Bruce Arena’s Los Angeles Galaxy begin their 2013 MLS Cup defense on Sunday, Nov. 3 when they take on Jason Kreis’s Real Salt Lake at StubHub Center in Carson, Calif. The Galaxy are the No. 3 seed in the MLS Western Conference and will look to gain the upper hand on RSL at home in the first leg of the Western Conference Semifinals.
Kickoff is scheduled for 6 p.m. PT/9 p.m. ET and will be televised by ESPN. The Live Blog will begin at 4:15 p.m. PT/7:15 p.m. ET. Keep it right here on the View from Avalon and FanSided for continuing coverage of the Los Angeles Galaxy and Major League Soccer.
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T-105: Welcome to the Live Blog between the Los Angeles Galaxy and Real Salt Lake, live from the StubHub Center in Carson, Calif. I am Jo-Ryan Salazar, the Editor of the View from Avalon on the FanSided Network. This is the first leg of the 2013 MLS Western Conference Semifinals. The second leg will be scheduled for Thursday, Nov. 7, 2013 at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah. Kickoff time will be the same as this one: 6 p.m. PT9 p.m. ET.
A little recap of the playoff action so far…in the Knockout Round, the Seattle Sounders shut out the Colorado Rapids 2-0 while the Houston Dynamo defeated the Montreal Impact 3-0. Scores from the conference semifinals: New England Revolution 2, Sporting Kansas City 1…Portland Timbers 2, Seattle Sounders 1…Houston Dynamo 2, New York Red Bulls 2.
T-100: The preview from MLSSoccer.com…
REFEREE: Kevin Stott. AR1 (bench): Kermit Quisenberry; AR2 (opposite): Fabio Tovar; 4th: Juan Guzman
LA 10 wins, 40 goals … RSL 10 wins, 43 goals … Ties 5
2013 HEAD-TO-HEAD: LA 2 wins, 7 goals … RSL 1 win, 5 goals … Ties 0
AT STUBHUB CENTER:
8/17: LA 4, RSL 2 (Keane 56, 67, 86; Gonzalez 75 – Plata 53; Findley 95+)
MLS CUP PLAYOFFS: LA 1 win, 4 GF … RSL 0 wins, 2 GF … Ties 1
The MLS Cup 2009 finalists meet again in the postseason when the LA Galaxy and Real Salt Lake kick off their Western Conference Semifinal series on Sunday evening at StubHub Center. The Galaxy begin defense of their back-to-back MLS titles riding a four-game undefeated streak, after having allowed just one goal in the entire month of October, and rolled to a 4-2 win against RSL in the only league meeting this season in Carson. Real also come into the playoffs having ended the regular season with a four-game undefeated run. The Claret-and-Cobalt’s only MLS title came in the shootout win against the Galaxy in MLS Cup 2009 in Seattle.
Los Angeles Galaxy 4/6
Real Salt Lake 9/2
TIME TO STEP UP
The second season has begun for the LA Galaxy and their ability to rise to the occasion will determine whether or not their quest for a third consecutive MLS Cup is successful.
DEFENSIVE SHAPE KEY TO GALAXY GAME PLAN
The midfield diamond of Real Salt Lake is one of the distinguishing traits of Jason Kreis’ side, but if LA are to be successful on Sunday, they’ll need to unsettle Salt Lake in the center of the park.
SET PIECES KEY FOR BOTH SIDES
In the pivotal first leg, the LA Galaxy will need be mindful of one of their primary struggles this season – defending set pieces—as they look to keep a dangerous Real Salt Lake side off the board.
T-95: “It’s a solid team, very well-organized,” forward Robbie Keane said of Real Salt Lake to LAGalaxy.com’s Larry Morgan. “It’s certainly going to be a difficult game. They have players who have been around for a very long time. It’s up to us as players to take that challenge on and enjoy the occasion and hopefully get the results we want.”
“It starts with their leadership, in (head coach Jason) Kreis, Beckerman, Nat (Borchers), Rimando,” added midfielder Landon Donovan. “Those guys are good leaders and they’re winners. And they’re very talented. You could argue they’re as talented as any team in the league.”
T-90: Ninety minutes to go to kickoff here at StubHub. You’re following the Live Blog of the Los Angeles Galaxy and Real Salt Lake on the View from Avalon. Be sure to refresh the screen for updates as they happen.
T-60: We are now one hour to kickoff here at StubHub Center. Players are beginning warmups as we speak. Up next, some quips from the other games this weekend, followed by lineups.
