SANDY — In MLS, they say your fortunes can change in a weekend. Over six weekends, the turnaround can be much more significant.
It’s been six weeks since Real Salt Lake was stunned 2-0 at home by a less-than-full-strength L.A. Galaxy squad, but the clubs have taken different paths since that match.
RSL regrouped quickly from the disappointing performance, posting an impressive 4-1-1 league record with an MLS-best 15 goals. Los Angeles, meanwhile, is 2-4 in league play over the same stretch and is coming off a stunning 5-0 road loss to the New England Revolution last weekend.
RSL defender Nat Borchers is the first to admit the Galaxy loss helped turn things around for second-place Salt Lake.
“I think after losing to them at home, I think we kind of needed a game like that to just kick ourselves and kind of realize, 'OK, maybe we’re not as good as we think we are,' and challenge ourselves more in the following games,” said Borchers.
RSL has certainly done that over the past six weeks, and this Saturday it can avenge that previous loss when the Galaxy make their second visit of the season to Rio Tinto Stadium for a 7:30 p.m. kickoff.
“We don’t like it when people win on our field, so we’re going to go out and high press and play our game. When we get our opportunities, make sure we put them away like we did this past weekend,” said Robbie Findley, who finished with a goal and an assist in last week’s 3-0 win over San Jose.
The first half of the San Jose victory was arguably the best 45 minutes of the season for RSL, something it will hope to build on.
RSL head coach Jason Kreis’ team is going up against a club that’s all over the place right now. Since winning at Real Salt Lake on April 27, L.A. has lost four of six, but its two victories were a 4-1 thrashing at Philadelphia and then a 4-0 win against visiting Seattle.
Landon Donovan told reporters this week that the 4-0 win against Seattle is a much better reflection of the Galaxy right now than the 5-0 loss to New England.
Real Salt Lake will be without Alvaro Saborio, Abdoulie Mansally and Luis Gil this Saturday. None of the three were in the lineup for RSL's win over San Jose a week ago.
Meanwhile, the Galaxy will be missing Robbie Keane and Omar Gonzalez, who are on international duty, and injured Todd Dunivant is a question mark.
None of that matters to Real Salt Lake after what happened six weeks ago.
“It doesn’t matter if L.A. has six or seven injuries and two call-ups. They can still put a team out there that can beat you on any given day. That’s what happened, and I think we took a good lesson from that, and I feel like we’ve performed very well ever since that single game,” said Kreis.
The visiting team has won the past four regular-season meetings between these clubs.
Mike Magee has been a big part of L.A.’s success against RSL the past couple of years, but he was recently traded to Chicago in exchange for Robbie Rogers.
Borchers said the addition of Rogers gives the Galaxy a different look.
“He’s an out-and-out winger. The way we play, it’s tough to get out there in our (diamond) formation and get close to guys like that. I think it’s going to be a really tough challenge marking him on Saturday,” said Borchers.
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