SANDY, Utah (ABC4 Sports) – Missing some of its top attacking players, Real Salt Lake found just enough firepower to beat San Jose Wednesday night, 1-0, to move into second place in the Western Conference standings.
Without Sam Johnson, Albert Rusnak and Corey Baird, who were still away for the international break, Damir Kreilach found the back of the net on a header off a crossing pass from Brooks Lennon in the 75th minute to give RSL the victory.
“As I said, it was frustrating because I missed before this chance three or four good chances,” said Kreilach, who scored his 5th goal of the season. “At the end, it was in the goal. But we as a team did today very well and we deserved to take three points.”
“Real good attackers and people that have a true desire to score goals, it doesn’t matter which ones they miss because they always come back and have another chance,” said RSL defender Needum Onuoha. “It’s just another example today that he’s one of the top strikers in this league.”
Nick Rimando made three saves to notch his 153rd career shutout for RSL.
With the win, RSL (14-11-4) moves into second place with 46 points with five games remaining. The top seven teams make the playoffs, while the top four teams hosting first round playoff games.
San Jose had its best scoring chance in the first when Christian Espinoza broke free in the box, but was denied by a sprawling kick save by Rimando.
RSL almost broke the scoreless tie later in the first half when Kreilach’s header was kicked away by Daniel Vega.
“I think it shows the true character of the group,” said RSL assistant coach Tyrone Marshall. “We face a lot of adversity throughout the season and the guys have all just stepped up.”
Real Salt Lake had 12 total shots, six on goal, while San Jose put three of its nine shots on frame.
RSL next plays at Minnesota United Sunday at 3:30 p.m.