Real Salt Lake came into Saturday's game on a 5-1-1 tear in its last seven games in all competitions. L.A. has been on a slide, dropping five of its last seven in all competitions, including a harsh 5-nil drubbing by DC United last week. Despite the imbalance, nobody expected a Bruce Arena team to come into Rio Tinto with its tail between its legs, though.
L.A. came out Saturday with swagger, breaking down RSL's midfield and back line like no team has for many games. Thanks to some heroics by Nick Rimando and a terrific goal by Khari Stephensen, it looked, however, like RSL might go into the half up 1-0. But when Landon Donovan's on the field, you can never rule out L.A.
With seconds left in the half, Donovan connected off what appeared to be an inadvertent Nat Borchers hand ball to put L.A. back into the game. RSL came out for the second half and took command, keeping L.A. from getting a shot on goal the entire second half. Olmes Garcia proved to be the difference for RSL, coming on in the 61st minute for Robbie Findley and scoring two world-class goals in the final seven minutes of the game.
Chris Higbee is the general manager for DeseretNews.com. He occasionally writes about Real Salt Lake.