CARSON, Calif. – Real Salt Lake (17-11-4, 55 points, West #2) battled back after conceding an early goal to beat the L.A. Galaxy 2-1 at The Home Depot Center in Los Angeles, riding a pair of Fabian Espindola goals – his 8th & 9th of the year – to the victory, which puts RSL five points clear of the Galaxy (15-12-5, 50 points, West #3) and six points clear of Seattle (13-7-10, 49 points, West #4 - pending Sunday’s home match against Portland) into 2nd place in the MLS Western Conference. RSL needs just two points gained (or lost by Los Angeles) from its final two games to secure at least the No. 3 seed in the West.
RSL started the match on the back foot, nearly conceding a goal in just the third minute of play. L.A. created the chance on the counter, with FW Robbie Keane leading the break down the right side and squaring a ball to open FW Landon Donovan in the box. It looked like Donovan had a clear shot at goal, but RSL DF Tony Beltran tracked back to deflect Donovan’s shot away from danger.
The Galaxy had another chance in the sixth minute. MF Juninho collected another blocked Donovan shot at the top of the arc, blasting a dipping half volley past RSL GK Nick Rimando but off the crossbar.
L.A. kept the pressure on after Juninho’s near-miss, eventually taking the lead in the 17th through an absolutely fantastic goal by Keane. Juninho set the play up, lofting a long cross in from the right wing to Keane in the left side of the box. The Irish international took it from there, smashing a low left-footed volley one-time past a diving Rimando and inside the far post.
The Galaxy continued to press after Keane’s goal, nearly scoring again in the 20th minute. Both Donovan and MF Mike Magee had looks at goal, but both saw their shots deflected, with Rimando eventually collecting Magee’s effort.
Real Salt Lake responded in the 25th minute, equalizing through Argentine FW Fabían Espíndola. Costa Rican international FW Alvaro Saborio set up the score, playing Espíndola through into the left side of the box for a 1-v-1 with L.A. ‘keeper Josh Saunders. The Argentine attacker made no mistake with the chance, ripping a low left-footer inside the left post from 10 yards to even things at 1-1.
Espíndola scored again just three minutes after his equalizer, putting RSL up 2-1 with a fantastic snap header from 15 yards. Morales provided the assist, curling a right-footed cross into the box from the right wing to set up Espíndola’s header.
RSL dodged a bullet just a minute after Espíndola’s second, nearly allowing L.A. defender Sean Franklin to equalize in the 29th. Franklin created the opportunity on his own, weaving through the RSL backline to before hitting a very weak shot right at Rimando from eight yards.
Saborio had a golden chance to put RSL up 3-1 in the 33rd minute. Galaxy DF Tommy Meyer whiffed an attempted clearance in L.A.’s final third, putting Saborio in on goal for a 1-v-1 with Saunders. Unfortunately for the Claret-and-Cobalt, the Costa Rican international couldn’t take advantage, hitting his shot directly at L.A.’s onrushing ‘keeper.
Saborio’s chance was the final one of the wild first half. Things slowed considerably after the break, with RSL’s defense clamping down on L.A. as the Galaxy searched for an equalizer.
L.A. had a pair of half chances in the 53rd and 58th minutes. The first look was broken up by RSL DF Nat Borchers, who stepped in front of Franklin to win the ball just as the L.A. DF was preparing to shoot from close-range. Juninho had the chance in the 58th, rifling a pair of long-range shots toward the RSL goal that were deflected away by a defender and held by Rimando, respectively.
The RSL defense limited the Galaxy chances during the second half, using possession as a mechanism and coming up with timely plays across the back line as needed. RSL GK Rimando – who has only allowed two goals in his last eight games across all competitions – snared nearly every cross that came into the box.
As the final four minutes of stoppage time commenced, Espindola nearly sealed the victory with a third goal, but saw his 1-v-1 with Saunders stopped initially; Espindola tracked down the rebound and then saw his second bite at the apple blocked by a Galaxy defender.
Two minutes later, another two chances for RSL are left wanting. First, second-half substitute Paulo Junior sent in a low shot from the left side that Saunders tipped out. The RSL midfield chips the ball back into the box, where Saborio attempted a bicycle kick from close range, saved by Saunders.
