CARSON, Calif. – Real Salt Lake (12-8-5, 41 points, West #1) fell victim to a Robbie Keane hat trick on Saturday night, giving up four second half goals to lose 4-2 to the LA Galaxy (11-9-4, 37 points, West #4) at StubHub Center.
Despite the loss, Real Salt Lake remains in first-place in the Western Conference, two points ahead of the second-place Colorado Rapids. The Claret-and-Cobalt is also still in first in the Supporters’ Shield race, though second-place Sporting Kansas City would pass the Utah side with a win over the San Jose Earthquakes on Sunday.
Real Salt Lake took the lead early in the second half, going ahead in the 53rd minute through FW Joao Plata. Unfortunately, the Claret-and-Cobalt couldn’t hold its advantage, with Keane scoring in the 56th and 67th minutes, DF Omar Gonzalez adding one in the 75th and Keane completing his hat trick in the 86th before RSL FW Robbie Findley pulled one back deep into stoppage time.
The first half was relatively quiet, with LA registering the best opportunity of the opening frame in the 19th minute. MF Gyasi Zardes collected a ball in the left side of the box, rifling a pass across the face of goal. The dangerous ball caromed off of several players before eventually falling to a Galaxy attacker, who ripped a shot from the center of the area that RSL DF Chris Wingert made a big block on to keep out.
RSL started the second half with a bang, with Plata giving the Claret-and-Cobalt the lead in the 53rd. DF Nat Borchers started the play, collecting a ball near midfield before lacing a pass to MF Ned Grabavoy just outside the top of the box. Grabavoy played Plata through with a fantastic flick, allowing the Ecuadorian attacker to run onto the ball just inside the area before firing past LA GK Jaime Penedo to put RSL up 1-0.
Real Salt Lake’s lead didn’t last long however, with Keane equalizing for LA just three minutes after Plata’s opener. The Irish international collected MF Juninho’s ball in the middle of RSL’s third, turning a Claret-and-Cobalt defender before curling a shot inside the right post from the top of the 18.
LA FW Landon Donovan nearly gave LA the lead two minutes later. The American international picked up a loose ball in the left side of the box, taking a touch toward the corner before turning and chipping a shot over RSL GK Nick Rimando and toward goal. The ball looked ticketed for the back of the net, but Wingert came up huge, racing back to the goal line to block Donovan’s shot with his chest.
Keane put LA up 2-1 in the 67th minute. Substitute MF Sean Franklin made the play, collecting a ball on the right flank and hitting a low cross from the corner that Keane ran onto and touched home from just inside the six yard box.
Gonzalez scored the Galaxy’s third in the 75th minute. The newly minted Designated Player got on the end of a Donovan corner kick at the left post, rising above a RSL defender and flicking his header past Rimando and inside the far bar to give LA a two-goal cushion.
Keane iced the game in the 86th, running onto a Franklin long ball over the top of the RSL back line before chipping the onrushing Rimando to complete his hat trick and give LA an insurmountable 4-1 lead.
Findley gave RSL a consolation goal in the 95th minute, running onto a deflected MF Javier Morales free kick in the right side of the six and slotting home inside the near post with his first touch.
RSL won’t have much time to dwell on Saturday’s loss, returning to action on Wednesday for an important Western Conference clash at the third-place Portland Timbers. Wednesday’s game will kickoff at 9:00 p.m. MT and will be broadcast live on CW30, ESPN 700 AM and 102.3 La Gran D FM/1600 AM.
Real Salt Lake Match Notes – RSL 2-4 LA
- Saturday’s loss broke Real Salt Lake’s five-game winning streak at the StubHub Center (formerly known as the Home Depot Center). RSL had gone 5-0-0 (2-0-0 against LA; 3-0-0 against Chivas USA) at the Carson facility since the start of the 2012 MLS season. In its five-game win streak at StubHub Center, RSL had outscored its opponents 16-3.
- Real Salt Lake’s two goals on Saturday night give the Claret-and-Cobalt 22 road goals in 13 road matches this year. That total is the most in the league, five ahead of the Galaxy, which has the second-most road goals in MLS. RSL’s +2 road goal differential is tied with Sporting Kansas City for tops in the league.
- Saturday’s loss moves RSL to 10-1-1 in all competitions when both DF Chris Wingert and DF Tony Beltran start a match. The defeat drops the Claret-and-Cobalt to 9-1-2 in all comps when DF Carlos Salcedo appears in a match.
- Real Salt Lake MF Javier Morales was credited with an assist on FW Robbie Findley’s late goal. Morales now has five goals and eight assists in 14 career regular season games against the Galaxy. The Argentine attacker leads RSL and is tied for third in the league with eight assists on the year; he is tied for third on the Claret-and-Cobalt with five goals in league play.
- Saturday’s match was the second game this season in which RSL gave up four goals. The previous occasion came three weeks ago, in a 4-3 loss at the New York Red Bulls on July 27. Prior to that match, the last time RSL gave up four or more goals in a game was on July 14, 2012, when the Claret-and-Cobalt lost 5-0 at the San Jose Earthquakes.
REAL SALT LAKE 2–4 LA GALAXY
SATURDAY, AUG. 17, 2013
Goals by Period 1 2 F
Real Salt Lake 0 2 2
LA Galaxy 0 4 4
RSL – Joao Plata (Ned Grabavoy, Nat Borchers) – 53’
LA – Robbie Keane (Juninho) – 56’
LA – Robbie Keane (Sean Franklin, Juninho) – 67’
LA – Omar Gonzalez (Landon Donovan) – 75’
LA – Robbie Keane (Sean Franklin) – 86’
RSL – Robbie Findley (Nat Borchers, Javier Morales) – 95’
RSL – Kyle Beckerman (Dissent) – 57’
Real Salt Lake (4-1-2-1-2): Nick Rimando; Tony Beltran, Nat Borchers, Carlos Salcedo, Chris Wingert (Abdoulie Mansally, 81’); Kyle Beckerman (C); Ned Grabavoy, Luis Gil (Olmes Garcia, 74’); Javier Morales; Joao Plata, Alvaro Saborio (Robbie Findley, 66’)
Substitutes not used: Jeff Attinella (GK), Brandon McDonald, Khari Stephenson, Cole Grossman
LA Galaxy (4-4-2): Jaime Penedo; AJ DeLaGarza, Omar Gonzalez, Leonardo, Todd Dunivant; Hector Jimenez (Sean Franklin, 65’), Marcelo Sarvas, Juninho, Gyasi Zardes (Michael Stephens, 89’); Landon Donovan, Robbie Keane (C) (Jose Villarreal, 92’)
Substitutes not used: Brian Rowe (GK), Kofi Opare, Michael Stephens, Pablo Mastroeni, Jack McBean
Referee: Hilario Grajeda
Assistant Referees: Paul Scott, Jason Cullum
4th Official: Kevin Stott