All-time record: Regular-season series tied at 5-5-5, though RSL won when it mattered most, at MLS Cup ’09.
What's at stake?
The Galaxy have a chance for revenge over their MLS Cup ’09 loss to Real Salt Lake, when RSL stunned LA with a come-from-behind performance before winning it in a shootout. For the Galaxy, the match represents a chance to match history as a shutout would run the team’s season-opening shutout streak to four games, which has happened only one other time in league history.
At Qwest Field in late November, the Galaxy and RSL met for the league title. Mike Magee scored late in the first half but Robbie Findley equalized early in the second half. Donovan Ricketts was forced to leave the game with a hand injury but replacement Josh Saunders did well to keep RSL from scoring. The match went into penalties. Jovan Kirovski and Landon Donovan missed for the Galaxy while Kyle Beckerman and Andy Williams missed for RSL. After each team traded scores, Edson Buddle was stopped by Nick Rimando, and Robbie Russell gave RSL their first-ever MLS title afterward.
Landon Donovan’s first-ever game as a member of the Galaxy was against Real Salt Lake. On April 9, 2005, the Galaxy beat RSL 3-1 at Home Depot Center. Donovan was an instant contributor as he scored twice and set up another in the Galaxy’s rout [WATCH: Donovan buries RSL]. The match was Real Salt Lake’s second-ever road game.
Heroes & villains
Edson Buddle vs. Nick Rimando: RSL's keeper got the upper hand in this rivalry when last the two met. Buddle’s attempt on goal was the Galaxy’s seventh in their MLS Cup PK shootout. Rimando guessed correctly as he dived to his left and easily turned Buddle away. Buddle, though, is the hottest forward in the league and figures to have at least a couple of looks on goal.
Omar Gonzalez vs. Álvaro Saborío: Barring the addition of Thierry Henry, Saborío should be the favorite to win Newcomer of the Year honors at season’s end. Anyone who has followed the Costa Rican national team over the years knows of Saborío’s quality. The former FC Sion man bagged a late equalizer against Seattle and could make his second start of the season against the Galaxy. Gonzalez usually towers over opposing forwards but Saborío will be his toughest physical matchup of the young season.
Stat that makes you go “Hmm...”
Both RSL and the Galaxy have won an MLS Cup championship despite not having a winning regular-season record. RSL were 11-12-7 a year ago while the Galaxy went 13-13-6 in 2005.
He said it
“It’s a little humbling being here with Clint [Mathis] because he scored five in one game.” -- Galaxy forward Edson Buddle, offering a different perspective on his five goals in three games this season.