The game in 100 words (or less): When folks were skeptical this week, Real Salt Lake fans, it wasn’t because they held some biased grudge against your team; it was because we’d watched them for weeks and saw they were actually playing above their ceiling and regression was inevitable. We didn’t, however, see it coming in the form of a 5-2 thrashing for their first loss of the season, at the hands of the LA Galaxy, who are now rolling right along at the pace everyone expected of them prior to the season. The absence of Robbie Keane has been a blessing in disguise for Bruce Arena’s side (more on that in the return of my MLS Rewind column tomorrow night), and Saturday night’s trouncing saw goals from Gyasi Zardes, Mike Magee, Emmanuel Boateng and Giovani dos Santos during a 26-minute blitzkrieg in the first half, with the 2013 MLS MVP missing his fourth straight game after knee surgery. Steven Gerrard capped the night’s scoring in second-half stoppage time.
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Three Four Five Six moments that mattered
6′ — Rimando saves Gerrard’s PK attempt — Making his 400th MLS appearance Saturday night, Nick Rimando did what Nick Rimando does best (actually, it’s one of roughly 10 things Rimando does better than anyone other ‘keeper in MLS history): he saved the poor penalty kick effort of Steven Gerrard.
16′ — El Burrito heads home at the back post for 1-0 — Somehow, El Burrito out-jumped A.J. DeLaGarza at the back post and headed the ball past Brian Rowe with the back of his head(?). Hey, it counts.
19′ — Zardes curls one home from outside the box — If Zardes is to be a center forward (and he probably needs to be at this point), he has to be enough of a threat outside the penalty area to make opposing defenders respect him when he fires from this spot.
26′ — Magee bundles home from Cole’s cross for 2-1 — In the end, it doesn’t matter how pretty it looks when you put the ball over the goal line, so long as the whole of the ball crosses the whole of the line. Good thing for Magee, that is.
41′ — Boateng slots home for 3-1 — Gyasi Zardes has the best worst first touch in the entire world.
45′ — Dos Santos chips Rimando to the back post — Look away, USMNT fans. You’ve seen Gio score this one in SoCal before, and it didn’t end well.
Man of the match: Giovani dos Santos
Goalscorers: Martinez (16′), Zardes (19′), Magee (26′), Boateng (41′), Dos Santos (45′), Morales (70′ – PK), Gerrard (90+1′)