Carson, CA – Real Salt Lake end the year where it started, at the StubHub Center against the LA Galaxy. The two matches could not have been more different as LA downed RSL 5-0 in the second leg of the Western Conference semifinal match.
The atmosphere was really electric as the fans began to fill the StubHub Center for the second leg of the Western Conference semifinal for Real Salt Lake and the LA Galaxy. For a night with so much on the line, it was quite a surprise that StubHub was not sold out.
On what could have been the last match in an Galaxy kit for Landon Donovan, he came out with a chip on his shoulder as he was the first to make his mark in the 10th minute on a pass from A.J. DeLaGarza. If this wasn’t enough to deflate the visiting team it was just 10 minutes later when Robbie Keane who appeared to be offsides took an inlet from Donovan to make the score 2-0.
The half ended with RSL down but not yet out with a score of 2-0. It was a bit surprising as the squads came back out that the only substitution that was made was back in the first half when LA brought in Tommy Meyer for a hobbled Leonardo.
Real Salt Lake just couldn’t seem to get things going in the second half as Donovan was able to evade all of the defenders including Rimando who came off of his line in the 54th minute to score his second goal of the night off a pass by Robbie Keane.
Things seemed to go from bad to worse as the LA scoring just kept coming, when Keane was again the one serving up the chances, this time to Marcelo Sarvas in the 63rd minute.
It really seemed that LA had taken all the wind out of Real’s sails at this point and it seemed time to start protecting some of the LA players, when once again Landon Donovan showed us that he still has what it takes to compete on the MLS and the world stage with an amazing hat trick on the night when he once again played off of Robbie Keane to score in the 72nd minute.
It was all going the Galaxy’s way, but what may be an important mistake was made by Bruce Arenas when he left Donovan in, who committed a silly foul and got a yellow card in the 81st minute.
With this lose, the season is over for Real Salt Lake. What an amazing year. Even though the only hardware we won was the Rocky Mountain Cup, it was still a year to be proud of. Nick Rimando took sole ownership of the all time shutout leader in MLS, we had a number of players that were called up for international duty, and made a good showing in the World Cup.
What a year! It will be interesting to see what happens in the off season and what we can look forward to for next year.
Real Salt Lake: Nick Rimando; Chris Wingert; Chris Schuler; Nat Brochers; Tony Beltran; Kyle Beckerman; Ned Grabavoy (Robbie Findley, 65′); Luke Mulholland (Luis Gil, 55′); Javier Morales (Sebastian Jaime, 70′); Alvaro Saborio; Joao Plata
Substitutes not used: Carlos Salcedo; Jeff Attinella; Sebastian Velasquez; Cole Grossman
LA Galaxy: Jaime Penedo; Robbie Rogers (Dan Gargan, 75′); Jose Leonard Ribeiro da Sil; Omar Gonzalez; A.J. DeLaGarza; Landon Donovan (Alan Gordon, 83′); Marcelo Sarvas; Vitor Gomes Pereira Junio; Stefan Ishizaki; Gyasi Zardes; Robbie Keane
Substitutes not used: Tommy Meyer; Brian Rowe; Jose Villarreal; Baggio Husidic; Kenney Walker