Sandy • Real Salt Lake just shut out a Chivas USA team that has scored the second-most goals in Major League Soccer this year, but RSL coach Jason Kreis says his defense still has work to do with the Los Angeles Galaxy coming to town Saturday.
“We just have to be cleaner in our defending so we’re not giving up so many clear-cut chances per game,” Kreis said Tuesday. “The difference with a team like the Galaxy — with guys like [Landon] Donovan, [Robbie] Keane and [Mike] Magee up top — is they’re going to finish those chances and make us pay.”
The Galaxy got a goal and an assist from Donovan over the weekend to snap Sporting Kansas City’s shutout streak and earn L.A.’s third win of the year.
RSL has had success against the Galaxy lately, beating L.A. twice last season on the road and going up 2-0 at Rio Tinto Stadium before a trio of defensive lapses cost Salt Lake three points.
“We had the game pretty much sealed in the first half,” Kreis said of last season’s lone loss to the Galaxy. “We’re up 2-nil and we gave away a really bad goal in the back, and the momentum shifted to them. We know with a team that’s as lethal as they are, and as deadly on the counterattack as they are, we have to be really, really good on the ball.”
Midfielder Kyle Beckerman said last season’s lapses are still in the players’ minds.
“It’s always going to be a tough game,” he said. “But last year it was more of the fluke-type things that happened [in the loss], things that you don’t normally see from our players. Hopefully that helps us keep our focus even tighter.”
After missing last weekend’s win over Chivas with a dislocated rib, Beckerman was back on the training field with RSL on Tuesday.
“It’s feeling good, feeling good,” the captain said. “A couple days’ rest was big for me.”
Beckerman appears ready to reclaim his spot in the starting lineup. If he cannot go, however, Kreis has been pleased with the recent play of backup Yordany Alvarez.
Javier Morales’ game-winner against Chivas USA is up for MLS’s Goal of the Week.
The midfielder’s 53rd-minute header came off an Alvaro Saborio cross and was the match’s lone goal. It’s the second week in a row a Real player has been up for the distinction.
L.A. Galaxy at RSL
P Saturday, 7 p.m.
TV • CW30