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Postgame Notes & Quotes: LA Galaxy vs Real Salt Lake

LA Galaxy 1, Real Salt Lake 2
Sunday, September 30, 2012

The Home Depot Center – Carson, Calif.

Scoring Summary:
LA – Robbie Keane 15 (Juninho 4) 17’
RSL – Fabian Espindola 8 (Alvaro Saborio 3) 25’
RSL – Fabian Espindola 9 (Javier Morales 9) 28’

Misconduct Summary:
LA – Bryan Gaul (Yellow Card) 64’
RSL – Tony Beltran (Yellow Card) 71’


LA Galaxy: Josh Saunders; Sean Franklin, Omar Gonzalez, Tommy Meyer (Christian Wilhelmsson 85’), Bryan Gaul; Marcelo Sarvas, Juninho, David Beckham, Mike Magee (Edson Buddle 61’); Landon Donovan© (Jose Villarreal 85’), Robbie Keane.

Subs Not Used: Brian Perk, David Junior Lopes, Bryan Jordan, Michael Stephens.

Real Salt LakeNick Rimando; Tony Beltran (Chris Schuler 84’), Jamison Olave, Nat Borchers, Chris Wingert; Kyle Beckerman©, Luis Gil, Jonny Steele (Yordany Alvarez 77’), Javier Morales (Paulo Jr. 92+); Fabian Espindola, Alvaro Saborio.

Subs Not Used: Kyle Reynish, Kenny Mansally, Sebastian Velasquez, Justin Braun.

