Postgame Notes: LA vs RSL

Galaxy advance to MLS Cup final with 3-1 win over RSL

donovan_RSL

Photo Credit: 
Robert Mora / LAGalaxy.com

LA Galaxy 3, Real Salt Lake 1

Western Conference Championship

Sunday, November 6, 2011

The Home Depot Center – Carson, Calif.

Scoring Summary:

LA – Landon Donovan 2 (Penalty Kick) 23’

RSL – Alvaro Saborio 3 (Jamison Olave 1, Javier Morales 3) 25’

LA – Mike Magee 3 (David Beckham 3, Robbie Keane 1) 58’

LA – Robbie Keane 1 (Landon Donovan 1) 68’

Misconduct Summary:

LA – Juninho (Yellow Card) 56’

RSL – Javier Morales (Yellow Card) 70’

LA – Sean Franklin (Yellow Card) 93+

Lineups:

LA Galaxy: Josh Saunders; Sean Franklin, A.J. DeLaGarza, Omar Gonzalez, Todd Dunivant; Landon Donovan©, David Beckham (Michael Stephens 93+), Juninho, Mike Magee; Chad Barrett (Chris Birchall 63’), Robbie Keane.

Subs Not Used: Donovan Ricketts, Dasan Robinson, Frankie Hejduk, Paolo Cardozo, Adam Cristman.

Real Salt LakeNick Rimando; Robbie Russell (Ned Grabavoy 70’), Jamison Olave (Tony Beltran 82’), Chris Schuler, Chris Wingert; Kyle Beckerman, Andy Williams (Luis Gil 75’), Will Johnson, Javier Morales; Alvaro Saborio, Fabian Espindola.

Subs Not Used: Kyle Reynish, Nat Borchers, Yordany Alvarez, Paulo Araujo Jr.

Referee: Jorge Gonzalez

Referee’s Assistants: Greg Barkey and Jeff Hosking

4th Official: Andrew Chapin

NOTES:

  • With the win, the Galaxy have advanced to MLS Cup for the record seventh time. They will face the Houston Dynamo at The Home Depot Center in MLS Cup 2011 on Sunday, November 20. The Dynamo defeated Sporting Kansas City 2-0 to win the Eastern Conference Championship.
  • This was the third straight season in which the Galaxy hosted the Western Conference Championship. They beat Houston 2-0 in extra time in 2009 and then lost 3-0 to FC Dallas last season.
  • Since MLS went to a single game Conference Championship in 2003, LA have played in the Western Conference Championship five times, going 3-2-0 in those games.
  • This was the Galaxy’s 11th time playing in this round of the playoffs. They have now advanced past this round seven times.
  • Bruce Arena made one change to the team that beat New York 2-1 on Thursday in the second leg of their Western Conference Semifinal Series with Juninho returning in place of Chris Birchall. Juninho had missed that game while serving a one game suspension with Birchall playing the full 90 minutes in central midfield.
  • Birchall returned to the bench for the game, replacing Jovan Kirovski, who did not dress for the game.
  • The Galaxy were once again without Sean Alvarado, Gregg Berhalter, Bryan Jordan and Leonardo who all missed the game through injury.
  • Landon Donovan gave the Galaxy the Galaxy a 1-0 lead in the 23rd minute with a penalty kick.
  • The penalty was drawn when Andy Williams fouled Omar Gonzalez as he went up for a header in the box.
  • Both of Donovan’s goals so far in the postseason have come from penalty kicks.
  • Donovan is now 4-for-4 on penalties in the postseason, converting two in 2009 and two this season.
  • That goal was the 19th of his postseason career and ninth in a Galaxy uniform. He is now two goals shy of tying Carlos Ruiz for the club record for postseason goals.
  • Real Salt Lake equalized two minutes later when Alvaro Saborio headed the ball past Josh Saunders from close range, tying the score at 1-1.
  • The goal was the third of the playoffs for Saborio while Javier Morales collected his third assist of the playoffs on the goal. Jamison Olave was also credited with an assist.
  • Mike Magee scored the eventual game-winning goal in the 58th minute, heading home a David Beckham cross.
  • That goal was Magee’s third of the postseason and his 10th in all competitions for LA this season.
  • Beckham collected his third assist of the postseason on that goal, setting up all three of Magee’s goal.
  • Magee is now tied for the MLS postseason lead with three goals while Beckham’s three assists leave him tied for the most in the postseason.
  • Robbie Keane sealed the win with his first-ever postseason goal in the 68th minute, making the score 3-1.
  • Landon Donovan assisted on that goal for his first postseason assist since MLS Cup 2009, which was also against Real Salt Lake.
  • In two career postseason games against RSL, Mike Magee has two goals, while David Beckham has two assists and Landon Donovan has a goal and two assists.
  • Robbie Keane struck the post with a shot in the 32nd minute. He has now hit the post in all three playoff games that he has played for the Galaxy.
  • Keane had a game-high five shots in the game.
  • The three goals scored by LA were the most that they had scored in a single postseason game since the first leg of their Western Conference Semifinal Series against San Jose in 2005 when they won 3-1.
  • Mike Magee now has five postseason goals in his career, with all of them coming in a Galaxy uniform. Tonight’s goal was the first of those five to come in the second half.
  • Juninho and Sean Franklin were each booked in the game, though neither player will be forced to miss MLS Cup. Every player on the Galaxy roster, with the exception of Sean Alvarado and Leonardo, who are each on the Season Ending Injury List, will be eligible for that game.
  • Tonight’s game was the Galaxy’s tenth postseason game since the start of the 2009 season. Five Galaxy players; David Beckham, Landon Donovan, Sean Franklin, Omar Gonzalez and Mike Magee have started all 10 of those games with Donovan and Franklin playing every minute of all of those games.
  • Josh Saunders finished the game with three saves for his third postseason win.
  • If either the Galaxy or Houston can win MLS Cup in regulation or extra time, they will become the first team to go a perfect 4-0-0 in the postseason since MLS adopted the current playoff structure in 2003.
  • With the win, the Galaxy are now 18-0-5 at home this season, going 12-0-5 in the regular season, 3-0-0 in the CONCACAF Champions League, 1-0-0 in the U.S. Open Cup and now 2-0-0 in the MLS Cup Playoffs.
  • The attendance for today’s game was a 23,437.

QUOTES

LA Galaxy Head Coach Bruce Arena

On the result:
“Obviously, a great win. Two real good teams tonight. I think we saw a little bit of fatigue in the battle of two teams. It’s our third game in eight days. Salt Lake’s third in nine. It was really demanding on the players. I’m real proud of our guys, how they regrouped after each and every game. It didn’t seem like we got too many advantages by winning the Supporters’ Shield this year and getting on a plane. It’s just been really challenging. We’ve beaten two really good teams—New York and Salt Lake. Tonight, certainly wasn’t a perfect game. We scored some important goals. I think if any team needs two weeks off, it’s our team. Hopefully, we can get our group ready for the final. It’s not going to be easy. Houston’s a very good team; they smacked us around pretty good a couple of weeks ago. We know we are going to have to be at our very best if we are going to beat them.”

On Robbie Keane’s performance:
“There was concern that he may not recover from the injury. Robbie told me that he is a quick healer. He certainly came back in terrific fashion. I think he got stronger with each game. Great goal tonight, but he could have a few more. He’s really important to our team. That was an outstanding goal tonight. It was a great effort by our games, but I think that Salt Lake played very well.”

On Mike Magee’s performance:
“He’s scoring clutch goals. Maybe it’s the luck of the Irish. Mike’s played real well. I’m real happy for him. He’s scored some critical goals.”

