A brace from Real Salt Lake attacking midfielder Damir Kreilach led his side to a 4-0 victory over the Vancouver Whitecaps Wednesday evening at Rio Tinto Stadium.

Although the match was played at the home of RSL, the Whitecaps were officially the home team for the match with the Canadian side continuing to be based in the United States due to Canada's COVID-19 restrictions.

RSL began the match in stunning fashion, finding the back of the net in under a minute through attacking midfielder Kreilach. Whitecaps goalkeeper, Thomas Hasal, was beaten by a left footed strike from the Croatian with the 21-year-old goalkeeper caught out of position for the chipped finish.

The Whitecaps had a fantastic chance early on in the second half to find an equalizer through Deiber Caicedo, but the left winger's strike was wide of the net. The Whitecaps would go on to rue that chance, because minutes later Kreilach doubled RSL's lead. Justin Meram serviced a beautiful ball into the box and Kreilach's forehead met it on the six-yard-line.

Vancouver's efforts didn't stop there, though. They countered numerous times through the pace of Caicedo, Brian White and Cristian Dajome, producing multiple scoring opportunities over the final thirty minutes of the match, but the RSL defense remained resilient.

The Whitecaps' spirits were broken in the 72nd minute, however, when defender Javain Brown brought down Justin Meram in the box. RSL earned a penalty and attacker Albert Rusnak tucked the ball away neatly on the top left corner of the net from the penalty spot.

A late goal in 90+4 from RSL's Anderson Julio was the cherry on top, with the winger scoring his second of the season and adding to the goal tally on the night.

Goals

  • 1' - RSL - Kreilach | WATCH
  • 57' - RSL - Kreilach | WATCH
  • 72' - RSL - Rusnak (PK) | WATCH
  • 90+4 - RSL - Julio | WATCH

Three things

  • THE BIG PICTURE: RSL have had a tough past few weeks, but this is their second win over the Whitecaps this season and the second time they've put three goals past them. They have a tough match coming up next against an in-form LAFC Side, but with Damir Kreilach putting up MVP-esque numbers, it'd be unwise to count them out. They are looking like a real Western Conference dark horse right now, and if they can keep putting up these sort of performances at Rio Tinto Stadium, the road results should come with time. For Vancouver, their struggles continue. They are winless over their last eight matches, and their defense remains leaky. The attacking trio of White, Dajome and Caicedo is intriguing and full of blistering pace, but lacked a clinical edge on the evening.
  • MOMENT OF THE MATCH: Damir Kreilach's 57th minute strike. The Croatian secured a brace and ultimately ended any hopes of a comeback from the Whitecaps.
  • MAN OF THE MATCH: Damir Kreilach: tonight was a perfect example of why the Croatian can be so, so dangerous. It's back-to-back braces for the RSL No. 10 against the Whitecaps and if he can continue to put up numbers like these throughout the season, there's a real chance he could be considered for an MVP nomination. He now has 7 goals and three assists through 11 matches this season — that's nearly a goal or an assist every match.

Next up

  • VAN: Saturday, July 17 vs Los Angeles Galaxy | 10:00 pm ET | MLS Live on ESPN+
  • RSL: Saturday, July 17 at LAFC | 10:30pm ET | MLS Live on ESPN+