Damir Kreilach gets his goal, but RSL rallies to beat Vancouver

Real Salt Lake’s Anderson Julio and Alexandros Katranis both scored in the win.

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) The fans celebrate Real Salt Lake’s first goal of the game as they hosts the Colorado Rapids during an MLS soccer match in Sandy, Utah on Saturday, March 9, 2024.

It was a familiar story for Real Salt Lake.

A Damir Kreilach goal provided a spark that spurred RSL to a 2-1 victory.

Only this time the story had a twist.

Kreilach, now a member of the Vancouver Whitecaps, opened the scoring on Saturday night. Then RSL responded with an offensive onslaught — a relentless second half that saw defenders scramble and shots ping the post — before striker Anderson Julio and left back Alexandros Katranis ultimately found the back of the net.

In the center of it all for RSL was 17-year-old Fidel Barajas, who made his first start in Major League Soccer and provided assists on both of the team’s goals.

Kreilach scores against his former club

Damir Kreilach promised not to celebrate against his former team.

But he didn’t say anything about taking it easy on them.

The former Real Salt Lake captain scored his first goal as a member of the Vancouver Whitecaps, giving his new squad an early 1-0 lead over RSL on Saturday night.

Kreilach split two RSL defenders, Brayan Vera and Alexandros Katranis, with a perfectly timed run and then lifted a shot over goalkeeper Zach MacMath in the 33rd minute.

Kreilach scored 47 goals during six seasons with RSL.

After last season — one in which the Croatian saw his role greatly reduced — the club declined to pick up the 34-year-old’s option. But both the club and Kreilach expressed interest in negotiating a new deal.

Kreilach went on to sign with Vancouver, where he has appeared in all four of the Whitecaps’ games this season, starting in three of them.

Anderson Julio, 70th minute

Real Salt Lake turned up the pressure in the second half.

By the end of the game, RSL would take 21 shots to Vancouver’s 7. And after a series of close calls, the teenager Barajas slotted a pass to Julio for a 70th-minute equalizer.

Alexandros Katranis’ game-winner

In the 76th minute, Barajas took a touch and laid it off to the left back, who hit it first time and found the far corner.

RSL now has two wins, two defeats and a draw on the season.