The last time LAFC got to face Real Salt Lake (RSL) they walked off the pitch at Banc of California Stadium with a loss. LAFC did not get to come back another day because that game, the first playoff game in team history, was a 3-2 loss that ended their inaugural season.
It’s with that bitter taste in their mouth that LAFC came into Saturday night’s matchup.
The game would be different for both teams as the international break meant LAFC was without four players and RSL was without six players from their roster including red card suspensions.
LAFC was looking to continue their strong start, meanwhile RSL was trying to forget the 5-0 drubbing they were handed by D.C. United last weekend.
The first half was marred by the chippy play of both teams, two scuffles broke out over time wasting, and each team collected two yellow cards before half-time.
LAFC controlled much of the first half possesing the ball 63-percent of the time and accumulating a passing accuracy of 87 percent. Despite that they gave up the first goal for the fourth straight game.
Latif Blessing clipped Sebastian Saucedo in the box and Damian Kreilach converted it in the 35th minute.
As in their previous games it didn’t take long for LAFC to erase the deficit. In the 40th minute Diego Rossi pounced on a rebound and was able to sneak the game-tying goal past Nick Rimando into the net.
The second half saw both teams looking for chances, but RSL seemed content to park the bus giving LAFC more chances to attack.
LAFC’s best chance to get the win came in the closing minutes when a red card to RSL’s Justin Portillo meant that RSL would finish the game with 10 men.
In the dying minutes of stoppage time, defender Walker Zimmerman got his foot on the ball and hit a shot that took a wicked dip; Rimando never saw it as it dropped into the net for a 2-1 lead.
With the win LAFC has taken 10 points from their first four games, putting them in the driver’s seat for a successful 2019 so far.
Zimmerman noted how much growth the team already has from last year, stating:
“We just need to learn how to win these type of games…the resiliency, the intensity, the mentality we’ve had in all of these games so far has been really positive and a big step from last year.”
For the players a measure of revenge and when asked about the stoppage time winner Zimmerman put it best:
“Makes it more fun.”
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