Carson, CA (SportsNetwork.com) – The Los Angeles Galaxy is seeking to reach
the Western Conference finals for the fifth time in six years as the club gets
set to host Real Salt Lake in the second leg of their conference semifinal
matchup on Sunday.
The two sides enter the second leg locked in a 0-0 draw after the first leg at
Rio Tinto Stadium, thanks in large part to the play of Galaxy goalkeeper Jaime
Penedo, who made six saves in the match to keep his side level.
“I thought we played a great game on both sides of the ball tonight,” RSL head
coach Jeff Cassar said following the first leg. “Obviously, their goalkeeper
had a very, very good night. On a different night, we could be in an
Instead, RSL finds itself on even terms heading into the match at the StubHub
Center, although defender Nat Borchers still believes his team is in a great
position to advance.
“We put ourselves in a really good position,” said Borchers. “We didn’t give
up any goals to them, because those away goals, they count more this year.
That was important. So if we tie 1-1, 2-2, 3-3 out there, we go through. So I
think we have the upper hand.”
The away goals rule definitely changes the equation a bit, and Salt Lake
should feel confident having already earned a win and a draw with the Galaxy
this season, including a 1-0 victory at the StubHub Center.
Los Angeles is the side that must make adjustments after being held without a
goal for the second successive match.
The Galaxy lost 2-0 to Seattle in their final game of the regular season,
while RSL also kept L.A. off the scoreboard in last weekend’s first leg.
A dip in offensive production is not coming at a great time for Bruce Arena’s
side, but defender Omar Gonzalez isn’t too concerned with the sudden lack of
punch in front of goal.
“The only difference in how we’ve been playing is that we haven’t been
scoring,” Gonzalez said. “It just takes one goal for us to kind of switch it.
If we can get that one goal on Sunday, maybe the first goal, then maybe that
will turn things around for us.”
It would also be a big help if the Galaxy’s top three scorers, Landon Donovan,
Robbie Keane and Gyasi Zardes, rediscovered their scoring form.
That trio combined for 47 goals during the regular season, but it’s been a
month since any of them have scored.