Walker Zimmerman’s late dagger brought the win and the first place of the Western Conference to the Los Angeles FC. The home team defeated Real Salt Lake with 2-1, and made a mall payback for last year’s elimination from the MLS Cup playoffs.
It is something that the home fans were eager to see, and fortunately for them, LAFC’s boys delivered it.
But it wasn’t all easy for the hosts. This was a hard fought victory.
The game opened in a totally different direction. Real Salt Lake took the lead after 35 minutes of the play when Damir Kreilach converted a penalty.
Latif Blessing made a reckless tackle on Bofo Saucedo, who fell down in the LAFC’s box. Just five minutes later Diego Rossi leveled the score, erasing the tension from the stands.
After one incomplete pass between the two home team players, the ball deflected to Diego Rossi, who stormed into the box and fired a shot past Nick Rimando.
Nothing happened until the halftime, and the teams headed into the second half tied.
The hosts were dominating in the latter 45 minutes, but Rimando and RSL’s defense denied all their efforts. The 40-year old goalkeeper was amazing in front of his net, and he had several big saves during today’s match.
In almost every aspect of the game, the home team was much better than Real. They had 67% of the ball possession, and things are even more obvious when looking goal attempts 19-3 and shots on goal, 7-1.
Just to mention, the difference in corner kicks was 11-0 in LAFC’s favor.
— LA Soccer Nation (@lasoccernation) March 24, 2019
What might have helped the hosts, is Justin Portillo’s red card in the 84th minute of the game. Their excellent defense was vulnerable with one player fewer on the field.
But in the second minute of the injury time, Zimmerman scored one beauty from some 26 yards. His shot had stunned Rimando, who just watched the ball entering his net. For sure, much better goalkeepers couldn’t deny this one. The 26-year old’s hit was just too accurate.
Uo next, LAFC goes to Kansas to meet Sporting next Saturday, while Real Salt Lake meets with Dallas at home one day later.