LA’s Quest for Title Repeat Ends in Salt Lake

Galaxy gives up two goals to lose on aggregate as RSL Advances to Western Conference Finals
by Jamie Pham   |   Saturday, November 09, 2013

Galaxy of Angels – column on Los Angeles Galaxy (LA Galaxy) & the LA soccer scene.

The Los Angeles Galaxy’s quest for becoming MLS’s 1st team to win three MLS Cups in a row ended Thursday night after they conceded two goals to Real Salt Lake. They were up 1-0 on aggregate after their mediocre win last Sunday and could not find the back of the net to advance onto the next round of the playoffs.

RSL started off pretty strong with RSL manager Jason Kreis reverting back to his traditional diamond formation in the midfield and it made a lot of difference as the team had a lot of scoring chances early on.

However, it only took 35 minutes for them to score when Chris Wingert sent a cross into the box and the 22-year-old Sebastian Velasquez headed it on frame to level the series on aggregate.

LA tried hard to answer back but most of their shots were off frame and only had two shots on goal in 120 minutes of play (one in the 90 minutes of regular time and another in the 30 minutes of extra time).

The tiebreaker came at the 102nd minute mark when Javier Morales sent in a free kick to the far post and an unmarked Chris Schuler stuck out his leg to deflect the ball into goal.

Morales also scored on a free kick when the ball soared over everyone and bounced into goal but referee, Baldomero Toledo, called a foul on Chris Schuler disallowing the goal.

The Galaxy had a few chances to come back at the end of extra time with headers from Jose Villareal and Sean Franklin missing their mark. Juninho also had a spectacular knuckle ball shot from 30 yards out that was smothered by an equally spectacular save from RSL goalkeeper Nick Rimando.

In the end, the Galaxy were outplayed and outworked by a more hungrier and aggressive Real Salt Lake team. They managed to shut down Robbie Keane and Landon Donovan, which not a lot teams were able to do this season.

“We didn’t play well tonight or over 210 minutes,” said Galaxy head coach, Bruce Arena. “We really had our opportunities on Sunday to have a cushion coming in here and didn’t do it. Tonight we failed on defensive set pieces. The win made the game terrible with the field conditions and all that, so it was a really sloppy game, a scrappy game, and they were more opportune on their set pieces than we were, and it was the difference in the game.”

They sorely needed Mike Magee, who was traded to Chicago earlier in the season, to step up and contribute like he has down in the past (6 goals in the 10 postseason games).

Maybe Magic Mike would have helped them move forward.

Jamie PHAM

Pasadena City College
Club Domestic:
LA Galaxy
Club Foreign:
Former tour manager turned sports blogger, Jamie spends loads of time reviewing the Los Angeles sports scene and is a big MLS and USMNT supporter.