Carson, Calif. • Fabian Espindola scored twice in a three-minute span to lead Real Salt Lake back from an early deficit and beat the star-studded Los Angeles Galaxy 2-1 at the Home Depot Center on Saturday night.
The victory was the second over the Galaxy at the HDC this season — something no team ever had done — and tightened RSL’s grip on second place in the MLS Western Conference, a position that will allow them to avoid the dreaded new wild-card playoff game.
RSL is 17-11-4 for 55 points, while the Galaxy fell to 15-12-5 and stayed at 50 points.
That’s just one ahead of the Seattle Sounders, who play Portland at home Sunday and after that still have one more game remaining than RSL and the Galaxy.
The game did not start out great for RSL, however.
The Galaxy scored first in the 17th minute when Robbie Keane used his left foot to volley a high-arcing cross from teammate Juninho. That wasn’t a good sign, considering RSL was 2-10-1 when allowing the first goal this season.
But Espindola answered in a big way starting in the 25th minute.
First, he played a nice one-two in the box with Alvaro Saborio, got behind the defense and easily put Sabo’s return pass past goalkeeper Josh Saunders. Three minutes later, he knocked home a header off a cross from Javier Morales for his fifth goal in four games at the Home Depot Center this season.
He nearly bagged a third goal in stoppage time, but had two shots stopped on a breakaway counterattack.
RSL spent the rest of the game fighting off the Galaxy attack and came away with its fourth straight win this season at the Home Depot Center, by a combined 12-2 score. It also has beaten Chivas USA here twice.
The Galaxy’s Landon Donovan came off in the 85th minute after getting his foot stepped on by RSL’s Yordany Alvarez in a challenge for the ball.