KANSAS CITY, Kansas (Sunday, November 7, 2021) – Real Salt Lake (14-14-6, 48 points) clinch a berth into the Audi 2021 MLS Cup Playoffs with a goal in the closing seconds from Damir Kreilach to solidify a 1-0 win at Sporting Kansas City.
Kreilach’s 16th goal of the season secures the victory for the Club and 7th position in the postseason bracket.
The two sides battled back and forth in the first half, with most of the first 45 minutes being played out in the midfield. Interim Head Coach Pablo Mastroeni’s back four were able to thwart several potential offensive threats, with goalkeeper David Ochoa twice coming up big to maintain the clean sheet. RSL created some scoring opportunities, but the Club saw their chances bounce wide of goal and the two sides entered the locker room deadlocked 0-0 at the halftime break.
The second half saw both sides continue to fight for control of the match, equally splitting the possession. David Ochoa came up big, making three second-half saves to keep RSL’s postseason hopes alive. Approaching the end of regulation time Anderson Julio broke out down the middle of the field, laying off a pass to Albert Rusnak, but he saw his shot block and the ensuing shot soared over the crossbar.
In the final moments of extra time Real Salt Lake began pressuring Sporting’s goal, forcing goalkeeper Tim Melia to punch out several shots. However, in the final minute of the match, Melia punched out Aaron Herrera’s cross the the feet of Everton Luiz who attempted a shot that was redirected into the path of Justin Meram. Meram leaned back and bicycle-kicked the ball towards goal, and Kreilach stuck a foot out and directed it into the back of the net to secure the dramatic 1-0 victory and solidify a place in the postseason,
UP NEXT: Real Salt Lake will face the Seattle Sounders in the First round of the Audi 2021 MLS Cup Playoffs.
GOAL SCORING RUNDOWN:
RSL: Damir Kreilach (Justin Meram) 90+5th minute: In the final moment of the match RSL saw a series of shots punched away by Tim Melia, with the final punchout falling at the feet of Everton Luiz. Luiz’s shot was redirected in front of Meram who attempted a shot on goal with a bicycle kick which fell perfectly to Kreilach for his 16th goal of the season. Kreilach redirected the ball into the back of the net and put the game away, clinching a spot in the postseason.
- Marcelo Silva returns to the starting group for the first time since September 15 at San Jose. Silva suffered a quad injury in the 22nd minute on Sept. 15 and played the full 95+ minutes.
- Albert Rusnak surpassed the most minutes played in a single regular season by an RSL player in the 16th minute of this match, a record previously held by goalkeeper Nick Rimando.
Match: Real Salt Lake vs. Sporting Kansas City
Date: November 7, 2021
Venue: Children’s Mercy Park; Kansas City, Kansas
Weather: Clear and 70 degrees
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
Real Salt Lake 0 1 1
Sporting Kansas City 0 0 0
RSL: Damir Kreilach (Justin Meram) 90+5
Real Salt Lake (4-2-3-1): David Ochoa; Aaron Herrera, Justen Glad, Marcelo Silva, Andrew Brody; Everton Luiz, Pablo Ruiz (Justin Meram 71’), Jonathan Menendez (Bobby Wood 71’), Damir Kreilach, Albert Rusnak; Rubio Rubin (Anderson Julio 63’)
Subs not used: Zac MacMath, Ashton Morgan, Donny Toia, Nick Besler, Erik Holt, Maikel Chang
Sporting Kansas City (4-3-3): Tim Melia; Andreu Fontas, Graham Zusi, Nicolas Isimat-Mirin, Luis Martins; Remi Walter, Daniel Salloi, Roger Espinoza; Grayson Barber (Cameron Duke 83’), Jose Mauri (Ilie Sanchez 61’), Khiry Shelton
Subs not used: Roberto Puncec, Johnny Russell, John Pulskamp, Kaveh Rad, Wilson Harris, Jake Davis, Amadou Dia, Roberto Puncec
Stats Summary: RSL / SKC
Shots: 15/ 12
Shots on Goal: 3 / 4
Saves: 4 / 2
Corner Kicks: 0 / 1
Fouls: 12 / 12
SKC: Roger Espinoza (caution) 78’
RSL: Everton Luiz (caution) 86’
RSL: Aaron Herrera (caution) 90+3’
Referee: Ted Unkel
Assistant Referees: Ian Anderson, Corey Rockwell
4th Official: Jon Freemon
VAR: Younes Marrakchi
AVAR: Mike Kampmeinert