SANDY, Utah – The difference between three points and a home loss was easy to pinpoint Wednesday night for Real Salt Lake. The Western Conference leaders know there was one thing that caused them to fall to the LA Galaxy 3-2 at Rio Tinto Stadium: mistakes.
"I thought we approached the game in the right way," RSL head coach Jason Kreis told reporters after the match. "I thought we were really aggressive. We were good with the ball, got the ball in their half the field, strung some nice passes together, created chances to score and took them. I'm really, really pleased with how we started the match, and I'm not pleased with a lot of things from there.”
But after compiling a 2-0 lead, things went downhill at the half-hour mark when defender Tony Beltran sent a poor back-pass to ‘keeper Nick Rimando that Landon Donovan intercepted and calmly put in the back of the net.”
"I think ultimately that was our demise," said Kreis. "Tony had a really lax back-pass to Nick that Landon steals, and then the momentum shifted completely. That's unlike our team."
It got worse 20 minutes later when the usually infallible Jámison Olave gifted Donovan another opportunity, allowing the Galaxy captain to set up Mike Magee for the equalizer. Donovan added a second goal in the 68th minute to seal the deal after LA caught Salt Lake pushing too far up the field for a winner.
"It's pretty bewildering to be up 2-0 and lose a game 3-2," said defender Nat Borchers. "We made some mistakes. We all know we made some bad mistakes in terms of our possession, and they made us pay. Let's give them some credit. They were definitely ice-cold when it came to finishing those chances and they deserve that win.”
While the loss was hard for the players to stomach, the good news is they don't really have time to feel sorry for themselves. RSL host San Jose on Saturday night back at Rio Tinto Stadium in a clash for first place in the Western Conference. With only two days to prepare, the Claret-and-Cobalt don't need to make many adjustments.
"It's pretty easy to clean up," said defender Chris Wingert. "It's mistakes we don't usually make. We just need to avoid those and you have to move on and just do some of those things better."