Damir Kreilach might not have a set position for Real Salt Lake — he’s played the No. 6, the No. 8, the No. 10 and No. 9 — but assistant coach Tyrone Marshall has a new nickname for the Croatian dangerman following RSL’s 3-0 win over LAFC Wednesday night at Rio Tinto Stadium.
“He’s the LAFC killer for us," the former standout MLS center back said after RSL’s first regular-season win over their Western Conference rivals. "We’re going to ride him as much as we can because we need it."
Kreilach opened the scoring Wednesday night with a 9th-minute goal, heading in a cross from Maikel Chang at the edge of the six-yard box. His fourth goal against LAFC set the tone for what would be a decisive victory. Justin Meram and Albert Rusnak added second-half tallies for RSL, which bounced back from a 4-0 loss to Minnesota United Sunday and snapped a three-match winless streak.
GOAL: Damir Kreilach, Real Salt Lake - 9th minute
“I think those guys [LAFC] don’t like to play against Damir. They leave him open all the time in the box,” Marshall said. “They don’t realize he’s a goalscorer. Damir is a classy player. He has a knack for finding those free spots in the box. I think Maikel Chang played a perfect ball into him and he found that gap. Damir is just one of those players that comes around every 10 years. He does everything well for you.”
Kreilach’s most famous goal against LAFC, and the favorite of his career, came in the 2018 Audi MLS Cup Playoffs, a stunning karate-kick strike as part of a brace in a 3-2 Knockout Round win at Banc of California Stadium.
GOAL: Damir Kreilach karate kicks RSL's equalizer into the net