent responds, and you kind of get to a boxing match. It’s back and forth and it’s not pretty, but the response of the guys, that’s where you build and develop as a team. Now we know, there’s belief that if we get caught in moments like that we can still win a game.”