RSL Tops Whitecaps With Two Goals in Stoppage Time


Jack Gambassi

Real Salt Lake forward Rubio Rubin (14) in the game vs. the Vancouver Whitecaps at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah on June 18, 2021. (Photo by Jack Gambassi | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

By Brian Preece, Sports Writer


Why do we watch sports? Is it to vicariously recapture our glory days or for the competition? Possibly just to circumvent the everyday monotony of life and escape, if only for an hour or two?

For me, it’s because sports give me the opportunity to experience the highs and lows of human emotion on a near-daily basis. For many of us, our favorite teams are capable of eliciting anger, sadness, rage and elation all in the course of a half, game or season. On Friday night, Real Salt Lake put their fans through the gamut of emotions

With 20 days off since their last match and looking to snap a four-game winless streak, RSL (2-1-3, 9 points) welcomed in their Rio Tinto Stadium tenant for 2021, the Vancouver Whitecaps (2-4-1, 7 points), after Canada’s Coronavirus restrictions forced Vancouver to seek a new stadium for the 2021 season. Vancouver was hoping to put an end to their own three-game losing streak, which has seen them fall near the bottom of the Western Conference standings

After struggling to finish scoring chances in their previous games, RSL picked up the first goal of the match on a 43rd minute Damir Kreilach shot from outside the top box, assisted by Albert Rusnák with a back-heel pass that created the opening. 

In a near identical script to their last game, RSL’s defense gave up a game tying second half goal; this time, Brian White scored his 16th career MLS goal just nine minutes into the second half on an assist from Javian Brown. The difference this time? RSL had an answer.

As the clock dwindled and fans grew anxious, both teams threw players toward the net on offensive advances in an effort to pick up a late goal and possibly steal the match. After 90 minutes, still tied up at 1, the match entered stoppage time and that’s when things really got exciting for the claret and cobalt.

In the 92nd minute, Aaron Herrera grabbed his fourth assist of the season on a throw-in that Erik Holt deposited into the back of the net for his first career MLS goal and, more importantly, a 2-1 lead for RSL.

Interviewed after the game, Holt said of his game winning goal, “I’m just so happy to score for the team, and just so happy that we won.”

Not satisfied to end the match there, RSL continued to push their offense forward as stoppage time wound down. RSL benefited from this strategy in the 95th minute when Kreilach (5) scored the brace, his second goal of the match on a diving header on a pass off the right foot of Justin Meram. 

All told, RSL ended the game trailing Vancouver 13-10 in the shots department, but vastly exceeded the quality of Vancouver’s attempts with a 6-2 on target advantage. RSL maintained over 59% of possession in the match thanks to an 85% passing accuracy. 

Up next, Real Salt Lake will face Seattle Sounders FC on Wednesday, June 23 at 8:00 p.m. MDT at Lumen Field. Their next home match will be on Saturday, June 26 as the Houston Dynamo come to the RioT.


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