LA Galaxy vs. Real Salt Lake | MLS Cup Playoffs Match Preview
WESTERN CONFERENCE SEMIFINALS - SECOND LEG
LA GALAXY v REAL SALT LAKE
Sun., Nov. 9, StubHub Center (7:30 p.m. ET; ESPN2/Deportes; TSN2/RDS2)
The LA Galaxy and Real Salt Lake have left it all to play for in the second leg of their Western Conference Semifinal Series on Saturday evening at StubHub Center. The teams played to a scoreless draw in the first leg at Rio Tinto Stadium last weekend. It's the second consecutive year the teams are meeting in the MLS Cup Playoffs and the fourth time since 2009 they've met in the postseason, when they met in the MLS Cup Final (won by RSL on PKs). They split their postseason series in 2011 (LA advanced) and 2013 (RSL moved on).
- Chess match: RSL looking for edge by grabbing first goal vs. Galaxy
- WATCH: Can Kyle Beckerman keep up his run of form vs. LA?
- X-Factor: LA's Baggio Husidic is flying under the radar vs. RSL
- LA don't expect away-goals rule to play role in RSL's approach
- Do RSL face the biggest challenge among road teams in 2nd legs?
- WATCH: What to expect in 2nd leg - LAvRSL preview
- RSL says all the pressure is on the LA Galaxy
- No cheap fouls: Gonzalez says LA need to tighten up defense
- Extra Time Radio: Will Keane show up? Can RSL pull off the upset?
- RSL's Cassar faces dilemma in midfield selection
- March to the Match: Can LA break out of their mini-slump?
- LA Galaxy left content after first-leg draw, despite no away goals
- Winless in last four, Galaxy insist they're not in slump
- Analyst: LA Galaxy get their way with shutout at RioT
REFEREE: Jair Marrufo.
AR1 (bench): Eric Boria
AR2 (opposite): Adam Garner
4th: Juan Guzman
WARNINGS (suspended next yellow card): LA: Omar Gonzalez, Robbie Rogers ... RSL: Tony Beltran, Chris Wingert
LA 11 wins, 42 goals … RSL 11 wins, 45 goals … Ties 6
2014 HEAD-TO-HEAD: LA 1 win, 2 goals … RSL 1 win, 2 goals … Ties 1
AT STUBHUB CENTER:
3/8: LA 0, RSL 1 (Plata 80)
7/12: LA 1, RSL 0 (Zardes 20)
MLS CUP PLAYOFFS: LA 2 wins, 5 GF … RSL 1 wins, 4 GF … Ties 2
- The LA Galaxy have now not scored in their last two playoff games ñ both against Real Salt Lake. They have not scored against RSL in 252 minutes in postseason play.
- “A sloppy game,” Galaxy coach Bruce Arena said. “The altitude, the wind, the field conditions made for a difficult game, so to get out here 0-0, we lay it on the line next week. We have to win at home.”
- The Galaxy have also been shut out at the attacking end in their last two games overall, entering the second leg on a 220-minute goalless drought, their longest of the season. The Galaxy were not shut out in consecutive games while scoring 69 goals, most in MLS.
- "We're fine on offense. We know how to score goals. It wasn't crucial that we score," said Landon Donovan. "We had some chances where we need to make a better pass or pull off a play that we didn't, but we have a lot of confidence that when we play at home, we'll create a lot of chances. It's creating the chances - which we'll do - and then hitting the net."
- The Galaxy have not won in their last four matches in all competitions, their last victory coming Oct. 4. But they lost just in 20 games in all competitions played at StubHub Center this season.
- “The most important thing is we have to understand when we're playing these games that you don't lose,” Keane added. “It was a good team performance, everyone defended well as a group. Of course, you want to score as many goals as you can, but if you're not going to do that, you have to defend properly for the team.”
- The Galaxy do enter the second leg with a three-game home winning streak in MLS Cup Playoffs matches, their last home loss coming in 2012 to San Jose. The Galaxy have never lost the second leg of a two-game series at home.
- “If at any point, you had said we have to [win a] game at home to advance to the conference finals, we'd take it,” Donovan said. “It doesn't mean it's easy. It's going to be a task against that team that's so potent offensively, but we have a game at home, we expect to win, and that's the mentality.”
- Galaxy goalkeeper Jaime Penedo was credited with six saves, the most by a Galaxy goalkeeper in the MLS Cup Playoffs since 2010, when Donovan Ricketts had a club-record eight saves in a 1-0 win vs. Seattle.
- “That's what we want him to do,” center back Omar Gonzalez said. “Definitely applaud him on a good game, but it's definitely what we expect from him game in, game out.”
REAL SALT LAKE
- Real Salt Lake have not lost in their last four matches in all competitions, with two victories and two scoreless draws in that span.
- “Right now we’re in a great position, especially with these away goals,” RSL head coach Jeff Cassar said. “If we’re going to create this many chances in LA, then I give us a really good chance.” Added midfielder Kyle Beckerman: “Of course, I'd rather be up 3-0 than 0-0. But we all knew this was a 180-minute game and whether we were winning or we were tied or losing, there's still a lot left to play. We've just got to go do it.”
- Real have also not allowed a goal in their last 403 minutes in league and cup play, with shutouts now in four consecutive matches. They last allowed a goal on Oct. 5 – at StubHub Center, in a 1-0 loss to Chivas USA.
- “Obviously, the goal when you have a home game isn't just a shutout,” Cassar said. “It's to play aggressive, and the boys did that right from the whistle. ... On a different night, I think we have four or five goals.” Added defender Nat Borchers: “I think we put ourselves in a really good position. We didn’t give up any goals to them, because those away goals, they count more this year, so if we tie 1-1, 2-2, 3-3 out there then we go first. I think we have the upper hand.”
- Nick Rimando recorded his 13th career shutout in the MLS Cup Playoffs in the first leg. That’s tied for second-most in MLS history (along with Zach Thornton), two behind all-time leader Kevin Hartman.
- “Nick’s incredible. He’s the best goalkeeper in the league hands down, but Penedo [in the first leg], credit to him,” said defender Tony Beltran. “He stepped up big. There were a couple of big chances we had. ... He is a good goalkeeper, and we’re going to have to work hard to put it past him next week.”
- After missing the final three league games to facial injuries, Chris Schuler returned to central defense alongside Nat Borchers.
- “They did a fantastic job tonight, I think our whole back line did. I think if you watch the game, the chances that they had to do some one versus one defending in the open field, came off our attacking set plays. They were broken plays, they kind of got off on us. But I thought our whole team played excellent team defense. Our back line was extremely sharp,” Cassar said.