Galaxy, RSL renew rivalry at StubHub
Carson, CA (SportsNetwork.com) - A pair of heated Western Conference rivals will clash on Wednesday when the Los Angeles Galaxy host Real Salt Lake at the StubHub Center.
It's been an up-and-down season for the defending MLS Cup champions, but the club will try to continue its turnaround with a second consecutive win on Wednesday following a 1-0 result over the Houston Dynamo on Friday.
It was a tight affair from the outset as the best chance of a scoreless first half came in the eighth minute when Houston forward Will Bruin found himself in space and ripped a strike on target that forced Galaxy goalkeeper Jaime Penedo into a big save.
The winning tally came 11 minutes into the second half when Robbie Keane floated a cross into the box that found the head of Alan Gordon, who nodded down and in behind Houston goalkeeper Tyler Deric.
"He's an influence and obviously, he had an assist on the game winning goal," said Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena of Keane's performance. "He's been out for so long and to ask him to play for 35 minutes is pushing it a little bit. I think under the circumstances he did really well."
"Alan does what he does. He's scored four goals this year. He's done really well. He understands how to play at the end of the game. I give him a lot of credit."
Real Salt Lake, meanwhile, is coming off a big win at Rio Tinto Stadium that saw the home side topple former manager Jason Kreis and New York City FC by a 2-0 score line.
The home side opened the scoring after 25 minutes when John Stertzer fired home his first goal of the season off an excellent feed from Devon Sandoval.
Jeff Cassar's side then doubled the advantage four minutes into the second half when Alvaro Saborio did well to free himself of his mark in the box and get on the end of a cross from Luke Mulholland.
"I thought our defending shape was considerably better than it was against Montreal. From our defensive shape we created a lot more of our attack," said Cassar. "That's going to continue to be an area to keep improving on because our attack is better when we defend well. The guys put in an unbelievable effort. That was really close to the complete game that we keep striving for."
"It was business as usual. I know that sounds cliche. We had a job to do," added Cassar about seeing Kreis on the opposite sideline. "We can't be distracted by other things. For them to focus like they did was a huge credit to our players. Looking down and seeing Jason at the other end, that was awesome, seeing Miles (Joseph) and CJ (Brown), all the guys, was extremely special. But we had a job to do tonight and we did that."
This will be the second meeting of the season between the teams, which played to a scoreless draw back on May 6 at Rio Tinto.