RSL STORMS BACK TO OPEN SEASON WITH 3-1 WIN AT LA GALAXY
After Own Goal Equalizer, Javier Morales and Fabian Espindola Tally in Last 10 Minutes to Give Utah Side Full Three Points
CARSON, Calif. (Saturday, March 10, 2012) – Just when it seemed like Real Salt Lake might see its 2012 campaign start off the same way its 2011 season ended, the Utah side roared back against the Los Angeles Galaxy with three late goals to register a 3-1 win at The Home Depot Center. While the result might not have avenged last November’s stinging defeat in the Western Conference Championship in the same building, the comeback win in front of a sold-out crowd of 27,000 did allow RSL begin its league slate with a victory in California for a third straight year, following on back-to-back season-starting wins at San Jose in 2009 & 2010.
After an entertaining, but ultimately scoreless, first 45 minutes, the Galaxy took the lead in the 71st minute through FW Edson Buddle, who marked his return to MLS by heading home MF David Beckham’s pinpoint cross just inside the left post. But, much like in last November’s contest, Real Salt Lake equalized within two minutes, as MF Sebastian Velasquez’s cross from the right flank was deflected in by Galaxy DF Sean Franklin, his attempt at a sliding clearance instead bouncing past GK Josh Saunders to even things up at 1-1.
Real Salt Lake would need no help to take the lead in the 80th minute, as MF Javier Morales crashed the six-yard box to knock a loose ball off of Saunders and into the roof of the net to give RSL the lead at 2-1. Striker Fabian Espíndola would give RSL an insurance tally five minutes later, running onto FW Álvaro Saborío’s header at midfield and past Galaxy DF A.J. DeLaGarza into the area before shooting low and right of Saunders to seal the three points for the visitors.
Real Salt Lake Match Notes
- Real Salt Lake’s traveling contingent will be made available to members of the media Sunday afternoon upon arrival at the Salt Lake City International Airport, with the team set to arrive in the Delta Terminal at approximately 3:45 p.m. Media looking for interviews are asked to contact John Koluder in the RSL Communications Department at 801-918-5050 for updates on the team’s travel schedule Sunday afternoon.
- Tonight’s contest saw the debut of MF Sebastian Velasquez, who logged 89 minutes on the left and right sides of RSL’s diamond midfield. The Spartanburg Methodist College product was the first rookie to start in a season opener for Real Salt Lake since Mehdi Ballouchy debuted in Claret-and-Cobalt in the same building on April 2, 2006 against Chivas USA (0-3 L).
- The goal for MF Javier Morales was the first for the midfield maestro since making his return from a devastating left ankle injury last May. The game-winning goal was his ninth in an RSL uniform, tying him with Robbie Findley and Álvaro Saborío for the all-time RSL lead in the category, while his 18th goal overall broke a fifth-place tie on RSL’s career scoring chart with his current head coach, Jason Kreis, and puts him one behind fourth-place Jeff Cunningham.
- Not to be outdone, Morales’ Argentine countryman, Fabian Espindola, scored his 27th regular season goal with Real Salt Lake, putting him two behind Findley’s all-time lead of 29.
- Both Morales (R quadriceps strain) and Saborío (R knee surgery in offseason) were question marks heading into the opening week after rehabbing from injuries all preseason, but the pair would come on as reinforcements in the 67th minute, providing even more spark down the stretch for an already active RSL attack.
- Tonight’s contest marked the 100th regular season appearance for DF Jamison Olave, who was his usual stout self alongside fellow center back Chris Schuler, who showed well in the RSL XI in place of an injured Nat Borchers. Olave is in line for his 100th league start next weekend, while Javier Morales will also hit the century mark in appearances the next time he takes to the field.
- While it’s a little early to talk standings, Real Salt Lake’s three points allowed it to keep pace with San Jose (1-0 v. New England), Vancouver (2-0 v. Montreal) and Colorado (2-0 v. Columbus), each of whom defeated Eastern Conference opposition at home in their 2012 season openers. MLS First Kick weekend will resume Sunday with two more inter-conference affairs – New York at FC Dallas (1:00 p.m. MT, NBC Sports Network) and Chivas USA hosting Houston Dynamo (5:00 p.m. MT, Galavision).
- Real Salt Lake will open the Rio Tinto Stadium portion of its 2012 calendar next Saturday, March 17, when its welcomes the New York Red Bulls to Sandy for a second-straight high-profile affair to begin the season. The lone matchup between the two clubs this year is set for an 8:00 p.m. MT kickoff, while the festivities in Sandy will get underway at 6:00 p.m. with the opening of the Carnival Real pre-game festival on the stadium’s East Lawn. Tickets are still available and can be purchased online at RealSaltLake.com.
LOS ANGELES GALAXY 1 : 3 REAL SALT LAKE
SATURDAY, MARCH 10, 2012
THE HOME DEPOT CENTER – CARSON, CA
Goals by Period 1 2 F
LA Galaxy 0 1 1
Real Salt Lake 0 3 3
LA – Edson Buddle 1 (David Beckham 1) 71
RSL – own goal (Sean Franklin) 73
RSL – Javier Morales 1 (unassisted) 80
RSL – Fabian Espíndola 1 (Alvaro Saborio 1) 85
RSL – Kyle Beckerman (caution, foul from behind) 36
RSL – Javier Morales (caution, excessive celebration) 80
LA Galaxy (4-4-2) – Josh Saunders; Sean Franklin, A.J. DeLaGarza, Tommy Meyer (Chad Barrett 84), Todd Dunivant; Landon Donovan (c), David Beckham, Marcelo Sarvas (Juninho 69), Mike Magee (Michael Stephens 70); Robbie Keane, Edson Buddle
Substitutes Not Used: Brian Perk (GK), Andrew Boyens, Dan Keat, Pat Noonan
Real Salt Lake (4-1-3-2) -- Nick Rimando; Tony Beltran, Jamison Olave, Chris Schuler, Chris Wingert; Kyle Beckerman (c); Ned Grabavoy, Luis Gil (Javier Morales 67), Sebastian Velasquez (Yordany Alvarez 89); Paulo Junior (Alvaro Saborio 67), Fabian Espindola
Substitutes Not Used: Kyle Reynish (GK), Cody Arnoux, Leone Cruz, Terukazu Tanaka
Referee: Kevin Stott
Referee's Assistants: Fabio Tovar, Jason Collum
4th Official: Paul Ward
Time of Game: 2:01
Weather: Clear and 56 degrees