LA Galaxy lose at home to Real Salt Lake in 2014 season opener

March 9, 2014

Carson, Calif. -- The Los Angeles Galaxy opened the 2014 MLS Season on Saturday night with a 1-0 defeat to nemesis Real Salt Lake at the Stubhub Center.  The loss was a bitter pill to swallow for the Galaxy, as RSL defeated LA in the 2013 playoffs, ending the Galaxy’s hopes for a three-peat of MLS titles.

LA entered this season as the same juggernaut they have been over the course of the previous few years with a sturdy backline that includes Omar Gonzalez, and one-of-a-kind players in Landon Donovan and Robbie Keane.

That star power showed up early, as LA started the game with a strong offensive attack that included a Marcelo Sarvas strike from 30 yards out, a Landon Donovan shot on goal in the box, and Robbie Keane up to his usual tricks.

In the 12th minute, Gyasi Zardes attacked and passed off to Keane who nearly scored to the far post. A great Galaxy opportunity arrived later in the 20th minute when Donovan went around his defender and crossed the ball across goal.  Keane struck the ball with his left foot, but it sailed over the goalpost.

RSL finally got a scoring opportunity in the 21st minute when they took a shot from just outside the 18 yard box, but Jaime Penedo was able to make a stretching save. Again, Penedo was big in the 25th minute when Joao Plata shot on goal from within five yards, but was snuffed out.

One of the Galaxy’s off-season acquisitions is a young striker named Samuel from Sao Borja, Brazil. In the latter part of the first half, Samuel got the ball on the wing and had a RSL defender on him. Samuel attempted a rainbow maneuver over his defender that was partially successful, earning a foul and free-kick for the Galaxy. Juninho’s free-kick was on target, but Nick Rimando was in the right spot for the save.

In the 35th minute, Keane’s bad luck continued when his shot hit the goalpost and bounced out after taking a pass from Donovan.

The roles reversed minutes later when Keane passed to Donovan, and Donovan was unable to score past Rimando from short distance.  As was the case in the home playoff game against RSL in 2013, LA was not capitalizing on their chances.

In the 74th minute, LA's Stefan Ishizaki, who subbed in for Zardes minutes earlier, got the ball on a breakaway and shot to the far post with a defender coming at him, but Rimando made the save.

Ishizaki had another shot shortly later that Rimando was lucky to keep out of the back of the net in the 76th minute.

In the 80th minute, the scoring drought came to an end when RSL's Kyle Beckerman made a through pass to Plata, who slipped the ball past Penedo for a 1-0 RSL lead.

LA countered with plenty of passes and crosses into the box but the RSL defense snuffed out every attempt.

Even in stoppage time when Rob Friend somehow earned the Galaxy a penalty-kick with his Oscar performance fall, Keane’s PK was saved by Rimando and RSL celebrated on LA’s home field with a road win.

The Galaxy’s next MLS fixture is versus RSL on March 22nd in Utah, with LA hoping again to exact revenge and prove that RSL doesn’t have the Galaxy’s number.

By Brian Kowalski
Staff Reporter for

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