Damir Kreilach is no doubt a prolific goal scorer.
Since joining the club in 2018, no one has scored more for Real Salt Lake than Kreilach, who has netted 40 goals in just 114 MLS regular season matches, with an additional four in the postseason. The Croatian’s signature rising headers and mind-bending karate kicks have become synonymous with the Club’s spiritual leader, continually finding the back of the net even in the tightest of spaces and most improbable of moments.
But during this 2021 campaign, Kreilach has risen to new goal-scoring heights. Last Saturday, Oct. 16 against Rocky Mountain Cup rival Colorado Rapids, he became the first player in Real Salt Lake history to score in five consecutive games, erasing a jointly held record set by club standouts Jeff Cunningham, Luis Silva and even all-time RSL scoring leader Alvaro Saborio.
Kreilach’s five-game scoring streak began on the pitch at Rio Tinto Stadium back on September 18. In typical fashion, Kreilach headed in a cross from Aaron Herrera, a goal that would prove to be the game-winner against Western Conference power Seattle Sounders in arguably the season’s most complete Claret-and-Cobalt victory.
The following week, Kreilach scored the lone goal for RSL at Portland Timbers, tapping in a loss ball in the box. Four days later he scored in his third straight game, once again heading in a cross, this time from fellow midfielder Albert Rusnák, en route to a dramatic 2-1 home win over LA Galaxy.
In RSL’s first-ever trip to Austin FC on October 2, Kreilach found the end of a short pass from Rubio Rubin and slotted the ball into the back of the net with his right foot, fulfilling his halftime prophecy to a mic’d up Pablo Mastroeni, telling the interim head coach “Yeah I’m exhausted, but I’ll score a goal I promise.” That goal halved the Austin lead and gave the Claret-and-Cobalt hope for the final 30 minutes of a grueling stretch of games prior to the team’s international break.
Finally, against the Rapids, in nearly identical fashion as his goal against Seattle, Kreilach rose up at the back post to head home a cross from Herrera, sparking the 3-1 victory and securing yet another Rocky Mountain Cup title for RSL.
Kreilach’s five goals in five consecutive games are part of his historic 14-goal season, still ongoing with five regular-season games remaining in the final 15 days of the 2021 MLS campaign.
The aforementioned Saborio currently holds the RSL record for most goals scored in a single season with 17, and with RSL controlling its destiny and looking to seize the opportunity to earn a 4-seed to potentially host an MLS Cup Playoff match, Kreilach could make history yet again, overtaking Saborio’s 2012 record.
Additionally, the dynamic midfielder and his “Swiss Army knife” positional flexibility enter the final stretch just two assists away from becoming the first-ever RSL player to reach double digits in both goals and assists in the Club’s 17-year history.