The last time the L.A. Galaxy were in town, they took a 2-0 lead 13 minutes into the match at Rio Tinto Stadium, leaving a stunned silence permeating throughout the RSL faithful.
That was April 27, and a lot has changed since then.
Noted Real Salt Lake thorn Mike Magee gave the Galaxy an early lead, and L.A. handed RSL a loss that motivated it to win four of its next six matches. Magee has since been traded to Chicago, and a game in which RSL couldn’t find the back of the net against the defending MLS Cup champions is now a distant memory.
But Saturday’s showdown with the Galaxy at Rio Tinto Stadium will be a test to see if RSL can continue its recently discovered torrid scoring pace. The team has scored 14 goals in its last six league games, most recently a 3-0 drubbing of San Jose at home.
“We can’t get complacent, and I don’t think we will,” said midfielder Ned Grabavoy.
While the Galaxy will be without Magee this time around, MLS star Landon Donovan is gaining form. He’s scored two goals and tallied three assists in eight appearances with L.A. this season.
He will spearhead a Galaxy offense that will threaten the RSL goal, and as Grabavoy pointed out, the goals are coming for his side, but defensively, there have been some lapses. Having held late leads at Montreal, at home against Chicago and against the Atlanta Silverbacks in last Tuesday’s Open Cup match, RSL has been conceding crucial goals when wins have been in sight.
“We haven’t been completely switched on for 90 minutes defensively,” Grabavoy said.
The victory over San Jose sent RSL into second place in the Western Conference, two points ahead of the Portland Timbers.
A shot at grabbing a tight hold of second place and added motivation won’t be too hard to dig up for RSL with the upcoming match at Rio Tinto against the team’s biggest rival.
“We’ve got now several games without being beaten, and we have an opponent that came here and kicked our butt last time,” said RSL coach Jason Kreis. “We have all the ingredients that should make for a really motivated and hungry team come Saturday night.”
L.A. Galaxy at RSL
P Saturday, 7:30 p.m.
TV • Ch. 4