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Chris Kamrani
Chris Kamrani covers Real Salt Lake for the Tribune.

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RSL coach sees rival Galaxy as even better than last year

The Los Angeles Galaxy have a lot of what RSL wants.

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They're the defending Major League Soccer champions. They have won the last two Supporters Shield regular-season titles. They're in the knockout rounds of the CONCACAF Champions League — came back from a two-goal deficit to draw at Toronto FC in the quarterfinals last night, in fact — and they might be even better than they were last year, heading into the season-opener against RSL at the Home Depot Center on Saturday night.

"I would think that they will be better," coach Jason Kreis said.

So does almost everybody else.

The Galaxy not only retained a rejuvenated David Beckham to pair with superstar Landon Donovan, they managed to re-acquire key midfielder Juninho after it appeared he would return to his club in Sao Paulo while also adding fellow Brazilian Marcelo Savras.

Dynamic Irish forward Robbie Keane also returns, along with Edson Buddle, who scored 17 goals two years ago before spending last season with Ingolstadt 04 of the German second division.

The only questions with the Galaxy appear to come in the back, where star central defender Omar Gonzalez was lost to a knee injury and goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts was plucked away by the Montreal Impact in the expansion draft, leaving less-experienced Josh Saunders the starter.

"I would think you take the team that they had last year and you essentially add Edson Buddle, how could they not be better?" Kreis said. "Yeah, they traded a goalkeeper, but at the end of the year, they had their choice of who their first and second was — they were both healthy — and they chose Saunders.

"So in their eyes, they traded away their second-string goalkeeper and got rid of a couple of players who really didn't contribute all that much and added a guy like Edson Buddle, and another Brazilian central midfielder who looks to be a good player," he added. "So I don't know how they could be anything but better."

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