Real Salt Lake Match Notes – LA 1 : 2 RSL
- RSL is now on a four-game winning streak across all competitions and is 6-1-1 in its last eight across all competitions, tonight’s RSL win snapping a 10-game unbeaten run for Los Angeles that dated back to Aug. 5;
- RSL FW Alvaro Saborio assisted on Espindola’s first goal on Saturday. The strike partners have combined for 5 goals and 4 assists in RSL’s last two games following last Saturday’s 4-0 win at Chivas USA that saw Saborio notch a hat trick and Espindola tally three assists;
- Espindola tallied his second 2-goal effort of the year tonight (the first also coming at The HDC back on June 16 in a 3-0 dismantling of Chivas USA) … Espindola has enjoyed a remarkable 4 games at the Home Depot Center this year, scoring 5 goals and adding 3 assists in two games each in Carson against the Galaxy and Chivas USA … Tonight was the 4th multi-goal game of his RSL career, the Argentine FW now has 35 regular-season goals in 123 career matches;
- RSL extended a club record with its 17th regular-season victory tonight, two better than the 15 secured in each of the 2010 and 2011 seasons, with two regular-season games remaining … Tonight’s road win was the club-record sixth of the year for RSL, which also set a club mark for road points accumulated in a season, with 20 (6-7-2, 20 points away), one more road point gained than the 19 set in 2010 and equaled last year;
- All-time, 10 of RSL’s 25 MLS road wins have come at The Home Depot Center venue on the campus of Cal-State Dominguez Hills, RSL defeating Chivas and the Galaxy five times each … RSL has nine regular-season wins all-time against Los Angeles, Chivas USA and Colorado, the most wins against any one team;
- RSL could be at less than full strength in its next MLS match, Wednesday, October 17 at Seattle … As many as five players – Capt. Kyle Beckerman (USA), GK Nick Rimando (USA), FW Alvaro Saborio (Costa Rica), MF Will Johnson (Canada) and MF Luis Gil (U.S. U-20 Marbella Cup) – could be away for international duty on the Oct. 12 & 16 FIFA World Cup Qualifying dates … Johnson missed tonight’s victory due to the recent birth of his newborn daughter, Arabella Capri, who arrived on Wednesday evening;
- Following next Saturday the Wed., Oct. 17 match at SEA, RSL returns home for a pair of critical matches in the season’s final week … First up, on Tuesday, October 23, is the fourth and final group matchday in the 2012/13 CONCACAF Champions League, RSL hosting Costa Rican champion CS Herediano at Rio Tinto Stadium, needing EITHER a 1-0 shutout victory or a multi-goal win in order to secure passage to next March’s Quarterfinal round … On Saturday, October 27, RSL’s 2012 MLS regular-season finale sees the club host second-year MLS side Vancouver Whitecaps FC, which tied Seattle 0-0 at home Saturday night … Tickets for both matches – expected sellouts at Rio Tinto Stadium – are available at www.RealSaltLake.com/tickets …
- Vancouver is in a battle with FC Dallas – which faces Chivas Sunday – for the fifth and final playoff berth in the West … The 4/5 Western Conference Knockout Game is slated for Wed., Oct. 31, with the winner of that match facing the #1 seed – most likely San Jose – on Nov. 3/10 in a two-leg Conference Semifinal series, with RSL, LA and Seattle battling for the 2 & 3 seeds, seeking to avoid the knockout game, which would necessitate six games in 19 days for the 4 seed to advance to the 2nd leg of the Conference Final.
LOS ANGELES GALAXY 1 : 2 REAL SALT LAKE
SATURDAY, OCT. 6, 2012
THE HOME DEPOT CENTER
Goals by Period 1 2 F
L.A. Galaxy 1 0 0
Real Salt Lake 2 0 0
Scoring Summary: L.A. – Robbie Keane (Juninho) – 17’
RSL – Fabian Espindola (Alvaro Saborio) – 25’
RSL – Fabian Espindola (Javier Morales) – 28’
Misconduct Summary: L.A. – Bryan Gaul (Foul) – 64’
RSL – Tony Beltran (Foul) – 71’
Real Salt Lake (4-1-2-1-2) – Nick Rimando; Chris Wingert, Jamison Olave, Nat Borchers, Tony Beltran (Chris Schuler, 85’); Kyle Beckerman (C); Luis Gil, Jonny Steele (Yordany Alvarez, 77’); Javier Morales (Paulo Jr., 90+); Alvaro Saborio, Fabian Espindola
Substitutes Not Used: Kyle Reynish (GK), Kenny Mansally, Justin Braun, Sebastian Velasquez
L.A. Galaxy (4-4-2) – Josh Saunders; Bryan Gaul, Tommy Meyer (Christian Wilhelmsson, 85’), Omar Gonzalez, Sean Franklin; Mike Magee (Edson Buddle, 61’), Juninho, David Beckham, Marcelo Sarvas; Landon Donovan (C) (Jose Villarreal, 85’), Robbie Keane
Substitutes Not Used: Brian Perk (GK), David Junior Lopes, Bryan Jordan, Michael Stephens
Referee: Baldomero Toledo
Referee's Assistants: Ian Anderson, Fabio Tovar
4th Official: Alejandro Mariscal
Attendance: 27,000 (sellout – 5th of season)
Time of Game: 1:53