MLS Snapshot: LA Galaxy 1-0 Real Salt Lake

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The game in 100 words (or less): How does Bruce Arena do it? Landon Donovan retired last year; Robbie Keane was an insignificant piece through a dozen games this season; the Galaxy’s midfield is in a constant state of change; and the defense hasn’t had much more continuity itself. And yet, they find themselves fourth in the loaded Western Conference, having played nothing resembling even decent soccer all season. On Wednesday night, they knocked off their old friends, Real Salt Lake, 1-0, at the StubHub Center. Both sides opted to go with mostly first-choice starting lineups, though RSL’s Javier Morales and Joao Plata were only available off the bench.

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Three moments that mattered

7′ — Juninho converts from the penalty spot, 1-0 Galaxy — For whatever reason, Jamison Olave made a sliding tackle with his arm out in front, making contact with the ball inside his own penalty area. A penalty was awarded to the Galaxy, and Juninho beat the penalty-stopping master, Nick Rimando.

23′ — Maganto’s shot flashes just wide of the post — Ignacio Maganto has proven to be quite the useful rookie in recent weeks. His 23rd-minute shot from long distance sailed no more than six inches wide of Rimando’s right-hand post. Maganto’s search for a first career goal continues.

90+1′ — Olave throws an elbow, sees red — It’s probably safe to say that Wednesday night wasn’t the best night of Olave’s career. He threw a lazy elbow toward the face of Keane, and rightly saw red. Keane’s reaction is priceless in its own right, though. The Irishman immediately turns to square up to Olave, only to realize the Colombian has six inches and 40 pounds on him.

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Man of the match: Omar Gonaalez — Yet another Herculean performance in the center of defense for Gonzalez, whose 6 interceptions, 3 clearances and 1 tackle won paved the way for the Galaxy’s second-straight shutout.

LINEUPS

LA Galaxy: Penedo, Gargan, Gonzalez, Leo, Husidic, Zardes, Vayrynen (Walker 82′), Juninho, Maganto, Villarreal (Keane 46′), Gordon (Buddle 74′)

Goals: Juninho (7′)

Real Salt Lake: Rimando, Beltran,Olave, Maund, Mansally, Beckerman, Pecka (Plata 54′), Mulholland, Gil (Morales 54′), Garcia, Saborio (Sandoval 70′)