MLS Snapshot: Real Salt Lake 0-0 LA Galaxy

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The game in 100 words (or less): For 45 minutes, the LA Galaxy, playing away from home, showed little to no interest in playing attacking soccer against Real Salt Lake. It wasn’t until after the half that Bruce Arena’s side completed their first pass into RSL’s penalty area. It wasn’t until the 66th minute that the Galaxy put their first (and only from open play) shot on target. It wasn’t until that same period of time that RSL opened themselves up and ventured forward, either (1 shot on target in the first half, 5 in the second). 12 of 20 teams in the league will qualify for the playoffs this year, which only rewards team for six months of mediocrity followed by two months of good soccer at the end of the season. It’s a shame, because the entire league is suffering from too many games like this one.

[MORE: Recapping last week’s MLS action ]

Three moments that mattered

45+1′ — Zardes’ header goes just wide — Stefan Ishizaki delivered the pinpoint cross to Gyasi Zardes at the near post, where the 23-year-old rose above his nearest marker to get his head on the ball, but Zardes’ header sailed just wide of Nick Rimando’s left-hand post.

77′ — Penedo skies to stop Saborio — Alvaro Saborio picked the pocket of Leonardo not far outside the Galaxy defender’s penalty area, cut inside and uncorked a looping right-footed shot toward the near post, but once again, Penedo took flight to get two strong hands behind the ball.

90+2′ — Rimando with the PK save in stoppage time — The call to award the Galaxy a penalty kick was tenuous at best, which only made Rimando the deliverer of karmic justice when the 35-year-old stonewalled Juninho’s attempt with barely a minute of stoppage time still to play. In truth, it was the fitting end the game deserved.

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Man of the match: Jaime Penedo — The Panamanian stop-stopper came up huge on a number of occasions in the second half, preserving the shutout on every occasion as the Galaxy’s once-potent attack continues to struggle without Robbie Keane (injury) and Landon Donovan (retirement).

LINEUPS

Real Salt Lake: Rimando, Phillips, Vasquez, Olave, Beltran, Beckerman, Mulholland (Saucedo 86′), Allen, Gil, Saborio, Sandoval (Garcia 76′)

LA Galaxy: Penedo, Gargan, Leonardo, Gonzalez, DeLaGarza, Jamieson (Vayrynen 82′), Garcia, Husidic, Ishizaki (Juninho 72′), Zardes, Gordon (Maganto 72′)