LA Galaxy vs. Real Salt Lake | MLS Match Preview

STUBHUB CENTER, Carson, Calif.
March 8, 2014 (WEEK 1, MLS Game #6)

Western Conference semifinal opponents a year ago, the LA Galaxy and Real Salt Lake kick off the 2014 MLS season against each other in a real indication of the Western Conference power rankings when the clubs meet Saturday evening at StubHub Center. The Galaxy saw their bid for a third consecutive MLS Cup put to end by Real last year, who then advanced to MLS Cup 2014, falling on penalty kicks to Sporting Kansas City.


REFEREE: Javier Santos; SAR (bench): Jairo Morales; JAR (opposite): Jose Da Silva; 4th: TBA
MLS Career: First game.


ALL-TIME (25 meetings): Galaxy 10 wins, 40 goals … Real 10 wins, 43 goals … Ties 5
AT LA (13 meetings): Galaxy 7 wins, 22 goals … Real 5 wins, 21 goals … Ties 1
RETURN MATCHES: 3/22: Real Salt Lake vs. LA Galaxy, 2 p.m. MT; 7/12: LA Galaxy vs. Real Salt Lake, 7:30 p.m. PT

4/27: RSL 0, LA 2 (Magee 6; Rugg 13)
6/8: RSL 3, LA 1 (Stephenson 44; Garcia 84, 92+ – Donovan 46+)
8/17: LA 4, RSL 2 (Keane 56, 67, 86; Gonzalez 75 – Plata 53; Findley 95+)

  • The Galaxy won two of three regular-season meetings between the teams, including a 4-2 win Aug. 17 at StubHub Center in their only home game vs. RSL.
  • The teams also met last year in a gripping Western Conference Semifinal, Real Salt Lake coming back to take the series 2-1 on aggregate following an extra-time win in the second leg at Rio Tinto Stadium to end the Galaxy’s bid for a third consecutive title.
  • It was the third time in five seasons the teams had met in the MLS Cup Playoffs. The Galaxy claimed a 3-1 victory over Real in the 2011 Western Conference Championship at The Home Depot Center. They also met in MLS Cup 2009 in Seattle, dramatically won by Real Salt Lake on penalty kicks after a 1-1 draw through 120 minutes.
  • Coaches record: Bruce Arena v RSL: P16 W6 L6 D4 … Jeff Cassar vs. LA: first game

After seeing their bid for an historic third consecutive MLS Cup title put to an end at Real Salt Lake last year, the LA Galaxy begin their 19th MLS season as the winningest club in league history. Bruce Arena is back for another season in charge, his sixth full season with the Galaxy, having brought the club to three MLS Cups in that time.


  • The Galaxy concluded their preseason preparations with a 2-1 victory in a closed-door scrimmage against the NASL Minnesota United FC. The Galaxy completed preparations with a 6-1-1 mark in preseason play.
  • In their previous match, the Galaxy defeated their newly-created USL Pro side, LA Galaxy II, 3-0 behind two goals from Robbie Keane.
  • Here’s the Galaxy team: Brian Perk (62í: Brian Rowe); Omar Gonzalez, Robbie Keane (70: Baggio Husidic), Marcelo Sarvas (62: Stefan Ishizaki), Landon Donovan, Gyasi Zardes (77: Chandler Hoffman), Rob Friend (46: Samuel), Juninho (77: Kenny Walker), A.J. DeLaGarza, Leonardo (70: Kofi Opare), James Riley (70: Dan Gargan)
  • With his next goal, Landon Donovan will become the all-time MLS leader in goals scored. Donovan enters the 2014 season tied with Jeff Cunningham atop the all-time standings with 134 league goals.
  • “To be honest, I don't think about it until it's brought up,” Donovan, said. “There's a good chance I'll forget before the game starts. There's no guarantee you're ever going to score. Is it important? Yeah, it is. It means something to me. But I'll be glad when it's over, to be honest, so I can just get back to focusing.”
  • Over the offseason, the Galaxy made a number of acquisitions designed to bolster the club’s attack. They picked up 6-foot-5 Canadian international Rob Friend and Brazilian Samuel, both of whom can partner Robbie Keane in attack.
  • “A big part of this team this year is that we’re going to have good depth and experienced players that can play a lot of roles throughout the season,” said head coach Bruce Arena. “We’re hopeful that our team is a little bit better and a little bit more consistent because if there was a weakness last year, it’s that we were inconsistent. We were one of the top teams in league in terms of scoring goals and one of the top teams defending. Yet, the results were inconsistent. I’m hoping that we have a little bit more quality and a little bit more experience this year that will allow us to play more consistently.”
  • Said Donovan: “It gives us a lot of weapons. We haven’t that kind of firepower since I’ve been here. We have a lot of attacking players that can make real plays. The more players that you have like that on the field, the better it is.”
  • The Galaxy also obtained former Chicago Fire midfielder Baggio Husidic as well as Swedish international winger Stefan Ishizaki to build up the midfield.
  • “[Ishizaki] is a very good passer. Very composed and experienced. He gives us a little something different in the midfield,” said Arena. “He’ll make plays that amount to something. We have a lot of players with a lot of energy with good intentions, but he’s the player that will make the final pass.”
  • The Galaxy also made an addition to their backline, signing James Riley, who spent 2013 with D.C. United. Riley is just the sixth MLS player to have played for six different teams, having also played for played for the New England Revolution, San Jose Earthquakes, Seattle Sounders, Chivas USA, joining Ezra Hendrickson, Alejandro Moreno, Nathan Sturgis, Carey Talley and Andy Williams.


