The Los Angeles Galaxy ran away with another victory tonight, beating Real Salt Lake 5-2. RSL took the early lead but then answered with four straight goals to take a stranglehold on the night.
Real Salt Lake entered the match as the only unbeaten left in the league. Though after tonight, that is no more. They still, nonetheless, played decent for a majority of the match. But a 30 minute match undid any chance of them getting at least a point back.
Chances come flying
The drama in this match started in the early goings. John Stertzer hauled down Giovani dos Santos inside the area and the ref awarded the penalty. Los Angeles' captain, Steven Gerrard, stepped up to the spot. He never looked comfortable though as he hit a weak effort which Nick Rimando stopped with ease. Rimando is one of the league's best at stopping penalties, but this kick had no power behind it.
Emmanuel Boateng, in the 10th minute, hit a dangerous cross towards the middle of the box. Stertzer though was there to head the ball to safety.
Dos Santos battled with a Salt Lake defender and managed to maintain possession. He took a touch and looked to have Rimando beat, but his effort slammed off the near post. The rebound fell to Mike Magee who had his shot attempted blocked. Then, Baggio Husidic had a go, though the Bosnian's shot sailed wide of the target.
The Galaxy continued to pile on the pressure in the opening 15 minutes. Jelle Van Damme hit a pin-point pass over the top of the defense to release Mike Magee. Magee though, whiffed on his attempt as RSL cleared the danger.
Real Salt Lake open scoring, Galaxy fight back
Against the run of play, in the 16th minute, the visiting side found the breakthrough. Their defense had mounds of stress but remained compact, keeping the Galaxy scoreless. Luke Mulholland sent a cross towards the back post where Juan Manuel Martinez waited. Martinez flicked his header backwards and it found the bottom left corner.
Four minutes later, the Galaxy got the equalizing goal through Gyasi Zardes. The home grown striker battled three Salt Lake defenders at the edge of the box. He then proceeded to hit a blistering curling effort into the far right corner.
Los Angeles never stopped attacking and in the 26th minute, they got their second goal. Emmanuel Boateng raced down the left in acres of space. With the space that he made for himself, he sent a perfect cross to the top of the six yard box. Mike Magee was in the area, made a proactive run to get on the end of it and volleyed in the ball.
There was a third from LA before the halftime interval, this time through Boateng. He initiated the move by playing a short square ball to dos Santos, but continued his run forward. Meanwhile, dos Santos played a pass forward to Zardes. But Zardes could not get a clean touch as the ball scooted away. Luckily, Boateng was in the right spot as he poked in behind Rimando.
The Galaxy could not stop scoring goals in the opening 45 minutes as they found a fourth late on. Boateng again was instrumental in the attacking, making a darting run inside of the box. He slipped, but still managed to get a pass off and found dos Santos. The Mexican international, as he was tuning away, lifted a shot over Rimando, placing it into the bottom right corner.
At the start of the second half, and already down three, Real Salt Lake started to attack more. They brought on Javier Morales as an extra option up front.
But in the 50th minute, Demar Philips threaded a pass towards Yura Movsisyan. The ensuing attempt from Movsisyan went wide of the target. Jámison Olave had a header, in the 53rd minute, sail above the cross bar.
Baggio Husidic, from 30 yards away, hit a soft attempt that fell straight into the arms of Rimando. After they blitzed RSL in the opening 45, this was their first attempt of the second half -- 14 minutes in.
Real Salt Lake cut the lead half with 20 minutes remaining from a spot kick. Daniel Steres seemed to have tugged Yura Movsisyan down inside the box. Javier Morales stepped up to take the penalty shot. He altered his run up just enough to fool Brian Rowe before placing his shot into the bottom right corner.
In the 82nd minute, Ashley Cole and Gyasi Zardes exchanged a quick one-two. The left-back struck a left-footed shot straight at Nick Rimando though.
Los Angeles Galaxy added a fifth and final goal in the first minute of stoppage time. Steven Gerrard fooled two Real Salt Lake defenders with some great technique. Gerrard cut back with such ease that Olave slid the wrong way. The former Liverpool man had tons of room to roam as a result. He took a couple of steps into the area before beating Rimando with a well-placed shot.
The Los Angeles Galaxy will go back on the road next week as they take on Sporting Kansas City. Real Salt Lake head back home to take on a struggling Houston Dynamo.