Pregame Notes: Real Salt Lake vs LA Galaxy
A pair of Western Conference clubs who have developed a bit of a rivalry over the recent past meet Saturday evening at Rio Tinto Stadium as Real Salt Lake take on the LA Galaxy. Real won their second consecutive home game last time out, defeating Chivas USA 1-0. The Galaxy returned to their winning ways as well, knocking off Sporting Kansas City 2-0 at The Home Depot Center.
REFEREE: Edvin Jurisevic. AR1 (bench): Joe Fletcher; AR2 (opposite): Brian Poeschel; 4th: Tyler Ploeger
MLS Career: 56 games; FC/gm: 22.6; Y/gm: 3.5; R: 4; pens: 7
DISABLED LIST: none
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: none
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: LA: Marcelo Sarvas
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: LA: Oscar Sorto (U.S. U-20)
ALL-TIME (22 meetings): Real 9 wins, 38 goals … Galaxy 8 wins, 33 goals … Ties 5
AT SALT LAKE (10 meetings): Real 4 wins, 19 goals … Galaxy 2 wins, 15 goals … Ties 4
RETURN MATCHES: 6/8: Real Salt Lake vs. LA Galaxy, 7:30 p.m. MT; 8/17: LA Galaxy vs. Real Salt Lake, 7:30 p.m. PT
LAST YEAR (MLS):
3/10: LA 1, RSL 3 (Buddle 71 – own goal 73; Morales 80; Espindola 85)
6/20: RSL 2, LA 3 (Beckerman 9; Saborio 24 – Donovan 29, 68; Magee 50)
10/6: LA 1, RSL 2 (Keane 17 – Espindola 25, 28)
- The visiting team won all three meetings a season ago. RSL won on both trips to The Home Depot Center to take on the Galaxy, while LA won on their lone visit to Rio Tinto Stadium. They were the first road victories in the series since 2009.
- Last year’s win at Rio Tinto Stadium was the first for the Galaxy in Utah since a 3-2 win at Rice-Eccles Stadium on April 29, 2006.
- The Galaxy claimed a 3-1 victory over Real in the 2011 Western Conference Championship at The Home Depot Center. It’s also a rematch of MLS Cup 2009 in Seattle, dramatically won by Real Salt Lake on penalty kicks after a 1-1 draw through 120 minutes.
- Coaches record: Jason Kreis vs. LA: P14 W6 L4 D4 … Bruce Arena v RSL: P13 W4 L5 D4
The LA Galaxy returned home and returned to their winning ways, stopping Sporting Kansas City with a 2-0 victory on Saturday evening at The Home Depot Center. The Galaxy are in a tie for second place in the Western Conference with 11 points from 6 matches.
- The Galaxy opened the scoring and ended SKC's long shutout streak in the 27th minute. Marcelo Sarvas won a loose ball in midfield and fed Landon Donovan for an open run down the left channel. Donovan took the ball into the box, eluded Aurélien Collin and slotted it into the middle, where Sarvas tapped it home.
- The Galaxy struck again on the counter in the 74th minute. Sarvas fed Robbie Keane a through ball from Galaxy territory, sending him all alone in behind the Sporting backline. He took the ball to the box and played it to the right for Donovan, who fired into an empty net.
- Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena made three changes to the team that lost 1-0 to FC Dallas in Frisco. Sean Franklin, Todd Dunivant and Robbie Keane all came into the team, in place of Leonardo, Greg Cochrane and Colin Clark.
- LA GALAXY (4-4-2): Carlo Cudicini - Sean Franklin, Omar Gonzalez, A.J. DeLaGarza, Todd Dunivant - Landon Donovan, Marcelo Sarvas, Juninho, Mike Magee - Jack McBean (Greg Cochrane 68), Robbie Keane.
WATCH: View from the Booth
- The Galaxy put an end to their brief two-game winless streak in league play. They have yet to win back-to-back games this season.
- “A more complete match for us, pretty solid over 90 minutes, obviously not perfect but I think we haven’t closed out games the right way in the last 10-15 minutes of games,” said Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena.
- Making his second league start of the season, Landon Donovan recorded his first goal and first assist, setting up the first goal by Marcelo Sarvas, then providing the capper himself.
- “It was good,” Robbie Keane said. “Obviously, he set a goal up and he scored one. So it's not a bad day, is it? It's like anything. It always takes four or five games to get back in the swing of things. ... It doesn't matter how much fitness you do away from the team or on the training field, match sharpness is the one that's going to get you back up there. That's only going to come with playing 90 minutes most weeks.”
- Said Donovan: “I'm almost there. Just a little bit more sharpness, but I felt almost back to normal. I felt like I was very close to 100 percent tonight. Don't count the old guy out just yet. I still got a little bit more to give.”
- READ: Landon Donovan eager to get fit in time for Real Salt Lake
- The goal was the 125th of Donovan’s league career, his 93rd with the Galaxy. He sits third on the MLS all-time list, now nine goals behind all-time leader Jeff Cunningham.
