Galaxy hold off RSL in Western Conference showdown

GyasiZardesGalaxyChivasUSA2 (USAToday)


CARSON, Calif. – If Saturday was a preview of what to expect in the second half of the Major League Soccer season, the fall looks promising for the LA Galaxy. Perennial Western Conference powers Real Salt Lake and the Galaxy squared off under the full moon at the Stub Hub Center on Saturday night, with the Galaxy eking out a 1-0 victory before a raucous crowd of 19,882.

Gyasi Zardes delivered the only goal of the evening in the 20th minute when Landon Donovan dummied a Marcelo Sarvas cross and left Zardes alone with the ball just inside the 18 yard box. Zardes beat Rimando wide and low, but was almost denied. The ball clanged off both posts before spinning into the netting.

Joao Plata was a constant threat for the claret and cobalt, and forced a special save from Jaime Penedo in the 62nd minute when a Tony Beltran cross found his foot on a darting foray into the goal area.

The Galaxy have struggled at times to hold leads and endured a grueling final half hour as Real Salt Lake pressed the attack. RSL managed 13 shots on goal on the evening, forcing six saves out of Penedo, and enjoyed twelve set pieces in the Galaxy half of the field.

But in the end the Galaxy put together a gritty defensive performance, their second 1-0 win in three games, and drew within four points of RSL in the standings. With Omar Gonzalez back in LA, but wearing street clothes and a large walking boot, Tommy Meyer earned the start alongside AJ De la Garza, and turned in a strong performance in helping to preserve the clean sheet. Robbie Rogers turned in another excellent performance and seems rejuvenated in his new job at left back.

The Galaxy finally regained control of the match in a lively extra time, which featured two breakaway runs in on the RSL goal. Rimando first stuffed Donovan on a controversial slide tackle, but couldn’t get away with it twice. On the second breakaway, Rimando took out Sarvas, and this time, referee Silviu Petrescu awarded the penalty. Surprisingly, Sarvas took the penalty kick and was rejected by Rimando in the last kick of the game.

After the third and final regular season match between the sides, both teams leave with a win, a loss, and a draw. In three games, both teams managed exactly two goals against one another.

Next Saturday, Real Salt Lake welcomes the Vancouver Whitecaps at Rio Tinto. Meanwhile the Galaxy, who have held three matches in hand on the rest of the Western Conference since May, play two games this week, hosting the New England Revolution at home on Wednesday, before heading to Sporting Park to take on Eastern Conference leaders Sporting KC on Saturday.

Watch the match highlights below:

  • Neruda

    That was frustrating from RSL but some good moments. The team is starting to get healthy with Ned coming in and doing well.

    The LA based commentators took hometown bias to a new level. If I was watching soccer for the first time I would have walked away thinking Dan Gargan is an all star and that it’s bad when a teams center backs start off possession with passes oh and when kyle beckerman makes a pass backward it’s because he’s frustrated and is out of ideas (and not that he either gets a pass in a tight space and is just relieving pressure or attempting to switch/reset the attack).


    • Dennis

      I gotta agree some of the MLS commentators are such “homers” that it is hard to listen. Better to turn off the sound and avoid the comments that are predictably things like, “that was clearly a red card” when speaking about almost any foul by the opponents and “that was no foul” when speaking about any foul other than a blatant assault committed by the home team (assaults by the home team are usually followed by a comment that the referee should let them play).

      An ocassional disagreement with referees is understandable, but the one-sided whining that goes on is just plain silly!


      • Lil'Zeke

        Thanks for correctly observing this as a thing about life versus being a thing about LA


  • Dennis

    How is this a showdown, the Galaxy, in 6th place are one point ahead of Chivas. True second place RSL are now just 4 points ahead of LA and losing would have been a disaster for LA, but a showdown, really. A better headline would be “Struggling Galaxy eke out a winner to stay one point up on Chivas”


      • Ian

        Exactly. They have three games in hand and they’re seven games unbeaten. How are they struggling?


    • Benny Dargle

      In terms of PPG (since the Galaxy have played 15 games and other teams have played 17-19 games), LA is 2nd.


    • Neruda

      I’m jealous of Robbie keane. I wishe he was on RSL. Him and morales would link up well.


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