Referee: Baldomero Toledo

Referee’s Assistants: Ian Anderson and Fabio Tovar

4th Official: Alejandro Mariscal


  • With the loss, the Galaxy are now 15-12-5 on the season for 50 points. They remain in third place in the Western Conference, but are now five points behind Real Salt Lake for second place with two games left to play. LA are still one point ahead of fourth place Seattle, who are in action on Sunday at home against Portland.
  • The loss snaps LA’s seven game unbeaten streak in the league and their 10 game unbeaten streak in all competitions. Prior to tonight, the Galaxy had not lost since August 5 and had not lost at home since July 4.
  • Real Salt Lake become the first team ever to beat the Galaxy twice in the same season at The Home Depot Center.
  • RSL won the season series over LA, going 2-1-0 in the three games with the home team losing all three.
  • Additionally, the team that scored first in each game of the series lost as well.
  • Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena made two changes to the team that drew 1-1 with Colorado last weekend with Bryan Gaul and Tommy Meyer each returning in defense in place of the injured A.J. DeLaGarza and Todd Dunivant. This was the first start for Meyer since May 5 against New York and for Gaul since August 5 at Seattle.
  • This was the first time since August 5 that the Galaxy did not start a back four of Sean Franklin, Omar Gonzalez, A.J DeLaGarza and Todd Dunivant in front of Josh Saunders. In the seven games that those four played together, the Galaxy were 5-0-2. They are 10-12-3 in all other games.
  • In addition to DeLaGarza, who suffered a left knee sprain against the Rapids and Dunivant, who suffered a hip pointer, the Galaxy were also without Leonardo and Kyle Nakazawa, who are each out for the rest of the season because of injury.
  • Christian Wilhelmsson returned to the 18-man squad after missing Sunday’s game in Colorado with a left calf strain.
  • David Junior Lopes and Bryan Jordan were each in the 18-man squad as well with Lopes in the team for the first time since August 5 and Jordan in the team for the first time since August 15.
  • The Galaxy took a 1-0 lead in the 17th minute when Robbie Keane finished a cross from Juninho for his 15th goal of the season.
  • This was the sixth straight game in which LA had gone in front 1-0, though they missed out on scoring in the opening 15 minutes, something that they had done in each of their previous three games.
  • Keane is the first Galaxy player to score 15 or more goals in a season since Edson Buddle had 17 in 2010 and the seventh in club history to do so.
  • The Ireland international is now alone in fourth place in MLS in goals scored, behind only San Jose’s Chris Wondolowski, RSL’s Alvaro Saborio and New York’s Kenny Cooper.
  • He has a goal or an assist in 13 of the 17 league games that he has played since returning from the European Championships in June.
  • This was just the second time that the Galaxy lost a game in which Robbie Keane scored.
  • Juninho collected his fourth assist of the season on the goal and his first since July 21 against Chivas USA. He had nearly given the Galaxy a 1-0 lead in the 6th minute, only to see his long range shot hit the crossbar.
  • The Galaxy lead would last just eight minutes before Fabian Espindola equalized for RSL.
  • The Galaxy have now conceded an equalizer inside ten minutes from their opening goal in each of their last two games.
  • Espindola then put the visitors in front three minutes later, heading past Josh Saunders for his ninth goal of the season and second of the half.
  • In three games against the Galaxy this season, Espindola has three goals and two assists. For his career, he has five goals in 11 games.
  • In four games at The Home Depot Center this season against LA and Chivas USA, Espindola has five goals and three assists.
  • The two goals allowed in three minutes were the fastest two goals that they had allowed in a game this season since conceding in the 10th and 13th minutes of a 3-1 home loss to New England on March 31.
  • Landon Donovan was forced to leave the game in the 85th minute with a left knee injury that he suffered a few minutes earlier. He was replaced by Jose Villarreal, who was making his first appearance since September 1.
  • Donovan has now not scored in any of his last six regular season games dating back to the 3-1 home win over Chivas USA on July 21 when he scored his ninth goal of the season.
  • Christian Wilhelmsson also came on in the 85th minute, making the first substitute appearance of his Galaxy career.
  • Bryan Gaul was the only Galaxy player to be booked in the game, collecting his third yellow card of the season.
  • Sean Franklin played the 125th regular season game of his Galaxy career, moving him into a tie with Tyrone Marshall for the 10th most in club history.
  • Omar Gonzalez made his 99th appearance for the club, leaving him one shy of becoming the 20th player in club history to play in 100 games.
  • The Galaxy are now 2-6-0 in their first game of a month compared to 13-5-5 in all other games.
  • The Galaxy outshot RSL 20-11 in the game, including 12-4 in the first half. This was the fourth time this season that the Galaxy had 20 or more shots in a game.
  • However, the shots on target were just 6-5 in favor of the Galaxy, who also hit the crossbar early in the first half.
  • This was the first league game in which the Galaxy did not score with a shot from outside the box since August 26 against FC Dallas, a 2-0 win.
  • After allowing one or fewer goals in four straight home games from July 4-September 22, the Galaxy have now allowed two goals in each of their last two games at The Home Depot Center.
  • The attendance for today’s game was a sellout crowd of 27,000 at The Home Depot Center. This was the club’s fifth sellout of the season.
  • The Galaxy will now have more than two weeks off before they return to action on Sunday, October 21 against the San Jose Earthquakes at Buck Shaw Stadium.
  • This will be the third and final meeting of the year between the two sides with San Jose winning 3-2 at The Home Depot Center on May 23 and then claiming a 4-3 win at Stanford Stadium on June 30. The Galaxy led by two goals in each of those games but were not able to earn a point from either.
  • The game against San Jose will be LA’s first-ever game on the new Time Warner Cable SportsNet, which debuted earlier this week. The game will also be available nationally in Spanish on Galavision.



Overall thoughts on the game:

“Their first goal came a little bit against the run of play, but we were sloppy defending in our penalty area, not real sharp with our attacking play in the other penalty area. We just weren’t sharp enough for 90 minutes. In the early going we were okay. We played a sloppy game today.”

On the changes to the backline:  

“I wouldn’t say the story of this game tonight is the fact that we’re missing players on our backline. We weren’t good enough for 90 minutes all over the field.”

On Tommy Meyer and Bryan Gaul’s performance:

“I thought they did fine”

On Edson Buddle’s performance:

“No [I didn’t get what I wanted from Buddle], because I wanted to get a goal. Our service wasn’t good. We didn’t get a whole lot of spark out of the changes we made. I just think over 90 minutes we didn’t play well. They defended well. The play in the goal was quite good. I thought Josh Saunders did an excellent job in making some saves to keep us in the game toward the end. “

On the team’s current standing: 

“I haven’t really looked at the standings, I don’t really care. We go out the next game and we play to win.”

