LOS ANGELES — Walker Zimmerman's stoppage-time goal was just enough to give Los Angeles Football Club a 2-1 victory.
Shorthanded Real Salt Lake nearly held on for a point despite being outshot 19-3 Saturday night at Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles. With the victory, LAFC (3-0-1) stays undefeated while RSL falls to 1-2-1 on the season after two straight losses.
Zimmerman's 90th-minute blast deflected off of RSL defender Erik Holt's face and by the wrong-footed Nick Rimando. LAFC also had 11 corners to RSL's zero and also had 68 percent of the possession.
"It was a good fight, we did a lot of good work," Real captain Kyle Beckerman told KYMU-TV after the game. "We're going to learn a lot; maybe we'll come back here and do what we did last year."
RSL took a 1-0 lead after Latif Blessing tripped up Sebastian Saucedo inside the penalty area. Saucedo gave the LAFC defense the most trouble in the early going as the penalty was the fourth foul suffered by the Park City native.
Damir Kreilach, who scored the karate-style goal during last year's playoffs, calmly sent Los Angeles' goalkeeper Tyler Miller the wrong way in the 35th minute to score against LAFC again.
The home side equalized just five minutes later when Diego Rossi pounced on a poor RSL clearance and crushed the ball past Rimando.
Saucedo appeared to give RSL the lead in the second half by striking a loose ball after Kreilach's shot was blocked in the 49th minute. This goal, however, was waived off after VAR deemed that Saucedo was offside when the initial shot was taken.
Saucedo eventually had to leave the game due to injury. Nick Besler replaced him in the 68th minute.
Rimando came up with five saves, including a big one in the 29th minute to deny Carlos Vela’s bending free kick. It was the RSL keeper’s first save of the day and it took a lot of strength to push over the bar.
The match, which featured two teams that locked horns during last season's MLS Cup playoffs, was a contentious one. Referee Ismail Elfath handed out seven yellow cards, including four in the first 24 minutes, and a red card to RSL's Justin Portillo.
Missing seven players due to injury, suspension and international duty, RSL head coach Mike Petke was forced to send out a makeshift lineup. Striker Tate Schmitt and Holt made their Major League Soccer debuts. Schmitt, who played college ball at UCLA, gave way to another new Real player, Portillo. Holt and Schmitt are both "homegrown" players who trained at RSL's academy in Arizona, which has since been relocated to Herriman.Comment on this story
Portillo's debut only lasted nine minutes as he was ejected for using his elbow to stop Rossi from chasing a ball down the touchline.
MONARCHS WIN: Real Monarchs SLC head coach Martin Vasquez got his first victory on Saturday.
The Monarchs, who also have two draws on the season, crushed LA Galaxy II 5-0 when shots by Ricardo Avila, Maikel Chang, Lionel Abate Etoundi and Steve Jasso all found the back of the net.
“Definitely it’s a good feeling," Vasquez said. "Hopefully the first of many this year. Credit to the team. Credit for what we’ve been working on during the week."