Walker Zimmerman scored in the second minute of stoppage time off of a deflection to give LAFC a 2-1 win over Real Salt Lake.
With this win, LAFC sits atop of the Western Conference standings with 10 points through four matches played. This is also the second match this season where the black and gold found a match-winning goal in stoppage time.
Due to international call ups, Bob Bradley needed to make a few changes to his starting lineup. Andre Horta replaced Mark-Anthony Kaye in midfield, while Steven Beitashour returned to his left back position. Also, for the first time this season, Adama Diomande made a start at striker with the absence of Christian Ramirez, who is with the US Men’s National Team.
After LAFC lost in the wild card match of the MLS Cup Playoffs to RSL, there was tension right from the start. Three minutes in, Everton caught Diego Rossi with an extended arm around his neck. Then, the midfielder glanced back at Rossi, and the two clubs came together jawing at one another.
Latif Blessing, who wanted revenge more than anyone on LAFC, looked active in the opening quarter of an hour. In the 15th minute, he watched his shot curl way wide of Nick Rimando’s goal.
Four players went into Ismail Elfath’s book before the 25th minute. Two minutes later, Jordan Harvey nearly scored with a volley off of a Carlos Vela cross. Then, the Mexican international, Vela, forced Rimando to make a good stop on a free kick right before the half-hour mark.
RSL strike first
For all of his good work early in the math, Blessing gave away a penalty 32 minutes into proceedings. Damir Kreilach stepped up to the spot and sent Tyler Miller diving the wrong way.
With five minutes to go before halftime, the home side found the equalizing goal through Rossi. LAFC strung together a couple of nice passes that opened up the Salt Lake defense.
Blessing tried to thread a pass to Diomande in the box, but the pass was cut out. The ball deflected straight into the path of Rossi, who beat Rimando at the near post.
Only five minutes had gone by in the second half when Real Salt Lake thought they had scored a second goal. Sebastian Saucedo curled a low shot around Miller, but after review, it was deemed that he was in an offside position.
Zimmerman nearly had the go-ahead goal in the 73rd minute off of a corner from Vela. The center back scored all four of his goals last season off his head and almost got one after his attempt just went over the crossbar.
Real Salt Lake was reduced to 10 men in the 84th minute when Justin Portillo was shown a straight red card after only being on the pitch for nine minutes.
Zimmerman wins it late
In the second minute of stoppage time, Zimmerman found the winning goal for LAFC, not with his head, but with his right foot.
He stormed through midfield before getting a deflection off his attempt that spun past Rimando to seal all three points.
LAFC travel to the Avaya stadium next Saturday to take on the San Jose Earthquakes. Kickoff is set for 12:30 PM PST.