Sandy, UT – Two Western Conference heavyweights will meet at Rio Tinto Stadium on Saturday as Real Salt Lake plays host to the Los Angeles Galaxy.
The two sides are coming off results from opposite ends of the spectrum last weekend.
Real Salt Lake ran out to a comfortable 3-0 victory over the San Jose Earthquakes while the Galaxy were humbled in a 5-0 loss to the New England Revolution at Gillette Stadium.
The sizeable margin was a rarity for Los Angeles as it ties the worst defeat in club history, a 5-0 loss to the MetroStars in 2002.
While the five-goal gap can be chalked up as an aberration, the more worrying trend is how the Galaxy fare when they concede the first goal. The club is 0-5-0 in MLS play and 0-7-0 across all competitions this season when that happens.
"Most teams that go down a goal in soccer lose," head coach Bruce Arena told the Galaxy's official website. "It's almost like 80 percent of the time. It's a low scoring sport, so that happens. It's not basketball ... a goal is important in this game. Two goals are really important.
"It's not necessarily [about] composure, it's just making plays, but when you go down 1-0, you can't go down 2-0. It's part of the way of turning it around."
The Galaxy did not perform poorly against New England. They dictated large portions of the match despite conceding the opening goal in the 33rd minute, but the second goal, which came in the 71st, opened the floodgates and allowed the Revs to pile it on.
"I feel like we put our heads down when the second goal came in and that's the wrong reaction to have as a team," Jose Villarreal told the club's official website. "Us being the Galaxy, the defending back-to-back champions, we should not be allowing that to happen.
"If we're down 2-0 then we have to look for a way to tie the game or even win it. It was just a bad reaction from us and we need to work on it."
Salt Lake, meanwhile, cruised to victory against San Jose by nabbing three first-half goals.
The key to victory, according to head coach Jason Kreis, was getting the midfield involved in the attack.
"I think our midfield has shown a real commitment to getting into attacking plays," Kreis said after the match. "They've been into some dangerous spots and even the number of times they end up in the box. Ned Grabavoy is inside the box. Javier Morales is in and around the box to finish plays off. It's higher than it has been.
"When we struggle I feel we don't get the numbers in the attack. When we create chances, we have three midfielders, two forwards, and typically one outside back and sometimes two. For me it just takes numbers, and that takes commitment from our midfielders and outside backs."