CARSON, Calif. – Joao Plata scored against the run of play in the 80th minute, Nick Rimando saved a penalty kick in stoppage time and Real Salt Lake made Jeff Cassar a winner in his head-coaching debut Saturday night with a 1-0 triumph over the dominant LA Galaxy in both teams' 2014 MLS opener at StubHub Center.
Plata was alone at the penalty spot for a feed from Kyle Beckerman, which slipped past Omar Gonzalez outside LA's box, and he finished easily against Jaime Penedo to give RSL their fifth straight opening-day victory.
The goal arrived just four minutes after Luke Mulholland tallied after Penedo stopped a Plata shot at the left post, a goal waved off by a questionable offside flag.
Rimando, who had several spectacular stops among his nine saves, dived to deny Robbie Keane from the penalty spot in the 93rd minute after Tony Beltran undercut Rob Friend as he leapt for a ball into the box from Omar Gonzalez.
Rimando posted his 109th career shutout, just three off Kevin Hartman's league record, as the Galaxy repeatedly challenged RSL's defense in the rematch of last year's Western Conference Semifinal series won by the the Claret-and-Cobalt, who fell to Sporting Kansas City in December's MLS Cup final.
The Galaxy outshot RSL, 27-9, and ought to have gone ahead twice in the first half. Keane hit the right post in the 34th minute, then played in Donovan behind Tony Beltran for a one-on-one chance in the 38th. Donovan fired at Rimando, who also made big first-half saves on Keane and Samuel and two tough second-half stops on Stefan Ishizaki, who made his LA debut off the bench.
Donovan remained on 134 goals, tied with Jeff Cunningham for the all-time mark.
Both teams had additional chances to score. Keane hit near the top of the right post after Donovan headed a poor Rimando clearance into RSL's box. Earlier, Keane half-volleyed over the bar a Donovan feed through the goalmouth.
RSL had a good chance five minutes midway through the half, but Penedo leapt to push wide Javier Morales' blast in the 21st minute, parried a Plata shot in the 25th, a denied Aaron Maund's volley from a Plata cross in the 26th.
The Galaxy are off from MLS duty for two weeks, instead concentrating on their CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal series against Club Tijuana. The first leg is Wednesday night at StubHub and the second on March 18 at Estadio Caliente just south of the border.
RSL next head to San Jose on March 15.
MLSsoccer.com Men of the Match
|Rank||Player||What We Saw|
|1||Nick Rimando||Nine unbelievable saves from the veteran, none bigger than his last-minute stop of Keane's penalty kick.|
|2||Nat Borchers||RSL center back first had his hands full with Samuel, then Rob Friend and shut down both target mountains.|
|3||Kyle Beckerman||Workman-like performance from RSL captain, who did his usual destroyer business to shut Galaxy down.|