LA Galaxy pleased with performance in gritty road draw with Real Salt Lake

Keane after RSL 1-1 draw: “Last year, we probably would have lost that game.”

SANDY, Utah –Every season has to start somewhere.  

Robbie Keane tallied as the LA Galaxy earned a 1-1 draw against Real Salt Lake on Saturday afternoon at Rio Tinto Stadium to give the team their first MLS point of the 2014 season. Despite falling behind in the opening half, the Galaxy clawed back into the match after Keane’s finish in what was an incredibly physical contest.

After struggling mightily in 2013 when going down a goal, the Galaxy’s captain was pleased with the team’s ability to fight back.

“It was a good team performance. Especially when you go a goal down and to come back in the manner that we did to dominate the game in most parts,” said Keane. “Maybe last year, we probably would have lost that game. Going on the road, you don’t have to win every game even though you certainly would like to, if it’s not the case, you have to make sure that you come away with something.”

Against Salt Lake, Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena opted for a midfield diamond formation that placed Juninho and Landon Donovan in the center of the park while Baggio Husidic and Stefan Ishizaki manned the wings.  With numbers crowded in the midfield, the Galaxy negated Salt Lake’s offensive options as RSL managed just two shots on frame during the contest.

Although the match was sloppy at times, LA was pleased with their ability to slow down Salt Lake’s attack.

“They do a really good job of putting numbers in the midfield and we wanted to match that,” said Landon Donovan. “We wanted to make Beckerman deal with me and while I think that I think that I could of done a better job, we did a good job of neutralizing them and that’s what you want to do when you play here.” 

Following their second match in less than a month against their Western Conference rival, the Galaxy will now head into a bye week that will see the team rest until their April 6 road match against Chivas USA. The off week could not come any sooner for LA as they leave the Wasatch Front banged up after defenders James Riley (left knee injury) and A.J. DeLaGarza (contusion) suffered injuries.

With more than a full week to prepare for los Rojiblancos, Donovan believes LA will be a rejuvenated side ready for their 2014 MLS push once they suit up again in April.

“We’ve had a little choppy start to the season with the way that the games have gone,” said Donovan. “We played a game then another three days later and then another six days later, so we haven’t had a proper week of training to prepare for any of these games.

“It’ll be nice to first, get some rest and then have some time to train together to get ready for a game against a much-improved Chivas team.”

Adam Serrano is the LA Galaxy Insider. Read his blog at LAGalaxy.com/insider and contact him at LAGalaxyInsider@Gmail.com