The last time these two clubs met was near the end of the 2015 season while RSL was still fighting to grab a spot in the playoffs. Despite the LA Galaxy coming to Sandy with a star-studded lineup (Robbie Keane, Giovani dos Santos, and Steven Gerrard to name a few), RSL absolutely plowed through the LA side with a much-needed 3-0 victory. Devon Sandoval earned himself a brace and Javier Morales added another with a penalty spot conversion.
The scoring opened in just the third minute when Morales sent a ball deep into the box to find Aaron Maund, who headed it toward the far post where an unmarked Sandoval was able to put in a left-footed shot past LA goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts. Defender Omar Gonzalez was caught ball-watching which allowed RSL to pull ahead 1-0 in the early minutes.
In the 28th minute of play, Salt Lake would find the back of the net again.
Newly-acquired DP Burrito Martinez was heading toward the end line with the ball when Juninho made a slide to stop the attack, but caught Martinez’s feet in the process and sent him straight to the ground. Referee Kevin Stott immediately pointed to the spot for a penalty kick.
Morales, with his infamous stutter step approach, easily put the ball in the net while Ricketts was caught diving the wrong way and put RSL up to a first half 2-0 lead.
LA had their first great chance in the 39th minute, when Gerrard put a ball in from outside the box to Keane, who turned between two RSL defenders and took a quick shot on goal. Fortunately, the ball went straight at Nick Rimando, who was able to make the save and parry it away out of bounds for a corner kick.
Big Dev capped off his brace in the 53rd minute when Martinez worked his magic on the far side of the 18, dribbling between and around LA defenders in the process. Near the end line, he was able to pop in a cross that found Sandoval once again unmarked, who was able to head it in directly past Ricketts for his second goal of the night.
Rimando had another huge save in the 89th minute to preserve the clean sheet for the home side.
Gyasi Zardes slid a ball into Alan Gordon who found himself behind RSL defenders. Rimando came off his line just in time, made himself big and was able to stop Gordon’s shot. Although Edson Buddle collected the rebound in front of the goal with only Mulholland to beat, he sent his shot high over the goal and into the stands.
Though on paper the teams looked relatively even, RSL dominated the scoreline to notch their second straight win. They finished the game with 11 shots (eight on goal) while LA had 12 shots (four on goal).
Rimando earned his 123rd career clean sheet, making several big saves to keep LA off the board.
Real Salt Lake will visit the StubHub Center this weekend and aim to have another similar result against the Galaxy. This will be the first game of a stretch that sees RSL play six of their next seven matches on the road. After the game against Houston at home on April 30th, they won’t return to Rio Tinto until June 18th against the Portland Timbers.