On the team’s performance:
“Salt Lake threw an awful lot into the game. We thought as the game slowed down it would favor us. They had a fabulous effort the first half. I’d like to say they had to chase the game, but it didn’t take too long for them to get the equalizer. I thought they threw an awful lot into the game, and we told our guys… when this game slows down it will favor us. Some of the passing we had to get behind and create some chances. It was terrific. With Mike’s goal, that was the difference. The game settled down, slowed down. We took advantage of it.”

LA Galaxy Midfielder Landon Donovan

On the team’s performance:
“I’m real proud of the effort the guys put in all week. It was a tough week. Our guys did a great job and I thought we were excellent tonight.”

On playing Real Salt Lake:
“It’s a good team. The three games we played this week were the most difficult games we played all year. I thought tonight our energy was great. They had a number of chances. I thought it was a really good performance.”

On the second half:
“We could taste it. We know were that close. We had a few early looks. And David [Beckham] made another unbelievable play and Mike Magee had another fantastic finish. We knew at that point we were going to win the game.”

On attacking RSL:
“We knew that [Jamison] Olave would struggle. We knew that if he or [Nat] Borchers or both of them played they would be hindered. We wanted to get after them early and often. [Chris] Schuler did well, but he’s still inexperienced and this is as big a game has he played, so we wanted to put them under a lot of pressure and make them make decisions.”

LA Galaxy Midfielder Mike Magee

On the team’s attack:
“We knew obviously that [Chris] Schuler was the guy that hasn’t played, [Nat] Borchers was out and [Jamison] Olave was carrying a knock. We could have done a much better job finding Robbie [Keane] early on, but yeah, we were definitely trying to test them early on.”

On the difference in the second half:
“At halftime we realized we weren’t moving well. We weren’t playing as hard as we should be for a conference final. We just realized that we wanted more than we showed in the first half.”

On the pressure of winning MLS Cup:
“More pressure every game. We obviously set a goal to win MLS Cup, and it’s been three years running now. There is a lot of pressure on this next game.”

On scoring the second goal:
“David [Beckham] got the ball and whenever he gets it I try and get in front of the goal and he pretty much just banked it off of me.”

On the atmosphere at The Home Depot Center:
“We love playing here. The crowd has been fantastic for us as you can see tonight. We enjoy playing at home.”

LA Galaxy David Beckham

On the postgame locker room celebration:
“We know there’s one more game to go. So, we’re not getting carried away. We did that a couple of years ago and we paid for it, we didn’t win the MLS Cup final. Hopefully this will be something that we’re happy to win tonight but we know that we have one more game.”

On playing MLS Cup at The Home Depot Center:
“I think it’s special. When it was announced that the MLS Cup would be at The HDC, I said it would be great if we could make it. Now we’ve made it, now we want to win it, simple as that. Tonight is a special night for the fans, for the manager, for the management as well, because Tim Leiweke, Phil Anschutz, they put a lot behind this team and they got two teams that they own in the finals. So, it’s a special night for them, so congratulations to them, but as a team we need to be ready.”

On the strategy to attack Salt Lake directly:
“I think you have to go at teams like Salt Lake, like that, because they are very good going forward. They have an abundance of talent throughout their team so you have to go at them direct. We have to defend well, and that’s up to the back four and the midfield and Josh (Saunders) to perform, and all of them performed tonight. So, it’s a thing you have to do against good teams and tonight we came up against a good team again. It’s a great rivalry between us and Salt Lake, it has been for quite a few years, and it’s nice to get one over on them. The last couple of years they’ve had one over on us, so it’s a good night for us tonight.”

On Mike Magee:
“He’s on fire. His dad said to me the other night, ‘you keep finding his head’, and, he is right. Hopefully it continues. We got, obviously, one more game to go and hopefully it continues. Mike knows how to get into positions, at the right places at the right times, and he’s done that so far.”

LA Galaxy Forward Robbie Keane

On his goal:
“Two-one is never enough. So, it kind of came at a good time. The most important thing was getting the win and getting to the final.”

