It’s not just that two-time defending champion LA Galaxy beat pretty good team on the road. Let’s look at the understrength squad that flew the Mission Accomplished banner on Saturday at Real Salt Lake.
Landon Donovan was injured and not available. Same for Robbie Keane, so there goes both of the Galaxy’s high-salary Designated Players. Further, goalkeeper Carlo Cudicini was out for this one, leaving the champs to visit Rio Tinto with young goalkeeper Brian Rowe (pictured) making his MLS debut.
Oh, and veteran left back Todd Dunivant was out, injured as well.
So that left the most piecemeal team to get the job done, and get it done they did, 2-0 over Real Salt Lake.
Jason Kreis lamented his team’s poor start; RSL was down two goals inside of 13 minutes. After that, the Utah bunch did respond, but it was Rowe to the rescue time and again. Some of his seven saves of the “outstanding” variety.
What Arena said of his debuting goalkeeper:
He was outstanding. There’s no other way to put it. We obviously felt that, coming into the game, that he’s a good goalkeeper, however he had no experience in the league. You’re always concerned in the first few minutes of the game, but he looked pretty composed right from the start. He had a good save early, and had great concentration to make a bunch of saves throughout the evening. As I said, I thought he was outstanding.”
While Kreis’ side does have several outstanding young men, it wouldn’t be fair to blame this clunker (the first 15 minutes, that is) on inexperience; there was plenty of “been there, done that,” on the field, including veterans Nick Rimando, Nat Borchers, Kyle Beckerman, Javier Morales and Ned Grabavoy.
Highlights from Saturday’s contest: