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MLS- Real Salt Lake

Galaxy roll past RSL to clinch place in MLS Cup Final

GalaxyWinsWest (Getty)

BY ADAM SERRANO

The Los Angeles Galaxy continued their steady push towards the MLS Cup as they advanced to the league championship with a 3-1 victory over Real Salt Lake at the Home Depot Center on Sunday night. 

The victory put the Galaxy in their second final in three years where they will take on the Houston Dynamo on their home field on November 20th. One win away from their ultimate goal, the Supporters Shield winners understand that despite a fine season, there is plenty of work to be done. 

"We haven’t achieved what we want yet but we’ve taken all the right steps," said Landon Donovan. "We’re real proud of the effort the guys put in all week. It’s a really tough week and our guys did a great job and I thought we were really excellent."

From the start, the match was a back and forth affair, in large part due to the loss of RSL defender Nat Borchers, who was unable to play in the match due to a quad strain. After a nervy start, the Galaxy struck first in the 22nd minute when Andy Williams fouled Omar Gonzalez in the box, setting up a penalty. It was Donovan, who stepped up to the spot burying the chance that gave Los Angeles the lead in the 23rd minute. 

RSL answered back two minutes later, off a corner kick, Jamison Olave was able to keep the ball in, heading the ball to a waiting Alvaro Saborio, who headed into an empty net. As the half wore on, RSL absorbed pressure from the Galaxy, before a flurry of activity of their own that was highlighted by Kyle Beckerman's shot off the post in stoppage time. 

"We were defending well," said Real Salt Lake midfielder Will Johnson. "You can't attack for 90 minutes straight and you can't defend for 90 minutes straight, you have to pick and choose your moments. that's why it was going back and forth." 

In the second half, the Galaxy began to assert control of the game and eventually broke through in the 58th when David Beckham connected with Mike Magee. The Galaxy midfielder found himself lightly marked on the corner kick and was able to head in the chance past Rimando. The goal was the third goal of the playoffs for Magee, each coming through service from Beckham. The back and forth action continued just a minute later when RSL nearly equalized when Fabian Espindola rattled the bar with a chance from close range.

Although RSL had their chances, it was Los Angeles that was able to finish off the game, in the 68th minute when Donovan found the ever dangerous Robbie Keane down the left side. The Irishman was able to cut past Olave and fire a shot into the back of the net for the dagger, assuring the Galaxy their spot in the final. 

"In the first half we started pretty well and got ahead and then we conceded straight after so that was disappointing," said Beckham. "We came out in the second half and we walked through the tunnel and we heard some of the Salt Lake players saying that we were tired and we were done, but I think that inspired us a little bit. "

Now the Galaxy will enjoy a two week break while they prepare to face Houston in the Cup Final. However, there will not be rest for every member of the club as Keane and Donovan will head off on international duty.

After a trying season that has seen the club advance in nearly every competition that they've been in, the Galaxy will finally get their moment to exhale before their most important game of the season. 

"If any team needs the two weeks off it’s our team," said head coach Bruce Arena. "Hopefully we can get our group ready for the final. It’s not going to be easy. Houston is a very good team, they smacked us around a couple of weeks ago. We know we’re going to have to be at our very best if we hope to win this MLS Cup."

73 comments
  • Colin

    Anschutz only owns 1/2 the Dynamo, so don’t be mad when he only shows 1/2 the attention. BTW, I didn’t see De La Hoya at the trophy presentation in KC? Where’s the love from him?

    Like

  • Colin

    You do realize Keane’s goal was set up by Donovan’s great pass, yeah? And LD saved a goal against Rodgers in the NYRB series…

    Like

  • A wise man once

    He was in the air when he was shoved. If you’re shoved hard enough while in the air you’ll fall. Was he shoved hard enough? I have no clue, the camera angles were horrible.

    Like

  • ViperLAG

    It was a great game but the officiating was pathetic. Especially the line judge on our end (west sideline of the HDC). This pathetic excuse for a USSF ref (sadly all USSF refs are bad) could hardly keep up with last man and that flurry around the box just before the end of the 1st half had many RSL players offsides in the 1st two shots before Beckermans shot off the post. I am happy that the Galaxy one but these refs were doing neither team any favors by calling a clean match. Sad that the MLS cannot get away from using USSF officials and begin to negotiate and hire its own group of refs.