IN: MF Baggio Husidic (11/14/13 - free); FW Samuel (1/7/14 - loan from Fluminense); FW Rob Friend (1/13/14 - free transfer); MF Stefan Ishizaki (1/30/14 - free transfer); FW Bradford Jamieson (2/20/14 - Homegrown); FW Raul Mendiola (2/20/14 - Homegrown); DF James Riley (3/4/14 - free)

OUT: MF Colin Clark (12/9/13 - option declined); MF Laurent Courtois (12/9/13 - option declined); DF Sean Franklin (12/9/13 - option declined); MF Michael Stephens (12/9/13 - out of contract); GK Carlo Cudicini (12/9/13 - contract terminated); MF Pablo Mastroeni (12/10/13 - retired); FW Jose Villarreal (12/23/13 - loaned to Cruz Azul); MF Hector Jimenez (1/14/14 - traded to Columbus); MF Kyle Nakazawa (1/21/14 - retired); DF Bryan Gaul (2/28/14 - waived); DF Greg Cochrane (3/3/14 - trade to Chicago)

Coming off an MLS Cup appearance for the second time in club history, Real Salt Lake begin a new era in 2014 as Jeff Cassar takes over as head coach. Real fell on penalty kicks to Sporting Kansas City in MLS Cup 2013, making a sixth consecutive appearance in the MLS Cup Playoffs.


  • Real concluded their preseason preparations with a 1-1 draw with Chivas USA in the finale of the Desert Diamond Cup in Tucson, Ariz. Alvaro Saborio scored the RSL goal.
  • Here’s the RSL team: Nick Rimando; Tony Beltran, Nat Borchers, Carlos Salcedo, Chris Wingert; Kyle Beckerman; Ned Grabavoy, Luis Gil (Luke Mulholland, 75); Javier Morales; Joao Plata (Jordan Allen, 85), Olmes Garcia (Alvaro Saborio, 64)
  • The biggest offseason move for the club came with the naming of Jeff Cassar as head coach, taking over for Jason Kreis, who moved on to New York City FC after moving from the field to the touchline in 2007.
  • “He understands the system and what we're trying to do,” defender Nat Borchers said. “And we know him. He's a fantastic guy to play for. I think that that really took a lot of the worry and doubt out of things.” Added goalkeeper Nick Rimando: “Same players on the field. Same mentality. Our head coach has been around for a while. He knows the system. He knows what he expects from his players. I don't think we're going to miss a beat.”
  • Real made no major acquisitions during the offseason, signing only a Homegrown Player in Jordan Allen and a young midfielder in Luke Mulholland.
  • “I think that when it comes to making moves, it doesn't have to be a big-name player,” Borchers said. “It just has to be somebody that helps us win games. I think we've done a great job with our value picks and working to integrate those players into our philosophy.”
  • Said general manager Garth Lagerwey: “We made the [U.S.] Open Cup final. We made the MLS Cup final. That's pretty good, so we didn't want to mess things up too much.”
  • RSL do have some injury concerns heading into the opener. Forwards Robbie Findley and Devon Sandoval are definitely out; defender Chris Schuler is questionable with a foot injury.
  • “Chris is making great progress,” Cassar said. “But we want to make sure we give him a platform to succeed. We don't want to put him out there too early and have any setbacks, either mentally or physically.”
  • Saborio was called into the Costa Rican national team for their midweek friendly vs. Paraguay in San Jose.


IN: MF Jordan Allen (12/31/13 - Homegrown); MF Luke Mulholland (1/21/14 - free)

OUT: MF Yordany Alvarez (12/9/13 - out of contract); DF Brandon McDonald (12/9/13 - out of contract); GK Josh Saunders (12/9/13 - out of contract); MF Khari Stephenson (12/9/13 - out of contract); DF Lovel Palmer (12/13/13 - traded to Chicago)

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