LA Galaxy vs. Real Salt Lake | MLS Match Preview

STUBHUB CENTER, Carson, Calif.
July 12, 2014 (WEEK 18, MLS Game #166)
7:30 p.m. PT (TWCS-LA/TWCD; KUCW-30)

The LA Galaxy and Real Salt Lake renew their rivalry for the third time this season when the Western Conference clubs meet in a key match Saturday evening at StubHub Center. The teams are separated by seven points in the divisional table, but the Galaxy come in on a six-game undefeated run, while Real ended a five-game winless streak in their last match. The teams met twice in the opening three weeks of the season, Real coming away from Carson with a 1-1 season-opening win, before they played to a 1-1 draw at Rio Tinto Stadium


REFEREE: Silviu Petrescu. AR1 (bench): Kermit Quisenberry; AR2 (opposite): Craig Lowry; 4th: Daniel Radford
MLS Career: 83 games; FC/gm: 27.4; Y/gm: 3.5; R: 10; pens: 13

SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: LA: Dan Gargan … RSL: Javier Morales
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: RSL: Nat Borchers, Alvaro Saborio, Chris Schuler, Tony Beltran, Luke Mulholland

ALL-TIME (27 meetings): Galaxy 10 wins, 41 goals … Real 11 wins, 45 goals … Ties 6
AT LA (14 meetings): Galaxy 7 wins, 22 goals … Real 6 wins, 22 goals … Ties 1

2014 (MLS)
3/8: LA 0, RSL 1 (Plata 80)
3/22: RSL 1, LA 1 (Saborio 19 – Keane 34)

  • The teams are meeting for the third time this season, the first two coming in the opening three weeks of the season. Joao Plata scored the game’s only goal to give RSL the victory on March 8 at StubHub Center. Two weeks later, Real’s Alvaro Saborio and LA’s Robbie Keane traded first-half goals to leave the teams in a 1-1 draw at Rio Tinto Stadium.
  • The teams met last year in a gripping Western Conference Semifinal, with 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: Jeff Cassar vs. LA: P2 W1 L0 D1 … Bruce Arena v RSL: P18 W6 L7 D5


  • Real Salt Lake took the lead in the 19th minute. From a quickly taken free kick, Joao Plata delivered a curling ball to the far side of the six-yard box that found Alvaro Saborio so wide open that he had ample time to set himself before stroking the ball past LA goalkeeper Brian Perk.
  • But the Galaxy drew level in the 35th minute. Racing onto a ball knocked down the right touchline by Juninho, Robbie Keane cut inside of a backpedaling RSL defender at the edge of the area and fired a low strike inside the near post.
  • REAL SALT LAKE (4-3-1-2): Nick Rimando - Tony Beltran, Chris Schuler, Nat Borchers, Chris Wingert - Ned Grabavoy (Luke Mulholland 77), Kyle Beckerman, Luis Gil - Javier Morales - Joao Plata (Olmes Garcia 36), Alvaro Saborio.
  • LA GALAXY (4-3-1-2): Brian Perk - James Riley (Dan Gargan 33), Omar Gonzalez, A.J. DeLaGarza (Leonardo 72), Todd Dunivant - Stefan Ishizaki (Marcelo Sarvas 70), Juninho, Baggio Husidic - Landon Donovan - Rob Friend, Robbie Keane.

The LA Galaxy stretched their undefeated streak to six matches, coming back for a 2-2 draw with the Portland Timbers on July 4 at StubHub Center. The Galaxy sit in a tie for sixth place in the Western Conference with 21 points from 14 games.


  • The Galaxy finally broke through in the 65th minute. After collecting a half-cleared cross, Landon Donovan, just above the box, played a little pass to Marcelo Sarvas, who took the ball into the area then fired past three defenders and a screened Donovan Ricketts inside the far-post netting.
  • But the Timbers were level just two minutes later. Jorge Villafana sent in a cross from the left wing, but Fanendo Adi's header bounced off a defender and rolled out toward the top of the box. Diego Valeri raced in and pounded the ball home inside the far post.
  • Portland then went ahead in the 70th minute. Villafana sent in a low cross which was not cleared, and Valeri again picked up the ball at the top of the box. His shot was blocked by a defender, but the ball rolled to Villafana on the left side of the area, and he beat goalkeeper Jaime Penedo to the near post.
  • But the Galaxy scored the equalizer through some good fortune. Donovan chipped the ball into the box for Baggio Husidic, to the left of the net. He sent a ball into the middle toward a pair of advancing teammates, but it hit a retreating Rauwshan McKenzie and rolled into the net.
  • Galaxy coach Bruce Arena made two changes to the team that defeated the San Jose Earthquakes 1-0 at Stanford Stadium. A.J. DeLaGarza came back into central defense in place of Kofi Opare, and Juninho returned to the midfield in favor of Baggio Husidic.
  • LA GALAXY (4-4-2): Jaime Penedo - Dan Gargan, Tommy Meyer, A.J. DeLaGarza (Rob Friend 82), Robbie Rogers - Stefan Ishizaki (Baggio Husidic 71), Marcelo Sarvas, Juninho (Chandler Hoffman 90), Landon Donovan - Gyasi Zardes, Robbie Keane.


  • While the Galaxy extended their undefeated streak to six matches, their last loss coming on May 17, it was a second consecutive draw at StubHub Center.
  • “We’re not doing as good as we would certainly like to. As long as you’re not losing games I think that’s important as well because losing can be a habit sometimes. As we’ve seen in recent years. We’ve got four points out of the last two games, but we certainly expected to get six,” said Robbie Keane.
  • The Galaxy conceded a pair of goals in a league game for the first time since a 2-2 draw April 19 at Vancouver.
  • “The effort was not consistent over the 90 minutes,” Arena said. “For us to have that kind of energy in the last 15 minutes and get an equalizer, and not have that energy for the entire game, is a little disappointing. I think we lost our concentration a little bit. We did a real sloppy job in defense on a couple crosses that cost us goals, and to [Portland's] credit, they did a good job. ... However, the effort to get a point out of the game is terrific.”
  • Landon Donovan collected his fourth assist of the season, and has 121 assists for his league career, now 14 behind Steve Ralston for the all-time MLS lead.
  • “Everybody has good days and has bad days. It wasn’t our best day but we’re winning after 60-some odd minutes, we’re tied at the end with a chance to win so all in all it’s not the worst case but we certainly feel like this is a game we should have won,” Donovan said.
  • Marcelo Sarvas scored his first goal of the season, and now has been part of a goal in three consecutive games, with a goal and two assists in that time. It was his first goal in nearly a year, since also scoring against Portland, July 13, 2013.
  • “I think we missed what we had last game, more players competing. They had too much time with the ball; everybody had too much time with the ball. We were out of position, late in place. So for moments you see the Galaxy that everyone expects, tight, pressing, biting. Then most of the time we were just jogging around, and we paid for that,” said Sarvas. “It’s mentally; everyone has to be 100 percent in the game. Seventy percent is not enough in games like that.”
  • A.J. DeLaGarza returned to the Galaxy lineup after a one-match absence, coming into central defense, with Dan Gargan and Robbie Rogers again reprising their fullback roles.
  • “I think the past two games we’ve done a good job at getting forward and adding to the attack, but I think we need to get a little better at it, and make better runs in the box, but defensively we’ve both been all right and I think the team feels pretty confident with us out there,” said Rogers.

Real Salt Lake put an end to their winless streak after five matches, defeating the New England Revolution 2-1 on July 4 at Rio Tinto Stadium. RSL are in second place in the Western Conference with 28 points from 17 matches.


  • RSL broke through when, on a corner kick, defender Chris Schuler was fouled in the box by Revolution defender Darrius Barnes. Midfielder Javier Morales sent the resulting penalty to the left as goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth went in the opposite direction.
  • But just two minutes later scores were again level. From a free kick out on the right, Chris Tierney's service was a thing of beauty, finding Barnes perfectly at the back post for a diving header to make the score 1-1.
  • The winner came in the 65th minute. Tierney took out RSL's John Stertzer in the box and referee Allen Chapman pointed to the spot. RSL forward Joao Plata stepped up and put the penalty high and to the right of Shuttleworth for the eventual winner.
  • RSL head coach Jeff Cassar made five changes to the team that dropped a 1-0 decision to Chivas USA at StubHub Center. Nick Rimando returned between the posts in place of Jeff Attinella, Tony Beltran came into the back four for Abdoulie Mansally, John Stertzer and Kyle Beckerman started in the midfield in place of Cole Grossman and the suspended Luke Mulholland, and Devon Sandoval started in attack for Robbie Findley.
  • REAL SALT LAKE (4-3-1-2): Nick Rimando - Tony Beltran, Chris Schuler, Nat Borchers, Chris Wingert - John Stertzer (Cole Grossman 69), Kyle Beckerman, Luis Gil (Ned Grabavoy 76) - Javier Morales - Joao Plata (Abdoulie Mansally 87), Devon Sandoval.


  • Real won their first match since May 17, ending a five-game winless run in league play and six matches in all competitions.
  • Real scored from two penalty kicks, and have now scored five penalty goals this season, second in MLS behind Colorado and Vancouver (six each).
  • “We were really energetic. I think that definitely Kyle [Beckerman] and Nick [Rimando] give us a boost, and we’re at home, but I don’t think those last stretch of games, it wasn’t that we were not energetic. I think there were a lot of factors in that,” said center back Nat Borchers
  • Javier Morales scored his fifth goal of the season, his first since May 17. Each of his last three goals have come from penalty kicks.
  • RSL welcomed back goalkeeper Nick Rimando and midfielder Kyle Beckerman in their first appearances since May 11, following their return from the US national team and the FIFA World Cup.
  • “I think Jeff wanted us to go,” Beckerman said. “And we've been gone for a while. We missed the guys. We missed playing in front of our home crowd. That was a big part of it – we wanted to get back out there. We pretty much had the same mindset going into this game; we wanted to play, We passed that on to Jeff.”
  • Said Cassar: “I think we’re going to give them a few days off, then re-visit it on Wednesday or Thursday to see how they’re doing and where they’re at. Going to LA – that’s one of those games where our guys try to rise to the occasion. I’d be really surprised if they say they don’t want to play.”
  • Devon Sandoval made his first start since May 31, partnering Joao Plata in attack. “[Plata] was threatening all night long. He was making fantastic runs for our midfielders. He and Devon [Sandoval] were a great partnership. What I was really pleased with was their work on the defensive end, too,” Cassar said.
  • The goal allowed by Real was their eighth from a set piece ñ the most in MLS this season. “We've just got to continue to realize that you can play 90 minutes of incredible soccer and give up a goal on a set play and lose,” RSL head coach Jeff Cassar said.
  • Added defender Nat Borchers: “We've obviously not been good enough on set pieces this year as a group. And it does come to really just deciding as an individual what you need to do to make sure your guy doesn't score.”

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