Sep 1, 2018; Sandy, UT, USA; Real Salt Lake midfielder Damir Kreilach (6) congratulates midfielder Albert Rusnak (11) after his second half goal against the Los Angeles Galaxy at Rio Tinto Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports
SANDY, Utah — Here are three things we learned from Real Salt Lake’s 6-2 win Saturday against the LA Galaxy.
RSL is on a tear
Going down 1-0 in the opening minute can oftentimes be a trying thing to recover from. After RSL allowed a goal from Jonathan Dos Santos right from the get-go, things didn’t seem like they would go in the home team’s favor.
There’s certainly a different mindset in playing to win versus playing not to lose, and while RSL could have fallen victim to the latter, it instead kept its composure and didn’t just play to win, but played to dominate.
Real Salt Lake stuck to its game plan, and it attacked the Galaxy’s defense wherever it could, which eventually paid off.
In the 14th minute, Albert Rusnák evened things up, and in the final seconds of stoppage time, Damir Kreilach put the home squad up by one goal. Real went on to thrash the Galaxy in the second half en route to a 6-2 victory in what head coach Mike Petke thought was a solid 90 minutes of soccer. He was most excited about the fact that the team’s game plan came to fruition and that his players were sharing the ball.
Right before Kreilach scored his second goal the game, Rusnák was denied an opportunity to score one himself, but he got the ball back and kept his eye out for someone who would be in better position, and then Kreilach came sprinting in to notch another score for RSL.
“Albert is the one who has said over the last couple of weeks when we have our meetings, he’s spoken up and said ‘Guys, let’s be unselfish at times. Put the right people in the position to score a goal,’ and it’s stuff that we talk about a lot,” Petke said. “Right there, a lot of players would have tried to gone back and score, but he had his attempt, he did great to … win the ball back and put Damir in position to score.”
RSL has now scored 12 goals in two matches.
Kreilach finds innovative ways to score headers
Kreilach’s goal in first-half stoppage time was a thing of precision and beauty. Kreilach uses his head nearly 50 percent of the time to score — he has 10 goals this season and four of them have been headers — and he’s getting more inventive.
With possession of the ball in the box, he didn’t need anyone else to set him up for the perfect header as he did so himself. He chested the ball down to the ground, then kicked the ball back up and leaned in with his head to score Real Salt Lake’s second goal of the game.
It was the perfect boost of confidence for the home squad entering the locker room at the half, and Kreilach finished the match with a hat trick.
The duck was more of a star than Ibrahimovic
Game delays typically aren’t enjoyable, but when there is a loose animal on the pitch who refuses to go out of bounds, well, it’s pretty entertaining to say the least.
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) September 2, 2018
The players didn’t seem to mind the the duck and vice versa. While play was going on, the duck continued to take in its surroundings, while remaining completely oblivious to the action.
Eventually security contained the duck, but not after the duck teassed and toyed with them by temporarily running out of bounds, only to be determined to go back on the pitch. Its surprisingly speedy legs caused fans to cheer each time it alluded any person trying to capture it.
Sure fans cheered when Zlatan Ibrahimovic took off his jersey for a minute, but that duck stole the spotlight on Saturday night as Ibrahimovic was denied his 500th goal.