In 2018, LAFC enjoyed the best season an MLS expansion team has ever had -- up until the playoffs.
Five months after being stunned by Real Salt Lake, 3-2, in the Knockout Round, LAFC gained a measure of revenge by
beating RSL, 2-1, to remain unbeaten after four games in the 2019 season.
The unlikely hero was defender Walker Zimmerman
, whose own goal (off his face) gave RSL the upset victory
in the 2018 playoffs. He scored two minutes into stoppage time with a shot from outside the penalty area that deflected off Erik Holt
, one of a record six RSL academy players who started, and
curved away from RSL keeper Nick Rimando
The win was the second in stoppage time for unbeaten LAFC (3-0-1). It also beat Sporting KC, 2-1, in their opener on Adams
Zimmerman started both games for the USA in its winter friendlies and scored the second goal in the 3-0 win over Panama but wasn't picked for the March
friendlies by Gregg Berhalter
, who said he wanted to look at the three foreign-based defenders -- John Brooks
, Matt Miazga
and Omar Gonzalez
-- he brought in to join
The 6-foot-3 Zimmerman has scored 12 goals in his MLS career, but he is known for his ability in the air, not his feet.
“I want to be the guy where I
have the ball in my hands the last second of the game," he said afterwards. "I love those moments. I love scoring goals, and I love competing.”
RSL, which was missing four starters
who were suspended or on international duty, finished the game with 10 players after Justin Portillo
was red carded for wiping out Diego Rossi
just nine minutes into his MLS debut off