T-55: “We couldn’t get C.J. a call for a football tackle,” Sporting Kansas City manager Vermes told MLSsoccer.com’s Steve Brisendine by phone after the first leg of the Eastern Conference Semifinals, which moves to Sporting Park on Wednesday. “That blows me away, and right in front of (referee Ismail Elfath). I just can’t understand.”
Look for the play of Real Salt Lake defender/piano carrior Chris Schuler to be a major factor tonight.
“Yeah, I definitely think I bring somewhat of a physical presence to the game,” Schuler told MLSsoccer.com at RSL’s final training session on Saturday. “I enjoy filling that spot on the field. One of my former coaches used to say, ‘Some people carry the piano, some people play it.’ I’m definitely a piano carrier.”
T-49: Omar Cummings was instrumental in the Houston Dynamo’s 2-2 draw with New York. He scored the equalizer in stoppage time and was in the right place at the right time.
“Games like this and scoring a goal is what’s been pushing me,” Cummings said after Sunday’s draw to MLSSoccer.com’s Darrell Lovell. “It’s been very difficult physically, but also mentally. You’re not getting the playing time you’re used to even. Yes, the season’s past, but I’ve still got a lot of important goals to score for this club.”
T-46: The Portland Timbers defeated the Seattle Sounders 2-1 in the first leg of the 2013 MLS Western Conference Semifinals in Seattle, Wash. Instrumental to the result: Ryan Johnson.
“Just doing my job,” Johnson told MLSSoccer.com’s Dan Itel. “If I’m coming off the bench or I’m starting it doesn’t really matter to me because it is what it is. I can’t change anything, I can’t make the coaching decision. Whatever he wants to do, I’m with it and I’m glad it’s worked out well.”
T-45: As for the New England Revolution, goalkeeper Matt Reis was optomistic following their 2-1 win over Sporting Kansas City.
“In this series, it’s like we’re at halftime,” Reis told MLSsoccer.com’s Kyle McCarthy. “We’re up 2-1 at halftime. The more goals we have and the more pressure we can put on them, it’s great for us. It’s going to be a tough task going in there and getting a result, but I like our chances.”
LOS ANGELES GALAXY
Manager: Bruce Arena
2013 Record: 15-11-8 [53 points]
Colors: White tops with blue sashes, white shorts, white socks
18 Jaime Penedo
5 Sean Franklin —- 4 Omar Gonzalez —- 28 Kofi Opare —- 2 Todd Dunivant
29 Gyasi Zardes —- 19 Juninho —- 8 Marcelo Sarvas —- 14 Robbie Rogers
7 Robbie Keane [C] —- 10 Landon Donovan
15 Laurent Courtois MID
25 Rafael Garcia MID
12 Brian Rowe GK
22 Leonardo DEF
16 Hector Jimenez MID
33 Jose Villareal FWD
20 A.J. DeLaGarza DEF
REAL SALT LAKE
Manager: Jason Kreis
2013 Record: 16-10-8 [56 points]
Colors: Red tops with blue and gold accents, red shorts, red socks
18 Nick Rimando
2 Tony Beltran —- 6 Nat Borchers —- 28 Chris Schuler —- 17 Chris Wingert
14 Yordany Alvarez —- 5 Kyle Beckerman [C] —- 21 Luis Gil —- 11 Javier Morales —- 20 Ned Grabavoy
15 Alvaro Saborio
49 Devon Sandoval FWD
26 Sebastian Velasquez MID
16 Carlos Salcedo DEF
10 Robbie Findley FWD
29 Kenny Mansally DEF
24 Jeff Attinella GK
12 Cole Grossman MID
T-15: A small, but vocal RSL contingent is in the house tonight.
T-11: And both teams conclude warmups and will be back in a bit.
T-7: A group of parachuters brought in the game ball tonight. That’s how important this match is.
T-0: Both teams now enter the pitch to the strains of the MLS Anthem.
National anthem by Jamie Lynch.
FIRST HALF START: 6:09 P.M. PT/9:09 P.M. ET
1′ – Here we go! The first half of this first leg, or first quarter of this tie, is underway.
2′ – RSL with possession, but they lose it , and it will be a throw to LA. Gyasi Zardes can’t get that one in. Another throw. Kevin Stott is our referee tonight. He awards a restart to the designated visitors. A little bit of a delay here for an extra ball, and that is sorted out. RSL, looking for MLS Cup No. 2.
