SANDY, Utah (ABC4 Sports) – Real Salt Lake got back to its winning ways at home, and solidified its playoff standing.
Damir Kreilach scored two goals as RSL held off the Chicago Fire at Rio Tinto Stadium Saturday night, 2-1. The win snapped a 3-game winless streak and kept RSL above the playoff line in 6th place in the Western Conference with 34 points (10-9-4).
“Tonight was very important for us.,” Kreilach said. “It was a great performance from the whole team and we deserved to win. In the end, it’s not so important who scores or who plays, we’re one team and we’d like to make the playoffs. That is our goal and we have to keep going in our next game versus Montreal to get three points.”
After battling to a scoreless draw for the first 45 minutes, RSL struck in stoppage time as Kreilach headed in Jefferson Savarino’s crossing pass to give the home team a 1-0 lead at the break.
The Fire leveled the match early in the second half as German superstar Bastian Schweinsteiger fired a blast past Nick Rimando in the 48th minute.
RSL thought it had taken the lead later in the half when Savarino’s sliding shot found the the back of the net, but Savarino was just offside.
However, Real did re-take the lead in the 75th minute as Joao Plata centered a perfect pass to Kreilach, who booted in his second goal of the game, tying him for the team lead with six goals on the season.
“We talked a lot this week about where we are in the standings, how many points are left up for grabs and how many points we think we need,” said head coach Mike Petke, who returned from a two-game suspension. “It’s a credit to this group that we’ve been in the playoff picture for three months now. We’ve been above the line, but we need to stay there. The guys are at the point in the season right now where it’s starting to get crunch time. Not that they didn’t realize before but they are really starting to realize now that time is precious in the last twelve games and we have to make the most of it.”
RSL put 10 shots on goal compared to just 4 for Chicago. Rimando made three saves to earn the victory.
Real Salt Lake next hosts Montreal Saturday at 8:00 p.m.