The image of Damir Kreilach scissor-kicking through the air as the ball floats its way into the back of the net has cemented itself as one of the most iconic moments on Real Salt Lake playoff history.
Each year more moments just like this one occur as teams rise to the occasion in their quest to lift MLS Cup.
Often times these moments are joined by groups of unsung heroes, and as Real Salt Lake gets ready to begin its Audi 2021 MLS Cup Playoff journey here are three players that may provide that added moment of magic to propel the team on to victory.
Mr. Dependable - Damir Kreilach. Kreilach is riding a record-setting season, having already scored 16 goals, the second most in a single season Club history. But perhaps more important is his habit of making something out of nothing in pressure-packed moments.
Currently, Kreilach leads Real Salt Lake in postseason goals, having scored four goals in five games, averaging a goal every 105 minutes, including his infamous karate kick against LAFC in 2018.
Since joining the Club in 2018 he has netted 11 game-winning goals and is fourth in the all-time goals scored with 42 goals. Across his career with RSL he has averaged a goal every 240 minutes, the third-most prolific goal scorer in team history, only behind Jeff Cunningham who averaged a goal every 158 minutes and Alvaro Saborio who scored every 156 minutes.
Next, RSL will look to experience to provide stability to shore up the defensive end.
Defender Aaron Herrera holds the title of the most experienced RSL mainstay when it comes to playoff matches, having played in every possible postseason minute since joining the Club as a Homegrown Player in 2018.
Herrera has started in five playoff matches, during which he recorded seven interceptions and helped his team earn a 2-2-1 record through that time. This season Herrera became a vital part of the attack, contributing a team-leading 11 assists while also scoring his first professional goal.
Finally, Justin Meram will look to provide an added spark and a level of experience on the pitch.
This season Meram has scored two goals and tallied three assists, but the impressive part about his offensive contributions are where they have happened. Four of his assists and one of his goals have been recorded while on the road, including three assists in 35 combined minutes against Dallas and Kansas City.
And last season one of his three goals and all three of his assists where recorded during road matches as well. With Round 1 against Seattle taking place on enemy territory, Meram’s success on the road will play a large contributing factor to the team’s overall success.
Think you know who might also be a game changer? Tune in to find out.
Real Salt Lake kicks off against Seattle Sounders FC at 8:30 p.m. MT on Tuesday, November 23 from Lumen Field. The match will be nationally broadcast on FS1 and Fox Deportes in the United States and TSN and TVA Sports in Canada. ESPN700 will carry the local English radio broadcast and Spanish-speaking fans can tune in on KBMG Latino 106.3, La Gran D 102.3 and KTUB 1600.