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RSL defender Erik Holt gets redemption, scores game-winner to help beat Vancouver Whitecaps 3-1

Defender Erik Holt scored the game-winner for his first MLS goal of his career.

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) Real Salt Lake defender Aaron Herrera (22) steals the ball as Vancouver Whitecaps defender Cristian Gutierrez (3) leaps over him, in MSL action between Real Salt Lake and the Vancouver Whitecaps at Rio Tinto Stadium, on Friday, June 18, 2021.

Sandy • Real Salt Lake defender Erik Holt had the chance to win a game a few weeks ago against Nashville SC with a late header. That one didn’t even sniff the goal.

But on Friday against the Vancouver Whitecaps, Holt had the opportunity for redemption on a similar play. This time his header found the frame and went in, securing the eventual 3-1 win.

“That last header against Nashville was killing me,” Holt said. “I’m just super happy just to help the team win and come on and just try to make a difference.

What was redemption for Holt was also a reversal of fortunes for RSL. Much like the last two games, the team scored first and then gave up the lead. But unlike the previous two games, RSL avoided the draw and actually came away with a win.

And it did so behind two goals scored in seven minutes of added time.

Holt put away his first goal in Major League Soccer and midfielder Damir Kreilach added two on the evening on assists from midfielder Albert Rusnák and forward Justin Meram.

Holt’s goal came in the 92nd minute. Defender Aaron Herrera delivered a long throw-in that found Holt’s head, and the defender directed it into the goal.

“I’m so excited for him [and] happy for him,” Juarez said of Holt.

Kreilach’s second goal came five minutes after Holt’s off a pinpoint cross from Meram.

RSL once again opened up the scoring, as it has done many times this season. Rusnák in the 43rd minute used his back heel to get the ball to Kreilach just inside the 18-yard box. Kreilach let it fly and scored.

Whitecaps forward Brian White scored the equalizer in the 54th minute from close range off Javain Brown’s cross. The crowd felt that White was offside, prompting a chant of “VAR, VAR,” which stands for Video Assistant Referee.

RSL had some chances in the first half. Close-range shots by Anderson Julio and Rusnák were both blocked by Vancouver defenders.

It was the first meeting between the teams this season. Vancouver was the road team Friday, but has played its home games at Rio Tinto Stadium and lived in Utah all season due to travel restrictions brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

RSL entered the game having drawn its last three games. In two of those, RSL led an early lead.

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