Real Salt Lake stuns L.A. Galaxy in season opener

Published: Saturday, March 10 2012 10:36 p.m. MST

CARSON, CA - MARCH 10: David Beckham #23 of the Los Angeles Galaxy pleads his case to referee Kevin Stott in the first half during the MLS match between Real Salt Lake and the Los Angeles Galaxy at The Home Depot Center on March 10, 2012 in Carson, California. (Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images)

Victor Decolongon, Getty Images

CARSON, Calif. — Four months later, Real Salt Lake got its revenge on the Galaxy.

In a rematch of last years thrilling Western Conference final, RSL scored a whopping three goals in the final 17 minutes at the Home Depot Center Saturday night to spoil the season opener for the defending champs with an impressive — at times dominant — 3-1 victory.

After an L.A. own goal in the 73rd minute leveled the score at 1-1, Javier Morales put RSL in front in the 80th minute and then Fabian Espindola delivered the dagger in the 84th minute on a breakaway finish in front of the stunned sell-out crowd.

RSL was the better team for large portions of the match, but in the 71st minute it was Los Angeles that finally broke the stalemate on wonderful service by David Beckahm and an even better finish from Edson Buddle, who found just enough space between RSLs center backs to head it home for the 1-0 lead.

The Galaxy scored again two minutes later but in the wrong net.

L.A. defender Sean Franklin redirected a Sebastian Velasquez cross into the back of his own net in the 73rd minute leveling the score at 1-1.

Velasquez was the first RSL rookie since Mehdi Ballouchy in 2006 to start a season opener. The humble junior college player was poised throughout the night.

Second-half substitute Morales delivered the game winner in the 80th minute burying a close-range shot in traffic off L.A. keeper Josh Saunders.

The victory was Real Salt Lakes third straight season opening victory, with the previous two coming against the San Jose Earthquakes.

RSL returns to action next Saturday when it hosts the New York Red Bulls.

To read a replay of our live commentary on this game, click here.

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