LOS ANGELES — Real Salt Lake was just moments away from a big road result in the City of Angels.
And with one stroke, Los Angeles FC took it down.
Walker Zimmerman scored the game winner in stoppage time, and LAFC rallied for a 2-1 win Saturday night over Real Salt Lake in a rivalry that is quickly becoming must-see television for the second-year franchise.
Diego Rossi added a goal for LAFC (3-0-1, 10 points), and Damir Kreilach scored from the penalty spot for Real Salt Lake (1-2-1, 4 points). LAFC moved to the top of the Western Conference with the result, staying unbeaten through the first four weeks of the season with a half-game lead on Seattle Sounders FC.
With the scored tied at 1-1 into the final minutes, Zimmerman laced up a scorcher from just outside the penalty box that gave the Angelenos a 2-1 lead in the second minute of stoppage time.
"I'm so proud of these guys," said RSL coach Mike Petke, whose team was out-shot 19-3 while only conceding two goals. "We started six homegrown tonight, and for them to step up, it took Vela and Rossi virtually out of the game.
"To have Zimmerman beat us, an American international, a center back having a shot from the top of the 18 — I’ll take that."
Real Salt Lake took a lead just after the half-hour mark, when Bofo Saucedo earned a penalty kick. Damir converted from the spot, and the visitors took a lead that lasted about five minutes.
That’s when Rossi careened into the box, picked off an errant pass, and slid it past RSL goalkeeper Nick Rimando to equalize in the 40th minute.
Rimando made four saves for Salt Lake, which faced more than a dozen shots and allowed seven shots on goal.
RSL played a physical game with 14 fouls, including four yellow cards and a straight red card to Justin Portillo just moments after the youngster debuted in relief of Tate Schmitt in the 75th minute.
Real Salt Lake set an MLS record by starting six homegrown players in a match that featured several absences, including Albert Rusnak with the Slovenian national team.
"They put in a great performance," Petke told team reporter Samantha Yarock. "Tate and Erik — I singled them out in the locker room — they are special players for the future, and they proved it tonight.
"This is one of the hardest places to play in the league, and to put in a performance like that was special. To see them step up like this is why we signed them."
Real Salt Lake moved to 1-3 all-time against the second-year franchise. But the win includes last season’s win in the opening round of the playoffs that knocked off LAFC and send the expansion side home earlier than expected.