Sandy, UT (SportsNetwork.com) – Jaime Penedo produced a virtuoso display at
Rio Tinto Stadium on Saturday as the Los Angeles Galaxy and Real Salt Lake
played to a 0-0 draw in the first leg of the Western Conference semifinals.
Penedo was called upon to make six saves on the night, preserving a clean
sheet ahead of the return match at the StubHub Center on Nov. 9.
Real Salt Lake nearly opened the scoring in the 11th minute when Luis Gil
uncorked a swerving and dipping shot toward goal, but Penedo managed to tip
the ball over the crossbar.
Los Angeles should have nabbed the go-ahead goal in the 37th minute after a
well-worked move allowed Gyasi Zardes to collect Landon Donovan’s through ball
and fire a shot past Nick Rimando, but Zardes was incorrectly ruled offside by
the assistant referee.
Salt Lake wasted little time in testing Penedo in the second half as the
Galaxy ‘keeper was called into action within the first minute of the restart.
Gil’s low cross was directed on frame by Joao Plata, but Penedo managed to
parry the attempt away with his outstretched hand to keep the hosts scoreless.
Plata produced another tremendous scoring chance in the 69th minute when the
Salt Lake striker latched on to Alvaro Saborio’s splitting pass to get through
on goal, but Penedo denied the Brazilian once more by rushing off his line and
blocking the attempt.
Los Angeles escaped danger again in the 85th minute when the visitors cleared
a corner kick, but only as far as Luke Mulholland at the top of the penalty
area. The Salt Lake midfielder lashed a shot toward goal only to see his
effort sail just wide of the post.
Penedo’s heroics continued until the final minute when Javier Morales pounced
on a loose ball in the box and curled a right-footed shot toward goal, but the
Galaxy ‘keeper managed to get his fingertips to the effort and direct it over