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RSL, Galaxy set for open action in first MLS meeting of 2013

George Frey

Real Salt Lake and LA Galaxy face off in MLS action for the first time in 2013, and with memories of 2012 still fresh, there's little reason to doubt that there will be some extra motivation in the minds of the home side.

RSL coach Jason Kreis is predicting an open match — something that's commonly been the case in matches between these two sides.

"I just think it's two good teams that want to play the game," he said after Friday's training session. "I don't think either team is going to sit back and muddle things up, be ultra defensive, so that typically lends itself to good matches. We can play. When we have a team that comes out and plays against us, a lot of times that leads to success on our part."

As such, defending against counterattacks isn't something Kreis is spending too much time worrying about.

"I think first and foremost we have to be very good with the ball," he said. "If we spend the whole night with the ball, we won't have to worry about counterattacks, will we? I'll just tell my team not to worry about it at all."

Midfielder and RSL captain Kyle Beckerman also isn't overly worried about focusing on LA Galaxy's two main attacking prospects — Keane and Donovan — himself.

"When they play, they're just the main dangerous guys, along with Magee and other players that we focus on defensively," he said after training on Friday. "For the main part, we're trying to have a game plan and go about that attacking and trying to impose our game on them."

Despite the talks of a rivalry with LA Galaxy, Kreis is focused on beating one of the league's consistent top teams.

"I don't know, rival or not rival, I just know it's a very, very good team," Kreis said. "It's the cream of the crop in our league and has been really since the inception. They had a few years where they struggled just a little bit, but every other year they're in contention for the Supporter's Shield and trophies. There's no doubt about it."

With all but Cole Grossman fit and ready for the match, Kreis said managing a squad of 30 is getting difficult.

"We have 29 out of 30 players healthy and available, and that makes things really difficult," Kreis said. "It makes things emotionally trying for the players as well, to realize that this is about more than just them continuing to work hard every single day, even if they're not included in the 18s and lineups."