    Like

  • beachbum

    fun match, great commercial for MLS

    Beckham was Man of the Match imho, Sunders too

    Best game for Keane in the uniform, dangerous all night

    lots of other strong perfromances, Juninho for example, and Magee keeps rising

    looking forward to the final

    Like

  • Hincha Tim

    How old is Saunders and is he American? From what I saw in the two playoff games that I watched him in, the dude should be getting some attention as a future USMNT keeper. He’s got game.

    Like

  • Gnarls

    Psssh, 23,000+ on a sh!t weather day is fine. We Californians stay inside when it drops below 60 degrees. Unless you’re sitting in a Space Needle-shaped ivory tower, try to keep it in perspective.

    Like

  • ViperLAG

    CMac, I hear you. I am happy that my beloved club won last night and I was there constantly agonizing for RSL to come back any time we took a lead. They are a great squad possessing a wonderful midfield. You guys will be back next year and most likely the prohibitive favorites to win the MLS Cup next year. But, seriously as I stated above the officiating was poor (I could be using even stronger language). Especially the line judge on our end (west sideline of the HDC). This pathetic excuse for a USSF ref (sadly all USSF refs are bad) could hardly keep up with last man and that flurry around the box just before the end of the 1st half had many RSL players offsides in the 1st two shots before Beckermans shot off the post. I am happy that the Galaxy one but these refs were doing neither team any favors by calling a clean match. At one point I found myself yelling out that I would pay this guy 1K to just keep up with last man! Sad that the MLS cannot get away from using USSF officials and begin to negotiate and hire its own group of refs.
    I can only pray that there will be a decent officiating group for the final (whatever one can call decent in the USSF ranks). Go Galaxy!

    Like

  • Gnarls

    He’s pushing 30 and yes, he’s American. I’ve seen two birthplaces listed: Lake Forest, CA and Grants Pass, OR. That said, I believe he’s been capped for Puerto Rico… oddly.

    Like

  • ViperLAG

    Saunders is 30 and is American.
    Best backup in the league. Will make for an interesting off season if the Galaxy keep Rickets and Saunders. I am guessing that Saunders will become our #1 next season and Ricketts will either play backup or move on. Ricketts is too injury prone these past couple of seasons and Brian Perk our 3rd goalie is a decent backup, hell he even blocked a few PKs against Man City friendly. We always have Magee as our 3rd backup!!! Remember San Jose???

    Like

  • RB

    He’s 30, but if you can believe the Wiki link on him, “In 2008, Saunders made his debut with the Puerto Rican national team, and is now considered to have Puerto Rican sporting nationality”.

    Like

  • CMac

    And that IS good news. Getting a CCL berth was my real wish for the last couple months of the season, once it became apparent that we couldn’t challenge LA for the SS. Would have been great to earn a spot by getting to the MLS cup final, but LA has shown all year that they can play, and they earned it last night.
    Thanks guys, and good luck in the final!

    Like

  • The 10

    “Shoved”, Really? Wouldn’t that mean Williams’ arms were extended? Never happened. Maybe brush or bump, but shove? Sure, tell yourself whatever you need to justify the, shall we say, embellishment on Gonzales’ part.

    He was in the air 3 inches. It’s not like he has a 40″ vertical leap.

    Like

  • Gnarls

    I saw it with my own eyes from 20 feet away. Anyone with a decent vantage point saw. Those who didn’t see it were either watching on ESPN or willingly ignorant.

    Like

  • The 10

    And you’re not wearing galaxy colored goggles right? Is that why the Ian Drake thought it was a questionable (weak @$$) call too, because he’s willingly ignorant?

    Like

  • Matt

    I’m thinking of putting money on the Dynamo winning. I’m sure the payout will be pretty good as most people will assume the Galaxy will win easily. I think Houston have a chance though.

    Like

  • VADCUfan

    I’m afraid I wouldn’t want either Donovan or Beckham on DCU. The style you guys play is effective, but kinda dull game in and game out. Sooo many set piece goals and long balls even when you have the best team in the league. Early goal plus bunkerball equals 90+% of the LAG games I’ve seen this year, and quite frankly that’s not the style I enjoy seeing from the most visible and marketed franchise in the league.

    Like

  • VADCUfan

    Uh, on setpieces I would say they’re pretty damn close. In open play Beckham seems to have the edge, but their effectiveness relative to their salary does not come close.

    Like

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