3′ – This is Javier Morales. Bad move by Kofi Opare, so it’s up to Omar Gonzalez to bail him out. Not a good clearance by Sean Franklin.
4′ – First save of the match for Jaime Penedo, on Alvaro Saborio. Kyle Beckerman wins a restart.
5′ – Zardes shows his agility. A chance for Robbie Keane but he didn’t get a good foot on it.
6′ – Keane wins a corner for Landon Donovan. What will LA’s No. 10 make of this? Easy collection for Nick Rimando.
7′ – This is Yordany Alvarez. And another collection for Penedo, this time on Ned Grabavoy. Here’s Todd Dunivant. Bad touch from Keano there.
8′ – Good clearance from Zardes. Dunivant with the throw. Donovan wins a restart after the tackle.
9′ – Zardes. Not a good touch from the rookie. Rimando now. Good containment from the Galaxy. Robbie Keane is struggling early in this first leg.
10′ – The other Robbie, Robbie Rogers, can’t get a foot to that ball. Tough apples for what is looking like one of the biggest busts on this team. Tony Beltran with the throw.
11′ – Marcelo Sarvas now. A cross. Chris Wingert is there to intercept. Zardes…misses Donovan!
12′ – Grabavoy plays it forward. Now here is Zardes. Advantage, LA. Donovan…misses! Unbelievable. Sooner or later, this is going to come back to haunt them.
13′ – Here’s a restart for LA. Not a good restart. Back come Real Salt Lake. This is Nat Borchers. Back to Rimando.
14′ – Opare, Gonzalez, Juninho. A throw-in for the Galaxy. Landon Donovan just can’t get a good touch on the ball.
15′ – Now this is just some sloppy play early from Los Angeles. It’s good to have those looks, but if you can’t connect and finish, it will cost you. Another throw for LA.
16′ – Well played, Beltran. He wins a goal kick. Omar Gonzalez with the restart.
17′ – Kofi Opare taking a little bit too much time to decide. Back come RSL. Marcelo with the clearance.
18′ – And LA’s No. 18, Jaime Penedo will clean that up and make a meal of it afterwards in the 18th minute. Can RSL take advantage? Nope. Goal kick.
19′ – Here’s Keane. What a shot. Saved by Rimando.
20′ – Corner conceded by Chris Wingert. Donovan to take. That was heading in Omar’s direction but no dice.
21′ – Here’s Keane again. He wins another corner. Donovan will take this. Short. And that was a poor delivery from Todd Dunivant.
22′ – The Donovan cross is swallowed up by Rimando. Good shift so far for Nick.
23′ – Donovan is double-teamed there. Card.
Yellow card 5 Kyle Beckerman
Real Salt Lake
That’s a professional foul right there.
24′ – Another collection for Rimando. Well, the home fans were applauding that. Back come the hosts. Good sliding tackle on Juninho.
25′ – Yellow card 19 Juninho
Los Angeles Galaxy
And Juninho’s poor season continues. Juni’s going to have to be careful now.
26′ – Luis Gil’s first shot on goal is wide right. And those chances are going to be there for RSL, now with Juninho on a yellow.
27′ – No handball on Nat Borchers. Well, that’s Kevin Stott for you. Good marking of Zardes by Beltran.
28′ – Grabavoy concedes a throw, and Keane wins another corner. Rimando’s facing the firing squad tonight. A shot from Sean Franklin just misses the top left corner.
29′ – It’s a night of poor shooting and physical play all around. Here’s LA again. Zardes. And that will be cleared.
30′ – Opare misses Keane on the delivery. Goal kick, Rimando. Marcelo Sarvas couldn’t get a good foot on that one.
31′ – Take a breather, folks, says Jaime Penedo as he plays it forward. Beltran nutmegged by Zardes, and Donovan plays it back.
32′ – Winning the possession battle won’t help if you can’t convert, and LA is not oonverting. And there’s another corner. Donovan may have to go long here.
33′ – Short again. That’s not going to work. Goal kick to Rimando after another set piece wasted by Real Salt Lake. I bet you that Real Salt Lake’s first set piece will be a corner and it will be converted.
34′ – Real Salt Lake win another restart. Kyle Beckerman to take this. Omar Gonzalez sweeps.
35′ – Rimando almost took too much time to play it forward. Another restart for LA.
36′ – Now it’s a restart for the visitors. Chris Schuler will take this one. Penedo collects. Zardes now…good defending from RSL.
37′ – LA on the attack again, and Grabavoy plays it back to Rimando.
