BY JONATHAN VERA
CARSON, Calif.– The last time Real Salt Lake and the Galaxy competed for a trophy, it was the 2009 MLS Cup FInal and RSL took the championship. History did not repeat itself on Sunday as this time they lost to the Galaxy on Sunday in a Western Conference final filled with missed opportunities.
"We both created a bunch of chances and they were able to convert two more than we did," explained Captain Kyle Beckerman. "We created the chances and there were a number of saves that Saunders made. It just wasn't our night."
For the most part, RSL was out-muscled and out-played for much of the match, particularly in the second half, with a handful of promising moments, and it was those moments, and knowing RSL had chances on Sunday that sting the most for the losing side.
"When you're home you have that little bit more confidence and you have an extra back or two joining in the numbers, there's options there," said RSL Head Coach Jason Kreis. "But tonight, it's tough to say that when we hit the bar twice in that match. Either one of those go in and it could have been a different night."
"Was it a night we didn't attack well enough?" asked Kreis. "Maybe, but we had chances to score and level the game."
RSL did exhibit great responses to their first two conceded goals by knocking one in via an Alvaro Saborio header after the first allowed goal and Fabian Espindola ringing a shot off the post after the second.
In the final 15 minutes of play, the RSL defenders joined the attacking side of the team leaving the backside completely vulnerable to Galaxy attacks. LA was unable to further capitalize, but they did catch RSL repeatedly on counterattacks as the visitors pressed for an equalizer, which raised the question of whether RSL should have thrown numbers forward so early.
"Absolutely," Kreis said confidently. "When you're down two goals I don't know what else to do. You're not waiting for the last five minutes or the last 10 minutes, you have to go for it and we did. We probably should have been punished for it but such is life, you lose a game by two goals or three goals, it doesn't matter."
RSL may be leaving California defeated, reeminiscing on the missed opportunities will probably sting them for a while, but you cannot fault them for their attitude and their right in the game, nor the season.
"Tonight was a microcosm of the season," Kreis said. "We had our disappointments, we had some moments of brilliance, we had some moments of averageness; we were up, down, and in the middle. But one thing that never changed is that we fought and fought and fought. Even when we were down two goals, there was no quit in out guys."