Sandy • It’s safe to say the loss pricked RSL’s pride.
In late April, the Los Angeles Galaxy came to Rio Tinto Stadium without Landon Donovan, Robbie Keane and starting goalkeeper Carlo Cudicini, and embarrassed Real Salt Lake with two early goals and a clean sheet.
Since April 27, however, RSL has come alive.
Los Angeles, when it returns to Rio Tinto on Saturday, will be facing one of the hottest teams in Major League Soccer. RSL is 5-1-1 across all competitions since being beaten by the rival Galaxy.
“I think we needed a game like that to kick ourselves in the ass and kind of realize maybe we aren’t as good as we think we are,” Real defender Nat Borchers said of the 2-0 defeat to Los Angeles.
RSL coach Jason Kreis has been pleased with his team’s response.
“Our objective is to try to learn something from every match,” Kreis said. “We learned from that match if we take an opponent lightly we’re going to lose. ... I think we took a good lesson from that and I feel like we’ve performed very well ever since that.”
An RSL squad that had struggled to score early in the season has buried 16 goals in those seven matches, even with leading scorer Alvaro Saborio sidelined with injury for much of the run.
In his stead, RSL has gotten a pair of goals and assists from midfielder Javier Morales in that time. And midfielder Ned Grabavoy, who went more than a year without a goal, has three in the team’s last three MLS matches.
“When we get that ball and go forward, I’d hate to be that other team to be honest, because there’s so much talent and so much creativity,” said forward Robbie Findley, who scored and logged an assist in a breakout game on Saturday against San Jose. “Last weekend showed it. It just comes down to putting the chances away.”
So a streaking Salt Lake team will be in search of more goals — and revenge — against L.A.
“We don’t like it when people come in here and win on our field,” Findley said.
L.A. Galaxy at RSL
O At Rio Tinto Stadium
Kickoff • Saturday, 7:30 p.m.
TV • Ch. 4
Records • RSL 7-5-3 (24 points); Los Angeles 6-5-2 (20 points)
About RSL • The team will be without leading scorer Alvaro Saborio, starting midfielder Luis Gil and defender Abdoulie Mansally, all of whom have been called up to national teams. ... RSL is 5-1-1 across all competitions since losing to L.A. in late April.
About the Galaxy • Mike Magee and Charlie Rugg scored goals in the first 15 minutes of L.A.’s last match at Rio Tinto Stadium to beat RSL 2-0. ... L.A. has since traded Magee to Chicago for winger Robbie Rogers, the first openly gay male athlete to play in North American professional team sports.