The LA Galaxy took on Real Salt Lake on Wednesday night for the first time since their 5-0 rout in the Western Conference semifinals last season. However, the game was delayed for an hour due to severe weather conditions with lightning right before the scheduled start time.
Captain Robbie Keane missed his fifth straight game with a nagging groin injury while Robbie Rogers (suffering from a knock in the last game against the Colorado Rapids) and Juninho (sick) started on the bench.
The Galaxy and Real Salt Lake started the first half pretty sloppy as both teams struggled to gain possession in the wet conditions. Both Omar Gonzalez and Leonardo kept the defense organized even though RSL tried to exploit the back line several times. RSL was also flagged for being offside seven times in the first half (Alvaro Saborio with five and Devon Sandoval with two).
RSL had a chance to open up scoring in the 41st minute when Luis Gil had a great individual effort down the right side of the field and played a cross directly to Saborio who whiffed at it and went out of bounds. LA had a chance to open the scoring in the first half stoppage time when Gyasi Zardes had a wide open header on the right side of goal but his effort went wide.
LA only had two shot attempts in the first half with none of them on target.
The second half was no different from the first as both teams desperately tried to find the back of the net. Goalkeepers Nick Rimando and Jaime Penedo came up big with huge saves for their respective teams.
The Galaxy could have stolen all three points when Jamison Olave pulled down Omar Gonzalez from behind in the box during second half stoppage time and was called for the penalty. Juninho stepped up to take the penalty kick but Rimando guessed the right direction and blocked the shot.
On the other end, Olave, who should have earned his second yellow card for the penalty, had a wide-open shot in the Galaxy’s box but the ball rolled just wide of the net and with that, the game was over.
There is no question that the wet and rainy conditions played a factor in this game but you cannot fault the LA Galaxy as they got a point away from home against an RSL side that hasn’t scored a goal in 496 minutes (San Jose scored an own goal in their game last week).
“We’ll take the point and get out of here,” Bruce Arena said after the game.
With this draw, LA still have not won a game away from Stub Hub in 11 games dating back to last season (0-5-6). They face FC Dallas in Frisco this Saturday, their third game in one week.