Then it all fell apart.
Damir Kreilach hit a brace to tie and Jefferson Savarino connected on a shot that went right off Walker Zimmerman’s head and into the back of the net in the 69th minute to give RSL the stunning win.
Here are our five takeaways from the heartbreak:
LAFC fans, both local and abroad, saw this as a great chance for the first-year club to do some damage in the postseason. Real Salt Lake was probably the weakest team in the playoffs and LAFC was at home … so what could possibly go wrong?
Kreilach was on fire and his second goal was something of legend (we’ll get to that in a sec).
It wasn’t until late in the match – when LAFC had a stronger sense of urgency – that they started to pour on the pressure, but it was all for naught.
Okay, onto that goal...
Regardless of your fandom, that second goal by Kreilach was pretty awesome to see.
From the karate kick delivery – should have swept the leg – to the pinpoint placement outside the reach of Tyler Miller, it could likely be one of the best goals in the playoffs.
I’ll just leave this here:
Ramirez’s game is strong
Looking ahead to next season, when LAFC is facing Real Salt Lake, it might be a good idea to make sure Christian Ramirez is in the actual starting XI.
After coming on for Adama Diomande at halftime, Ramirez made the most of the opportunity and found the back of the net in the 54th minute.
It was a solid strike that should have been the game-winner. Oh, by the way, it was Ramirez’s third goal against RSL this season.
Oh Walker, oh Walker
I don’t know that I can lay a lot of blame on Walker Zimmerman for the ball careening off his head and past Tyler Miller to give RSL the win in the 69th minute but … really.
Zimmerman had been on fire of late – perhaps rising his stock for a deal overseas or for more money from the club – but regardless, he performed solidly in the latter part of the season.
I don’t even have the heart to show a replay of Savarino’s shot that went off Zimmerman’s head and ended the Black-and-Gold’s season.
A sour ending to a solid season
LAFC set several milestones this season, including amassing the most points of any inaugural MLS club in history.
We saw some great times and we saw some not-so-great times, but all-in-all it was a great season to be a fan of the Black-and-Gold.
That said, the ending of the match Thursday left much to be desired.
In the closing minutes of the match, some fans decided to revert to their old ways and resurrect a homophobic chant that had previously been decried by the club and supporter organizations.
Look, I get that it was a tough pill to swallow, but really? We need to act like we’ve been here before, because now, we can say that we have.
What do you think? Post your comment below!