- “I feel like I've been working my way back in,” Donovan said. “It's disappointing when you can't have the effect on the team you want to have and help the team the way you want to help. Tonight was actually nice to actually make a tangible impact, and that has to be sort of the goal now, from now forward. Bruce [Arena] has said many times: You're not judged on having time off, you're judged on how you're doing on the field. And it was nice to finally have an impact.”
- With Leonardo suspended, A.J. DeLaGarza shifted into central defense alongside Omar Gonzalez and Sean Franklin moved back to right back.
- “The backline that we sort of started with, with A.J., me, Todd and Sean, it's something that's always worked,” Gonzalez said. “We've kind of gotten away from that, with Leo and bringing Tommy [Meyer] in, but I feel like every time we go back to it, it's something that always really works.”
- READ: Familiar back four results in a shutout for the LA Galaxy over Sporting KC
- The Galaxy kept a clean sheet for the fourth time in 10 matches in all competitions this season.
- “That was our primary focus tonight, coming in and getting a shutout,” said Todd Dunivant, who returned to the team after a one-match absence. “We have [not] given up a lot of chances, but we’ve given up goals and that comes down to concentration and you kind of make your own luck so tonight we wanted to do that, and the backline and the whole team was very solid.”
- READ: LA Galaxy head to Utah for an early season test against Real Salt Lake
REAL SALT LAKE
Real Salt Lake returned home and won for a second consecutive match at Rio Tinto Stadium, holding out for a 1-0 victory against Chivas USA on Saturday evening. RSL sits in a tie for second place in the Western Conference with 11 points from 8 games.
- Chivas had a glorious opportunity in the 35th minute. From a corner kick, the ball deflected toward net and hit the arm of Ned Grabavoy in the box, and referee Jorge Gonzalez immediately pointed to the spot. But RSL goalkeeper Nick Rimando parried away Edgar Mejía's shot.
- The game's only goal came in the 53rd minute. Olmes García hit a ball forward into the right side of the box to Álvaro Saborío, who deftly chipped the ball to the middle. Javier Morales timed his run perfectly and headed the ball to the bottom-left corner of the net for his first goal since September 2012.
- RSL head coach Jason Kreis made two changes to the team that reached a 1-1 draw with Vancouver Whitecaps FC at BC Place. Yordany Alvarez came into the team in place of Kyle Beckerman, and Olmes Garcia started up top for Joao Plata.
- REAL SALT LAKE (4-1-3-2): Nick Rimando - Tony Beltran, Chris Schuler, Nat Borchers, Lovel Palmer - Yordany Alvarez - Luis Gil (Sebastian Velasquez 74), Javier Morales (Khari Stephenson 90), Ned Grabavoy - Olmes Garcia (Robbie Findley 63), Alvaro Saborio.
- Real won their second consecutive home match in starting a three-game homestand; they are 2-0-1 at Rio Tinto Stadium this season. RSL has not won back-to-back games this season.
- “We don’t want to chase three points too much, especially at home,” said goalkeeper Nick Rimando. “We have to keep on going, though. This is only one game out of a three game stretch. The goal is nine points, but I don’t think it’s out of our reach if we continue to play like this.”
- Making his second start of the season, Javier Morales scored his first goal of the season vs. Chivas USA. Morales had contributed an assist the week before in his first start after a preseason knee injury.
- “Awesome for him to come back after so many difficult injuries over the past couple of years and get his first start at home tonight to get the goal that wins the game for us is huge,” said RSL head coach Jason Kreis. “He also played quite a few nice passes, probably another night we score three or four and he has those assists.”
- For Morales, it was the first of his 21 league goals that he’s scored from a header. “That was a great [cross] for Sabo. I was in the box, and he just hit the spot, and I put the ball on the net, but I thank Sabo for that goal. [It was] my third one in my career. I don't have too many,”
- Newcomer Olmes García made his first MLS start and helped up the Morales goal, his first assist. He scored his first MLS goal as a substitute the week before in the 1-1 draw at Vancouver.
- For the 18th time in 59 penalty-kick attempts for his league career, Nick Rimando saw the shot fail. Two penalties against him have been missed in each of the last two seasons.
- “I kept on second guessing myself on PKs leading up to this one today. I kind of stuck to my guns and really committed to myself to go to my left. He kind of opened up early and I was there for the save,” said Rimando. Added Kreis: “Incredible moment from him… and that was a huge, huge moment for us because we had gained so much momentum in that first half. Lucky not to score and we would have really been in for a hard battle had it gone into the back of the net.”
- Real were also able to keep a clean sheet for the first time since opening the campaign with a 2-0 win at San Jose on March 2.
- “It was difficult. We did our homework, so we knew what to expect,” said fullback Tony Beltran. “The way they play is much more different than any other team in the MLS. It’s somewhat of a gamble. I think our shape was good and limited their chances. We knew we were going to expose them on the counter attack.”