VANCOUVER, B.C. (ABC4 Sports) – Damir Kreilach scored his first goal since last April to help visiting Real Salt Lake rally to a 2-1 victory over the Vancouver Whitecaps in both teams’ season opener on Saturday night.

Kreilach’s one-touch finish in the 72nd minute followed Justen Glad’s leveler three minutes prior and marked the completion of a long road back to full fitness following an injury-plagued 2022 campaign.

Kreilach, 33, scored a career-best 16 goals to lead Salt Lake in 2021, when it made an unlikely run to the Western Conference finals. He fought spine injuries for most of 2022, appearing in five games and starting only three, with none of those coming after mid-April.

Javain Brown headed in Julian Gressel’s free kick to give Vancouver the lead in the 24th minute of a match that pivoted drastically at halftime, with the Whitecaps in control before and RSL taking the directive after.

Vancouver goalkeeper Yohei Takaoka made five saves in his MLS debut, most of those coming during a stretch of six second-half minutes to keep his team in front.

But RSL eventually tied the game following a corner kick.

The ball cycled to Maikel Chang, who curled a left-footed inswinging cross toward the back post. As Takaoka stayed rooted to his line to defend against a redirection from a cluster of bodies in front of him, the ball sailed over all of them for Glad to slot in at the left post.

Kreilach’s goal came on another one-touch finish. Jefferson Savarino did a lot of the leg work down the left before cutting back against his defender and dragging a cross back toward the penalty spot.

That’s where Kreilach met it and guided a finish inside the far right post beyond Takaoka’s dive.

Vancouver manager Vanni Sartini made three substitutions after going behind, including sending on former RSL forward Sergio Cordova in the 77th minute. But the pressure in the late stages rarely translated into shots.

Real Salt Lake stays on the road to take on Seattle March 4th.