On how he is feeling physically:
“I feel good. A couple of chances, I hit the post, again. I think I said to you boys, last week, it take me two or three games to get sharp. I have to give full credit to the all the physios and the staff, Armando (Rivas) especially. He worked really hard on me to get me fit and came back a lot quicker than expected.”

On what allowed him to have so many scoring chances:
“Especially in the second half, when we got the second goal, of course they are going to open up, they have to go for the win. So, it opened up more in the second half than in the first half so we capitalized on that and lucky enough we got the third goal.”

On his goal:
“Yeah, it was important. I’ve only been back, this is three games in a week for me and it’s hard, I’ve been out for three-and-half weeks. But I will say, in three games you get your sharpness. And today I felt a lot sharper than I have in the last two games. So, I have two more games to look forward to with the Republic of Ireland, that’ll be five games in two weeks. It’s going to be tough but I’m looking forward to it.”

Real Salt Lake Head Coach Jason Kreis

On playing Jamison Olave:
“Nat felt a little hesitate about playing, so we chose to go with Olave. The plan was to push Jamison as long as we could. His big question mark was how long his muscle would last before just fatigue beyond the point of being able to help. The plan was to start Jamison to go as long as he could and then bring in Borchers for him. Obviously, when you are down a goal and pressing for things you don’t want to have to do that. That plan was, of course, made thinking positively that we would have a lead to protect.”

On the team’s attacking:
“I thought we were ok. It wasn’t our best night for sure. Difficult to do, but it’s always going to be difficult to do when you are away. When you are home, you have that little bit more confidence and maybe an extra outside back or two that are joining with your numbers. There are simpler options there. But tonight, probably not as much as I would have liked. It’s tough for me to see that when we hit the bar twice in that match. Once right before half time, once right after they scored their second goal. Either one of those go in and it’s a different night. Was it a night we didn’t attack well enough? Maybe, but we had chances to score and level the game, no doubt.”

On the result:
“Tonight’s game for me was a microcosm of the season. We had our disappointments; we had some moments of brilliance; we had some moments of averageness. So we are up, down, middle, but one thing that never changes that our guys fought and fought and fought. Even when they are down two goals, they are fighting. There is no quit in our guys and I’m extremely proud of what they did in this game and more proud of what they did in the season.”

Real Salt Lake Midfielder Kyle Beckerman

On tonight’s game:
“I think it was a game of storms. We put a little pressure on them, they put a little pressure on us, then we put a little pressure on them it seemed to go back and forth and back and forth and we are both creating some chances but like I said they finished more than we did.”

On shutting down David Beckham:
“For the most part I thought we did a good job. But obviously he whipped in a great ball for the second goal but I guess it wasn’t good enough.”

Real Salt Lake Forward Alvaro Saborio

[Translated from Spanish]

On the team’s performance:
“We needed to defend a little more and finish the chances we had. We didn’t beat them like we did earlier in the season but I am happy with our efforts tonight and proud of my teammates.”

On tonight’s game:
“I thought it was an open game. They took advantage of the opportunities they had and we hope they win the Cup.”

Real Salt Lake Midfielder Javier Morales

[Translated from Spanish]

On tonight’s game:
“We didn’t play our best game tonight. It was a close game. We tried to find a way to gain in advantage but we couldn’t find it. I played a really good first half. It was an even game. We had the opportunity to beat them with some of the chances we had. We hit the post and had two dangerous scoring chances. The Galaxy took advantage of the chances they had in the second half and they we playing with our desperation to find a goal to tie the game. We knew it was the only thing we had left and we were careless in the back and they took advantage of their chances.”

On the team’s performance:
“It wasn’t our best game but it was a game between two teams that are coming from playing three games in seven days. The game got a little complicated for us. The first half was very even but I think the difference was that they took advantage of their goal scoring opportunities. When they went up 2-1 we lost composure in the back and then we gave up another.”