SANDY, Utah—The LA Galaxy lost their first game of the season after Javier Morales' unusual late goal gave reigning MLS champions Real Salt Lake a 1-0 victory at Rio Tinto Stadium on Wednesday night.
Morales scored the winner in the 80th minute following a controversial non-call that LA will claim should have been ruled offside. The match was also delayed for more than a half hour during the first half as a lightning storm passed through the Salt Lake area.
However, when the match resumed, it was RSL who got the first chance when midfielder Will Johnson anticipated a pass out of the back before taking a few dribbles and firing a shot wide.
The Galaxy would mount a few attacking chances of their own in the opening half, but they seemed to play a conservative, compact and disciplined game. Their best chance came off of a long range shot by holding midfielder Chris Birchall.
Neither team was able to sustain any continued pressure until the waning minutes in the opening half. During this period RSL had several set piece opportunities in the Galaxy end. They had a string of five corners within a fifteen minute stretch.
During this flurry of activity, RSL had some good looks as the ball found its way to the carpet inside the box on a few occasions, but the hosts could not get off a serious shot attempt.
In the second half, LA appeared to adjust to the tempo that Salt Lake showed in the late stages of the first half. Both teams were able to do well with the ball in the middle third, but neither side could muster up any magic in the opposing box.
RSL then benefited from a fluke play in the 80th minute when Pablo Campos tried to pass a ball backward in the Los Angeles end, and it deflected off Michael Stephens before bounding directly to Javier Morales, who would have otherwise have been in an offside position. Morales calmly put the ball in the net, and controversy ensued over the non-offside call.
The Galaxy were unable to recover in the final minutes of the game, though Juninho attempted an excellent shot in stoppage time that was pushed away by Nick Rimando.
LA Galaxy 0, at Real Salt Lake 1
Rio Tinto Stadium
Los Angeles Galaxy (10-1-2)
Real Salt Lake (7-3-2)
RSL -- Javier Morales 4 (unassisted) 80
LA -- Juninho (caution; Tactical Foul) 20
RSL -- Andy Williams (caution; Tactical Foul) 63
RSL -- Javier Morales (caution; Shirt Removal) 81
LA -- Omar Gonzalez (caution; Tactical Foul) 85
Los Angeles Galaxy -- Donovan Ricketts, Sean Franklin, Omar Gonzalez, Gregg Berhalter, Todd Dunivant, Michael Stephens, Chris Birchall, Juninho, Alex Cazumba (Eddie Lewis 78), Jovan Kirovski (Clint Mathis 63), Tristan Bowen (Alan Gordon 72). Substitutes Not Used: Bryan Jordan, Chris Klein, A.J. DeLaGarza, Josh Saunders.
Real Salt Lake -- Nick Rimando, Robbie Russell, Jamison Olave, Nat Borchers, Tony Beltran (Chris Wingert 60), Andy Williams (Collen Warner 78), Ned Grabavoy, Javier Morales, Will Johnson, Alvaro Saborio, Fabian Espindola (Pablo Campos 64). Substitutes Not Used: Rauwshan McKenzie, Jean Alexandre, Luis Gil, Kyle Reynish.
Referee: Edvin Jurisevic
Referee's Assistants: -Frank Anderson; Eric Proctor
4th Official: Tyler Ploeger
Time of Game: 2:29