On Juninho’s performance: 

“I think Juninho played quite well for us tonight. If we had nine other players who played like Juninho tonight I think we would have won the game.”

On the defense against Juninho:

“I’m not sure [they were pressing Juninho]. He got a little space when he hit that crossbar. I don’t think that was an issue, but I think they did play well, they did defend well; they deserved to win the game.”


On his injury:
“It didn’t feel good. I landed on it. Just on the ground, I don’t really remember, but there was a pretty good divot there so I’m not exactly sure.”

Thoughts on how the loss impacts the playoff standings:
“I think we’re just a little disappointed in the game in general. Not really worried about that part right now. That was a pretty good first half and we fell asleep for a few minutes and [Fabian] Espindola made two good plays. It was frustrating. I thought we had really good chances. They were scrambling a bit, made some kind of last ditch blocks and dodged the bullet. I give them credit, they scored the goals.”

Overall thoughts on the game:
“I thought we played well, actually, in the first half. Second half they did a better job of containing us, we didn’t have as many chances, but we’ve got to do better, myself included, and score some goals (when the opportunities come) and make it two or three-zero so the game’s over. We weren’t able to do that.”

On the teams’ goal to finish in the top three spots:
“There’s no question, that’s the goal, but that goal just got a lot more difficult so we’re probably going to have to win both games and we’ll see what happens. The goal is to be at least third. If you’re fourth, obviously there’s a disadvantage in playing an extra game, but we’re a deep team and if we have to do that we have to do that.”


On the result and the team’s performance:

“I’m disappointed with the result like everybody else. It was a game, I think, the first 20 minutes when we got the goal we were controlling the game and then we gave two goals away in the space of two minutes probably. So, I think that killed us.”

On what the Salt Lake defense was doing that made it tough for LA to score:

“Nothing, really. Because if you looked at the first 20 minutes we about (had) four or five chances, but after that, as soon as you concede two goals, they sit back and invite pressure on and put two banks of four (players) and obviously made it difficult.”

On whether there are any positives moving forward from this game:

“When you lose a game it’s important to bounce back and try to get a victory. We’re playing against a good team when we come back after the break so, two big games coming up and then obviously the playoffs. It’s always good to get confidence going into the playoffs.”  

On whether the team has discussed the importance of different playoff positions:

“Yeah, you want to finish as high up as possible. I don’t think we need to be sitting down as a group and chatting that we need to finish third or second, we’re certainly not sitting in here saying we want to finish fourth. So, of course you want to finish as high as possible and we’ll be trying to do that in the next two games.”


Overall thoughts on the game:

“I thought we started the game very well. I think we had a lot of chances in a short space of time, which unfortunately we didn’t put away. When you play against a team like Salt Lake you have to be on it. I think we made a couple of mistakes leading up to the goals and it let them back in. They’re a good team and when you give good teams a little chance then they capitalize on it.”

On the team’s standing heading into the playoffs:
“We’ve got two more games left, so, they’re two tough games but I think at the end of the day we’ve made it into the playoffs. It’s just down to where are we going to be placed now, but we need to finish the season strong.”

On his fitness:
“Not perfect yet, but I’m getting there. Getting the 90 [minutes] in today was important for myself, but no, I’m not perfect yet. We’re real disappointed.”

On how the team will get past the loss:
“It’s obviously down to us now, what happens. I think it’s important that we just forget this game now, we’ll talk about it Monday but we have to forget this now.”


On what the Galaxy can do better in defense:

“I think we’ve just got to be tighter on them, we can’t let them get so many entry balls because they were just collecting balls coming into them and we were just being too easy on them and that just can’t happen. We’ve got to go from here and be a little bit more aggressive, make it harder for forwards to collect balls and then from there just be better on second balls.”