38′ – So far, this has been a very defensive game, but a wide-open one too, minus the finishing. That’s a bad clearance from Penedo.
39′ – Penedo again. He’s been stellar since he joined LA. Good sequence there, but there’s Chris Schuler again.
40′ – Rimando collects. RSL’s bench can’t believe it, it’s a restart to LA.
41′ – You have to say, this is good possession work from Los Angeles. They just haven’t been finishing. And let’s be honest here: that has been the story of the year to a degree for this Galaxy team.
42′ – Unbelievable! How did Donovan miss? How did Donovan miss? Wow. Corner.
43′ – Take two. RSL, living a charmed life tonight. And another miss. Goal kick, Nick Rimando. This may not be LA’s night as we inch closer to quarter time in this series.
44′ – Here’s Gonzalez. And it’s back to Penedo.
45′ – Let’s see how much extra time we get in this first leg first half. One, says Juan Guzman.
45′ + 1′ – That just went by Robbie Keane. This minute went by pretty quickly, it’s halftime.
Los Angeles Galaxy 0 (0)
Real Salt Lake 0 (0)
|LA Galaxy||Real Salt Lake|
|5||Attempts on Goal||4|
|1||Shots on Target||2|
|3||Shots off Target||2|
|17||Open Play Crosses||0|
|1||First Yellow Cards||1|
|0||Second Yellow Cards||0|
|50%||Duels Won %||50%|
|76%||Passing Accuracy %||76%|
This Los Angeles Galaxy team is on the make after so many blown opportunities. If Real Salt Lake are smart, they will take the second half to school this Galaxy team on how to do the simple things, like finish set pieces or convert on the run of play. Expect that in the second half. If not, prepare to be surprised one way or another readers.
As always, refresh the screen to see this Live Blog update. Thanks, as always, for following this Live Blog and all of the Live Blogs on the View from Avalon, part of the FanSided Network.
Look for a more wide-open effort from both sides looking to gain the advantage in this second half, also known as the second quarter of this tie. There will be a special Live Blog on Thursday for the second leg of this Western Conference Semifinal. Look forward to it, readers! Second half…coming up.
SECOND HALF START: 7:11 P.M. PT/10:11 P.M. ET
46′ – The second half begins.
47′ – Omar Gonzalez, and that goes back to Jaime Penedo. Robbie Keane makes a meal of that. Oh my goodness. Too much time. Yep, this is going to be one of those games. Reminiscent of the last Western Conference Semifinal first leg against…you guessed it…the San Jose Earthquakes. Here is Kofi Opare. Juninho, now it goes forward…a cross…Franklin!
GOAL! LOS ANGLESS GALAXY 5 Sean Franklin
48′ – And the fireworks break out. What a blistering one-timer. If at first you don’t succeed, shoot, shoot again. 1-0 LA.
49′ – Marcelo Sarvas. Robbie Rogers now. I did not expect Sean Franklin to be on the score sheet. My oh my.
50′ – Corner! Corner for LA. And that fizzles out, and forces a sweep from Franklin.
51′ – Here is a free kick for the Galaxy. Donovan to take.
52′ – Collected by Rimando. Here’s Javier Morales. Uh oh. Uh oh…that had to be cleared by Schuler. Good clearance.
53′ – Robbie Rogers doesn’t haul that one in cleanly. Now here’s RSL, and that is as bad as a delivery as you will see from the No. 2 team in the West.
54′ – Almost for Javier Morales. Out for a throw to LA.
55′ – Wingert outruns Rogers there. Now here’s Gonzalez. Rogers wins a throw for the hosts. Here’s Franklin.
56′ – Marcelo Sarvas, now it’s Gyasi Zardes. Kofi Opare plays it back.
57′ – Not a good sequence there from LA but they get the ball back.
Substitution Real Salt Lake
IN 10 Robbie Findley
OUT 14 Yordany Alvarez
58′ – Zardes. Keane. And Donovan is offsides. LD is not feeling it tonight, it looks like. Stuff happens.
59′ – Gonzalez. And here’s Zardes again. Great anticipation from Franklin.
60′ – Hour mark. Here’s Robbie Findley. Wingert now. The delivery. Cleared by Todd Dunivant. Nick Rimando hits the reset button.
61′ – Substitution Real Salt Lake
IN 26 Sebastian Velasquez
OUT 20 Ned Grabavoy
Substitution Los Angeles Galaxy
IN 16 Hector Jimenez
OUT 14 Robbie Rogers
62′ – Velasquez and Findley will look to add some offensive punch. Zardes’s shot is blocked. And again, they try to find Franklin but to no avail.
