Categorized | MLS, MLS Match Reports

Galaxy win First Leg against Real Salt Lake

Posted on 04 November 2013 by iyeo

Opening the first leg of its Western Conference semifinal matchup against dangerous Real Salt Lake at home, the Los Angeles Galaxy made the most of its opportunity on Sunday evening.

The Galaxy dominated the possession and scoring chances in the match, but it wasn’t until early in the second half that LA put the ball in the back net, and it came from Right Back Sean Franklin, whose long range volley was all LA needed to draw first blood in its 1-0 win at the StubHub Center.

“It was a good effort for 90 minutes,” Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena said. “Our team played well tonight and we certainly had a chance to get a few more goals.”

Franklin’s goal and the first leg win will surely be needed for the Galaxy, as they prepare for what will surely be a hostile atmosphere and a more desperate RSL side in the final leg, which will be Thursday at Rio Tinto Stadium.

“We weren’t good with the ball tonight,” Real Salt Lake head coach Jason Kreis said. “We gave the ball away so cheaply so many times in dangerous spots.”

After a scoreless first half, albeit it with some scoring opportunities, the Galaxy pushed ahead in the 49th minute. Robbie Keane held the ball on RSL’s left side, then played a ball back towards the top of the box. Fortunately, Franklin charged in and fired a laser of a volley for the near post and succeeded, as the ball sailed past a diving Nick Rimando into the back net.

“The ball just came out of the top of the box, I had the time and space and I just tried to keep it on frame,” Franklin said of his goal.

Salt Lake looked for the equalizer shortly after the goal. RSL had a chance in the 67th minute, as Sebastian Velasquez brought down a cross inside the penalty area, but Franklin swooped in and blocked the shot. RSL’s best chance at an equalizer came in the 81st minute, as Chris Wingert played a ball into the six-yard box for Luis Gil. Gil’s presence drew out keeper Jaime Penedo and Gil responded by crossing a short ball towards Devon Sandoval, who was right in front of goal, but Left Back Todd Dunivant marked Sandoval well enough to prevent Sandoval from getting any shot off and play continued despite RSL’s plea for a penalty shot.

“We had a lot of numbers behind the ball, but we really didn’t get pressure to it,” Kreis said.

The Galaxy dominated the first half with numerous scoring chances, but had trouble with its finishing. LA got a chance in the 12th minute, as Gyasi Zardes played a ball forward for a sprinting Landon Donovan, who managed to get behind RSL Center Back Nat Borchers. Donovan sprinted into the 18-yard box and fired a ball past Rimando, but missed the near post. LA got another look at goal in the 19th minute when RSL Center Back Chris Schuler headed a ball down, but apparently did not know that Donovan was there. Taking advantage of the giveaway by RSL, Donovan then sprung Keane, who got inside the 18, but his shot attempt went right into the hands of Rimando.

“We had our chances certainly,” Arena said. “I think Rimando did real well tonight, he looked composed in goal and didn’t make anything easy.”

Salt Lake didn’t pose much of a threat in the first half, expect for a chance in the 26th minute, as Ned Grabavoy touched a ball to Gil, who quickly touched it back to Grabavoy. Grabavoy sprinted for the LA penalty area and played a short cross back to Gil, who fired a shot on goal, but just missed the near post.

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