Real Salt Lake Extends Contract for Captain Damir Kreilach
March 23, 2023 - Major League Soccer (MLS) - Real Salt Lake News Release
HERRIMAN, Utah - Real Salt Lake has extended the contract for Captain and veteran Major League Soccer midfielder Damir Kreilach through the 2024 season. Fans are invited to celebrate Kreilach's continued presence representing the Claret-and-Cobalt by arriving early for Saturday's match at America First Field in Sandy, Utah; tickets remain available via www.RSL.com/tickets or by calling 844.Real.Tix. Gates open at 6:00 p.m. MT.
"First of all, on behalf of the team, I want to say huge thank you for fans' support as our 12th man," said Kreilach, expected to make RSL/MLS career start No. 127 Saturday. "Every single game, there is nothing nicer than playing at America First Field and having a sold-out stadium. Our fans show every season that everything is possible and huge respect to them. I'm grateful to have everyone on our side and to have our back in each year's ups-and-downs. All of us, we have responsibility to bring the quality on the field and at the end of the day to secure the results that everyone expects."
Kreilach, 33, returned to action for Real Salt Lake this year with a flair for the dramatic, scoring RSL's game-winning goal in the season opener at Vancouver following a disappointing 2022 that saw him appear in just five contests, scoring once. Kreilach's "Karate Kid" goal in the 2018 MLS Cup Playoffs at LAFC marks an iconic moment in RSL history, one of his four postseason goals in eight career playoff matches.
"We are thrilled to keep 'Dami' the player on the field in Salt Lake for several more years on an extended deal," Fall said. "And our Club is even more ecstatic to keep Damir the phenomenal leader and person attached to our organization for even longer."
Now in his sixth MLS campaign, Kreilach enters Saturday's home tilt with expansion St. Louis City SC with 126 MLS games and nearly 11,000 minutes played, the native of Vukovar, Croatia, ranking atop RSL's all-time league leaders in the following categories: goals (44 - 4th), assists (24 - 7th), game-winning goals (12 - 3rd), game-winning assists (8 - 4th), hat tricks (1 - t-2nd), multi-goal games (4 - t-3rd), shots (260 - 7th) and shots on goal (109 - 9th), amongst others.
Kreilach has captured the Club's golden boot in three seasons (2018, 2019, 2021) as RSL's leading goal-scorer, assuming the Captain's armband the last two seasons but always serving as an inspirational leader and the ultimate professional since his arrival on the Wasatch Front from Union Berlin (German Bundesliga 2) prior to the 2018 season.
A year ago, Kreilach established a bloc of season tickets earmarked for underserved communities in the SouthEast corner of what is now America First Field for Real Salt Lake home games. Kreilach's annual purchase is matched by both ownership and corporate contributions to create "Kreilach's Corner," which allows nearly 400+ children to attend each match who wouldn't otherwise have that opportunity. Each month during the season, Kreilach also leads the locker room on a local community service project.
Since the 2021 season, RSL has earned an 18W-9L-9T home record at what is now known as America First Field in Sandy, setting a new Club mark in 2022 with 17 sellout crowds in as many MLS contests at the suburban Salt Lake venue, which celebrates the 15th anniversary of its opening in October, 2023.
Last Fall, Real Salt Lake closed out its 18th MLS season, falling in the First Round of the 2022 Audi MLS Cup Playoffs via penalty-kick shootout tiebreaker at Austin FC. To qualify for the postseason, RSL earned four points in its final pair of contests to vault itself past Portland Timbers FC and capture the seventh and final Western Conference postseason seed, advancing to the postseason for the fourth time in five years, and for the 12th occasion in the last 15 seasons.
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