Damir Kreilach scored two goals and assisted another as Real Salt Lake bounced No. 3 seed Los Angeles FC from the MLS Cup Playoffs in an entertaining 3-2 match at Banc of California Stadium on Friday.
One of Kreilach’s goals was straight out of “The Karate Kid,” a standing volley that called to mind Daniel LaRusso’s crane kick.
Danilo Silva and Christian Ramirez scored for Bob Bradley‘s LAFC, which goes down in its first playoff match.
Jefferson Savarino also netted for RSL, who will meet Sporting KC in the conference semifinals. Seattle and Portland will stage a Cascadia Derby in the other semi.
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The match started late, but the scoring arrived after just 20 minutes.
Former Liverpool academy man Brooks Lennon chased down a loose ball and sent an arrow cross to the penalty spot.
Kreilach settled the ball and had time to lash it home.
The lead lasted about 10 minutes, as LAFC leveled through Silva’s header of a Carlos Vela cross.
It stayed 1-1 into the break, but not much longer.
Lee Nguyen set up Ramirez for his goal in the 54th, with an answering coming from Kreilach within five minutes.
And, well, holy cow, guys and girls:
LAFC had a roller coaster of a Thursday and they didn’t even take the field.
First, news broke that starting midfielder Mark-Anthony Kaye would need ankle surgery, leaving him out for 4-6 months. The 23-year-old left the LA derby against the Galaxy in the 20th minute, with tears in his eyes after being fouled just outside the penalty area.
Kaye is a huge loss for LAFC, proving vital to the club in his first Major League Soccer season after coming over from USL club Louisville City. “He [Kaye] brings a little bit more range, a little bit more ability to get around the ball, a little bit of an ability to close down, win some balls in air, get into the box in both sides,” said manager Bob Bradley at training after news of the injury was announced. “All those things make him a little bit different.”
Bradley said he learned the extent of the injury at halftime of the eventual 2-2 draw with the Galaxy. Kaye had started all but one of LAFC’s 21 MLS matches this season, helping the side to a second-place spot in the Western Conference standings.
However, the club then signed Brazilian defender Danilo Silva, formerly of Brazilian club Internacional and Ukranian giants Dynamo Kiev. According to reports on social media, Silva has signed a one-year loan deal with LAFC from Internacional, with no loan fee and an option to buy. The 31-year-old was surplus to requirements at the Brazilian side, playing just two of their first 16 matches of the season. He has a bit of MLS experience, playing for the MetroStars way back in 2005.