63′ – Wingert with the throw. Gonzalez to Donovan, and Robbie Keane makes a meal of that. He’s making a meal of everything tonight, and I wonder why.
64′ – Good things come to those who wait, and Real Salt Lake will have to show patience. Keane and Juninho gets challenged.
65′ – Alvaro Saborio with a chance. Been a while since I called his name. Goal kick, Jaime Penedo.
66′ – Sarvas. Juninho…how does he butcher that? Boy, it”s been nothing but poor choice cuts at the StubHub Meat Market in Carson.
67′ – Sean Franklin clears. Back come RSL. Another throw. Here come the visitors. Can Chris Wingert find somebody? Nobody. And here come LA.
68′ – No penalty. It will be a corner for Los Angeles. Cleared.
69′ – And another bad clearance from Jaime Penedo. He’s playing a a bit scared this late in the first leg. RSL are called for a foul.
70′ – Chris Schuler with some solid defending again, this time on Landon Donovan.
71′ – Here is Sebastian Velasquez for Real Salt Lake. He loses that. LA attack. Cleared! This is some heavy action from both teams. Still anyone’s tie.
72′ – Good possession again from LA but no dice.
73′ – This is just speculative clearing from Penedo. Makes up for it in a big way with a save on Beckerman. Corner now for RSL. Let’s see what they make of this. This is Morales.
74′ – Punched away by Penedo. Back come Real Salt Lake.
75′ – Robbie Keane is bit too predictable with his shot selection. Very poor night so far for LA’s No. 14. Another corner for LA and Zardes is shaken up. 27,000 in attendance.
76′ – Collected by Rimando. Aside from the Franklin volley, this has been a night of spectacular goalkeeping from Rimando and Penedo. Wasted chance by Zardes.
77′ – Chris Wingert again with the awareness. He’s keeping RSL in this, too.
78′ – Another chance from Luis Gil but this time it’s wide left.
79′ – A through ball for Donovan from Keane is intercepted. Real Salt Lake win a restart.
Substitution Real Salt Lake
IN 49 Devon Sandoval
OUT 15 Alvaro Saborio
80′ – How does Devon Sandoval miss that? It’s been a comedy of errors tonight! Hopefully that will be fixed Thursday.
81′ – Good tackle by Robbie Findley. Velasquez now. Kyle Beckerman. Good block. And here come LA.
82′ – Donovan with yet another wasted chance. Real Salt Lake can’t wait to get back home, I can tell.
83′ – Substitution Los Angeles Galaxy
IN 25 Rafael Garcia
OUT 8 Marcelo Sarvas
Jaime Penedo, you beauty! Great collection.
Yellow card 25 Rafael Garcia
Los Angeles Galaxy
That was quick.
84′ – Good double-marking, but LA win it back.
85′ – Here’s Robbie Keane, wide left. As if we have not seen that before tonight.
86′ – Jaime Penedo will slow things down a little bit. Unbelievable. Both teams are rusty in terms of finishing.
87′ – Wingert’s lucky not to get carded there. And Hector Jimenez is shaken up.
88′ – LA may are thinking about melting some clock. Donovan helps Rimando up. From one Nat to another.
89′ – This may be one of those precarious one-goal first leg results. Keane makes a meal of that. I rest my case.
90′ – Keane is marked. Juninho can’t get a good shot on it. He’s been bad tonight.
Substitution Los Angeles Galaxy
IN 20 A.J. DeLaGarza
OUT 19 Juninho
Three minutes, says Juan Guzman.
90′ + 1′ – Javier Morales…he’s been marked all night, and the Galaxy defense aren’t going to let up just yet.
90′ + 2′ – Free kick. Not a good clearance, either.
90′ + 3′ – Goal kick. This has been a poor night for both teams, Real Salt Lake is just the worst of the two. That’s it.
LOS ANGELES GALAXY 1
REAL SALT LAKE 0
Los Angeles Galaxy lead 1-0
|LA Galaxy||Real Salt Lake|
|11||Attempts on Goal||9|
|2||Shots on Target||2|
|4||Shots off Target||5|
|28||Open Play Crosses||6|
|2||First Yellow Cards||1|
|0||Second Yellow Cards||0|
|45%||Duels Won %||53%|
|76%||Passing Accuracy %||77%|
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