On the performance with two new starters in the lineup:

“I don’t really think it matters who you put in there, we’ve got to be better. That’s it, we’ve got to put a better effort out there. We started the game off great and then we just shut off for a couple plays and they punished us.”

On what positives they can take away from the loss:

“This game didn’t go the way we wanted it, but we’re still in the playoffs. I think we certainly want the wins, but now is the time to start get the little things right. Just like tonight we got punished on those plays, next game we can’t make those mistake and we’ve got to be on the entire game. So even though we didn’t get the win tonight, I think we can still take a lot from it and grow from it because there’s two more games left in the season and then the true test comes. We’re not going to win Supporters’ Shield so that doesn’t matter, now it’s all about getting it right for the playoffs.”

On how much the Galaxy are thinking about playoff positioning:

“We certainly don’t want the play-in game. I think right now we’re just trying to get in second or third and it’s looking right now like it’s kind of tough to be second so we’re fighting for that third spot. I think Seattle plays Salt Lake next so hopefully they can help us out there, but we’ve just got to win out.”


Overall thoughts on the game:

“It was just a fun game to be apart of. I was thinking all week how fun this game could be. What a great experience it is to play in front of this crowd, against a team that's such quality as the Galaxy. It was just a fun night.”

On the result:

“They really put us under. They scored in the 17th minute and we were under all of those 17 minutes. I was really interested to see what our response would be. A lot of teams, even ourselves, in some patches of the season, and in prior years, would fold up shop and just succumb to more and more goals and more and more pressure. I think our guys handled it in the exact right way. They stayed calmed and realized that we would still get chances. And, what a fantastic play by the players involved on that first goal. I think it really changed the flow of the game.”

On Fabian Espindola: 

“I guess he likes this stadium. He was spectacular tonight. Obviously, the two goals were quite nice and special. He was good for us defensively and trying to find spots to help out the rest of his team on the other side of the ball. It was critical.”


On his success at The Home Depot Center, where he has five goals and three assists in four games this year:

“I like to play against LA. This is a huge field, it’s so difficult for defenders to mark and I think that’s good for us. We’re a team that’s good with the ball so it works because the other teams get so tired when they don’t get the ball in those spaces.”  

On what Saturday’s win means for the team:

“The good thing is we came back from a 1-0 hole. [Teams that do that are] the kind of teams that can win the championship – when you’re losing and you can comeback you’re actually showing that you can go far in this league.”


On the come-from-behind win:

“It's one of those things that I think we've been through before. We never quit; we never stopped. It's one of those things that we've been in that situation before and we know how to bounce back. When we play as a team we are able to do that, and tonight that's exactly what happened when we went down the goal.”

On Espindola:

“He's been there for us. He wants to prove to his teammates and his team that he's here and he wants to play. He wants to prove to the league that he's one of the best forwards in this league. He's been putting forward that effort for a while now, but it’s really starting to show.”


On the win:

“It's huge. LA is right behind us in the playoff race. We need to finish second or third place so we can avoid that wild card spot. It's a big statement, but mostly it’s good for ourselves. We want to keep this going. We've said that as far as we are considered the playoffs started weeks ago. We want to keep getting results week in and week out and get through October and November.”

On going down a goal:

“Obviously, the Galaxy is a talented team and if you are going to give them attacking opportunities they have players that can finish – like tonight. But when the goal happened, we knew we were a good enough team where we can play soccer and we have dangerous players as well. We showed a lot of character coming back and holding the lead for the rest of the game.”


On the team’s performance:

“It was a good 90-minute performance. We didn't panic when we gave up the first goal. It's always a tough game when we play the Galaxy. They throw haymakers; we throw haymakers. And, it’s a real battle out there. It was a good response from when they scored— Two great goals by Fabian. We didn't give them a ton of chances, which was an improvement from the last couple of games.”

On playing the Galaxy:

“(When) we played this team it goes in waves. They'll get the ball and then it switches and we get the ball. We kind of know that from the experience of playing them so many times. So, we just follow them when they have the momentum and we just wait our team and then it turns and we have to finish the chances.”