Walker Zimmerman celebrates winner - LAFC
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Zimmerman after scoring LAFC winner: I want the ball in those situations

Don't be surprised about the golazo LAFC centerback Walker Zimmerman laced past a rooted Nick Rimando to earn his side a 2-1 win over Real Salt Lake in stoppage time.

Zimmerman wasn't, at least. 

Despite being a center back who typically finds the scoresheet with his head on set pieces, Zimmerman was confident and decisive when he received a pass on the ground 20-yards from goal. It was just what he wanted.

"I've always had that mentality," Zimmerman said after the game. "I want to be the guy where I have the ball in the last seconds of the game. ... I love those moments, I love scoring goals, I love competing and winning."

The moment sent the Banc of California Stadium into a frenzy, much like Adama Diomande's stoppage-time winner against Sporting Kansas City to start the season. They would prefer not to leave it so late, but Zimmerman thinks that's a clear sign of improvement from last season's historic expansion season.

"It's certainly not by design that we want to give up goals and come from behind, but speaking about the mentality and resiliency of this group, last year we were on the other end of it," Zimmerman said. "Becoming better in these moments, learning how to fight back and learning how to win games late is huge for us.

"It makes it more fun, that's for sure," Zimmerman added with a laugh. "A little more stressful. Win's a win, three points are three points. This was a big game for us."

LAFC now have taken 10 points from a possible 12 to start the season and find themselves atop the Western Conference despite an opening schedule that saw the team play four playoff teams from last season. 

While the team hopes to be improving and chasing silverware this season, Zimmerman has noticed personal growth in all facets of his game since joining the club ahead of their inaugural season in 2018. He hopes his ascension will continue, as well. 

"I'm excited to be here, I'm excited that I've seen myself progress as a player, a leader and teammate," Zimmerman said. "The consistency in training has led to a lot of development. I feel good where I am, where this team is. The next step with me is to keep moving along, keep pushing forward, win trophies here and become a mainstay with the [US] national team."


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