CARSON, Calif. — The LA Galaxy used a Real Salt Lake own goal to overcome their first first-half deficit at home all season as the Western Conference front-runners won 2-1 at The Home Depot Center on Saturday night.
RSL's Javier Morales started for the first time since May 7, assisted on Fabián Espíndola's goal and went the distance just one week short of five months after suffering a debilitating ankle injury.
Chad Barrett punched in a goal near the hour to help level terms before Nat Borchers' own goal put the hosts ahead for good.
The Galaxy tried to pressure Real Salt Lake on from the start as the Galaxy came out with the majority of the possession. RSL, though, were disciplined in the back for the most part and did not yield much space.
It was not until the 38th minute that the Galaxy were dangerous. David Beckham lined up a 22-yard free kick and placed it perfectly over the wall, but the ball swerved and missed the left post by inches.
Real Salt Lake had not meandered forward much, but in the final five minutes of the first half, they started to pressure the Galaxy goal after a series of set pieces. A free kick led to a corner kick, which led to another as RSL started to show some offenisve mettle.
In the 41st minute, Morales swung a corner kick in the middle of the penatly area and Espíndola rose up and powered it into the corner of the net to put the visitors out in front. For Morales, the assist was memorable. It was his third dish of the season and his first since, ironically, a 4-1 win over the Galaxy on March 26.
Real Salt Lake took the lead into the second half to become the first visiting team to lead the Galaxy at halftime at The Home Depot Center this season.
The lead, though, did not last long. The Galaxy eventually created a goal from seemingly nowhere. Beckham lofted a ball in towards the penalty area as Barrett and Jámison Olave ran onto it. Olave was unable to muscle Barrett of the ball and could not clear it as Barrett poked a bouncing ball past RSL 'keeper Nick Rimando from the edge of the penalty area.
The Galaxy eventually pulled ahead on an own goal. The sequence started off with a cross by Beckham and Todd Dunivant struck a shot towards goal but wound up hitting Borchers on the thigh and the ball bounced softly into the back of the net as the Galaxy pulled ahead in the 72nd minute.
RSL countered by bringing on midfielder Andy Williams in hopes of finding some attack, but the hosts did well to keep the ball away from RSL.
The win keeps the Galaxy seven points ahead of the Seattle Sounders in the race for the Supporters Shield. The Galaxy next head East to New York on Oct. 2 for a marquee match-up against the Red Bulls.
RSL, meanwhile, stay on the West Coast but travel north to take on the Vancouver Whitecaps on Thursday, Oct. 6.
RSL -- Fabian Espindola 10 (Javier Morales 3) 45
LA -- Chad Barrett 6 (David Beckham 15) 59
LA -- own goal (Nat Borchers) 72
RSL -- Fabian Espindola (caution; Unsporting Behavior) 38
LA -- Omar Gonzalez (caution; Reckless Tackle) 40
LA -- Paolo Cardozo (caution; Reckless Tackle) 43
RSL -- Ned Grabavoy (caution; Reckless Foul) 49+
RSL -- Javier Morales (caution; Dissent) 48
RSL -- Yordany Alvarez (caution; Tactical Foul) 57
Real Salt Lake -- Nick Rimando, Chris Schuler, Nat Borchers, Jamison Olave, Chris Wingert, Yordany Alvarez (Andy Williams 74), Will Johnson, Javier Morales (Collen Warner 80), Ned Grabavoy, Fabian Espindola (Paulo Araujo Jr. 65), Alvaro Saborio.
Substitutes Not Used: Arturo Alvarez, Luis Gil, Rauwshan McKenzie, Tim Melia.
LA Galaxy -- Josh Saunders, Bryan Jordan, Omar Gonzalez, A.J. DeLaGarza, Todd Dunivant, Paolo Cardozo, David Beckham, Juninho, Landon Donovan (Michael Stephens 89), Chad Barrett (Adam Cristman 73), Robbie Keane (Jovan Kirovski 89).
Substitutes Not Used: Frankie Hejduk, Hector Jimenez, Miguel Lopez, Brian Perk.
Referee: Kevin Stott
Referee's Assistants: -Adam Wienckowski; Brian Poeschel
4th Official: Ramon Hernandez
Time of Game: 1:55