Sandy, UT (Sports Network) - The Los Angeles Galaxy and Real Salt Lake have
emerged as two of the best teams in the Western Conference in recent years,
and they will tangle once more at Rio Tinto Stadium on Saturday.
Both teams are coming off wins in their last outing, with Salt Lake opening a
three-game homestand by securing a 1-0 win over Chivas USA, while the Galaxy
downed Sporting Kansas City, 2-0.
Three points was important for both sides, but maybe more crucial is how both
arrived at the result.
For the Galaxy, the win over Sporting saw the team's back line come together
for the first time all season, while Landon Donovan showed flashes of his old
form as he netted one goal and set up another in the win.
For the first time this season, Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena was able to put
out a back line of Omar Gonzalez, A.J. DeLaGarza, Todd Dunivant and Sean
Franklin, which Dunivant felt was a big reason why the club was able to keep a
"We know each other well, we have always played well together, and it has only
gotten stronger over time," Dunivant said. "It was nice to have the group back
and we have a lot of good players on this team so, it's not like we can't have
other guys in there. This four has done very well and tonight was another
Donovan's performance was another bright spot, but the Galaxy could be short
on attacking options after the club revealed on Friday that both Donovan and
fellow forward Robbie Keane are questionable because of injury problems.
The Unites States international suffered a leg strain in the win over Sporting
and hasn't trained this week, while Keane also may need to be replaced in the
lineup as he continues to battle an ankle issue.
Salt Lake head coach Jason Kreis was encouraged by the performance of his
defense, but still feels they gave away too many chances in the win over
"I still think it's coming together," said Kreis when asked about his team's
play in defense. "I really felt that there were still too many clear-cut
chances against us tonight in the first half. I think there was one or two
that were really clear-cut against us; I think that you are ready for that
when you're winning a game and its late in the match, but if it's happening in
the first half then I think we need to look at it and say how can we tighten
the ship up a little bit."
Kreis has goalkeeper Nick Rimando to thank for preserving the clean sheet
after he saved a first-half penalty kick prior to Javier Morales scoring the
lone goal shortly after halftime.
The victory was a good way to start the three-game home stretch, and Rimando
is hoping his team can carry that momentum into its next two games at home.
"We don't want to chase three points too much, especially at home," Rimando
said. "We have to keep on going, though. This is only one game out of a three-
game stretch. The goal is nine points, but I don't think it's out of our reach
if we continue to play like this."
The Sports Network