Three Points: Shorthanded LA Galaxy earn 2-0 win over RSL

LA Galaxy Insider Adam Serrano’s Three Points to the LA Galaxy’s 2-0 win over Real Salt Lake

SANDY, Utah – LA Galaxy Insider Adam Serrano offers his Three Points to the short-handed LA Galaxy’s 2-0 victory over Real Salt Lake

RUGG AND ROWE SHINE IN FIRST PROFESSIONAL START

Injuries and international commitments cost the LA Galaxy several of their regulars, but the Galaxy did not miss a beat in their 2-0 victory over Real Salt Lake.

With Landon Donovan and Carlo Cudicini amongst a quartet of players ruled out due to injuries, head coach Bruce Arena opted to give Charlie Rugg and Brian Rowe their professional debuts. The match was the first time that LA had given two players their professional debuts since March 22, 2009 when A.J. DeLaGarza and Omar Gonzalez started LA’s 2-2 season opening draw with D.C. United.  Facing a tough opponent in a hostile environment, the pair responded beautifully.   

Paired up alongside fellow youngster Jack McBean, Rugg was active from the outset and found the back of the net in the 13th minute for his first goal as a pro. Before coming off in the 71st minute, Rugg brutalized the RSL defense and his physical play opened up space for the likes of Jack McBean and Mike Magee. Meanwhile, Rowe held up his end of the bargain as he looked commanding in the penalty area while making seven saves.

GALAXY DEFENSE STEPS UP WHEN NEEDED

The LA Galaxy jumped out to an early lead with two goals in the first 13 minutes and despite allowing Real Salt Lake to control possession, they did not crack in their 2-0 win at Rio Tinto Stadium.

Time and time again, LA were able to make last ditch clearances and tackles to limit RSL’s chances. Omar Gonzalez enjoyed another strong game marshaling LA’s back four as he cut down on attacking looks while marking RSL forward Olmes Garcia out of the match. It wasn’t limited to the back four as Mike Magee cleared a Kyle Beckerman shot off the line in the 80th minute to preserve the clean sheet.

And second-year goalkeeper Brian Rowe did his part too by making a series of saves in stoppage time including a pointblank stop of Devon Sandoval. The shutout was LA’s fourth of the regular season and fifth in all competitions and the first of Rowe’s professional career.

SABORIO SCRATCH HINDERS RSL ATTACK

The LA Galaxy were not the only team forced to play without a key contributor in attack as a late scratch claimed Alvaro Saborío, leading to dire consequences for the RSL offense.

Despite being placed in the initial starting XI, Saborío was unable to participate after suffering a left quadriceps injury in training on Friday, forcing diminutive speedster Joao Plata to go in his stead. Despite controlling possession throughout the game, the RSL offense struggled in the final third without the burly Costa Rican, leaving them to play without a true target forward and limiting the attacking options for RSL boss Jason Kreis. 

Matched up against the equally quick A.J. DeLaGarza, Plata was unable to use his speed to find holes behind the Galaxy defense leading to his substitution in the 63rd minute. In his place, Kreis opted for a larger target in rookie Devon Sandoval, but the rookie was unable to generate much in the final half hour against a sturdy LA back four.

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