Galaxy win Game 1 versus Real Salt Lake, 1-0

November 4, 2013

Carson, Calif. -- The Galaxy started their playoff quest for a third straight MLS cup with a Sunday night home game against Real Salt Lake.  LA finished third in the West while their familiar playoff foe RSL took second in the conference.

The Galaxy began with an early scoring opportunity in the 12th minute when Gyasi Zardes led Landon Donovan with a ball down the wing.  Donovan headed towards goal and shot with his left past Nick Rimando, but the shot was wide of the far post.

In the 42nd minute, LA threatened again as Robbie Keane passed to Donovan inside the 6-yard box.  However, Keane's pass was cleared out by the RSL defense at the last second.

RSL had few attacking threats of their own with their best chance coming in the 26th minute when Luis Gil had a shot from 17 yards out.  The Galaxy defense quickly closed in on Gil and his rushed shot was wide.

As the second half got underway and the pressure mounted for LA, Sean Franklin answered the call in the 48th minute.  Robbie Keane began the sequence by approaching goal and causing the defense to collapse.  Keane then kicked the ball out and luckily it eventually made its way out to Franklin, thirty yards from goal. Franklin one-timed the shot with power and curve on the ball, leaving no chance for keeper Nick Rimando.  The shot found the corner to give LA a 1-0 lead.

RSL tried to tie up the game with shots in the 65th minute by Alvaro Saborio, and in the 73rd minute by Kyle Beckerman.  But their best second half scoring opportunity came in the 80th minute when Gil received a cross over the Galaxy defense.  Gil collected the ball and flicked it to Devon Sandoval in front of the goal.  Sandoval would have scored, but Todd Dunivant affected his run enough to have the ball sail over Sandoval's head and allow LA to escape a tying goal.

One of the highlights of the game came in the 84th minute when Hector Jimenez headed the ball downfield to Keane.  Keane raced towards goal and shot past Rimando to the far post, but the usually clutch Keane missed just wide.

RSL ultimately was unable to score a goal, leaving LA with the 1-0 win.  The two teams head now to Salt Lake on Thursday for the last game with LA up 1-0.  Since LA only was able to muster a one goal aggregate edge at home, the Galaxy's defense and overall play must be up to the task once more if they hope to advance.

By Brian Kowalski
Staff Reporter for The Daily Sports Herald

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