LA Galaxy defeat Real Salt Lake, 4-2

August 18, 2013

Carson, Calif. -- The Galaxy faced off Saturday at home against Western Conference leader Real Salt Lake, as fifth-place Los Angeles aimed to reduce its 7-point deficit in the standings.

LA head coach Bruce Arena made two noticeable changes to the starting lineup, replacing Carlo Cudicini and Sean Franklin with Jaime Penedo and Leonardo, respectively.

The first half of the game was a defensive battle with each team struggling to create much offense in the final third of the pitch.

However, in the second half, all that defense went out the window and the fireworks began.

In the 53rd minute, RSL got the ball at midfield as both teams had their backs to goal after the ball had been cleared.  Nat Borchers immediately kicked the ball back into the Galaxy defense, finding Ned Grabavoy.  Grabavoy heel-flicked the ball to Joao Plata who was also running away from the goal with the Galaxy defense.  Plata quickly turned to an unexpected shift in the play and was all alone against the goalkeeper, Penedo.  Penedo stretched out to deter Plata's shot, but it wasn't enough as RSL took a 1-0 lead.

The goal gave RSL a lead, but it woke up a sleeping giant as the Galaxy and Robbie Keane responded in the 56th minute.

Juninho played a long ball to the feet of Keane who was battling for position against RSL's Carlos Salcedo.  Keane spun away from Salcedo towards goal, faked Salcedo out of his boots with a left-footed shot, and then put the ball to his right foot as Salcedo was on the ground and placed it in the corner for a 1-1 tie.

Minutes later in the 67th, just as Sean Franklin entered the game to provide speed on the wing for the Galaxy, Franklin crossed the ball into Keane who acrobatically one-timed the shot with his right foot and gave LA a 2-1 lead.

In the 75th minute, Omar Gonzalez -- the Galaxy's defensive anchor who recently signed his multi-year Designated Player contract during the week -- headed the ball to the far post from a Landon Donovan corner-kick for a 3-1 lead.  Gonzalez was quite jubilant about the goal and let RSL's Borchers know about it.

LA finished off the game in the 86th minute when Franklin again assisted on a goal to Keane.

Keane received the ball at the top of the 18-yard box and had two RSL defenders around him and goalkeeper Nick Rimando.  Nevertheless, Keane chipped the shot over all of them and put LA up 4-1.

RSL would get a consolation goal in stoppage time from Robbie Findley, but it was too little, too late, and LA won 4-2.

By Brian Kowalski
Staff Reporter for The Daily Sports Herald

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