Tucson, Ariz. • Adam Henley cut one way, then the other, then eluded an attempted tackle that left Sebastian Lletget on the ground.
Henley was the only non-returner who started for Real Salt Lake in its first preseason match Saturday afternoon, a 3-1 win over the Los Angeles Galaxy. The right back, formerly of England’s Blackburn Rovers, signed this winter as a replacement for injured Tony Beltran.
“Obviously this was our the first time we played together,” said center back Justen Glad, who returned to RSL this week after his first call-up to the U.S. national team. “But I thought it went well, pretty smooth. He’s a smart, intelligent player, he’s athletic, and I’m excited to work with him.”
Henley played solid defense while remaining heavily involved in the attack. His runs up the right side included one in the 18th minute after a through ball by Kyle Beckerman. Henley came up short of a shot on goal by a step.
Glad said after they were pulled off the field, he and Henley sat on the bench talking about their preferences in specific situations.
“If you want to step or drop and stuff like that,” Glad said. “… That’s what preseason’s for.”
Missing from the lineup were center back Marcelo Silva, midfielder Albert Rusnák and Jefferson Silva. Silva and Rusnák have been training in full, per RSL communications, and were held out as a precaution. Savarino had his appendix removed last week, RSL coach Mike Petke said, but he expects him to be ready to return for later in preseason.
“We had certain objectives today and the majority of them were defensively,” Petke said. “We had triggers when we wanted to step up, when we wanted to force them, and from that perspective not all of them were met, but a large majority of them were met and that’s huge for us.”
Petke split the roster into two squads, giving his players 45 minutes on the field at a time to ramp up game fitness. The first group went down 1-0 in the 33rd minute when Michael Ciani put a header past a diving Nick Rimando. RSL’s second group rallied against two different Galaxy lineups with goals by Sebastian Saucedo, Nick Besler and Sebastian Velazquez.