Real Salt Lake 2-0 Los Angeles Galaxy
Real Salt Lake Head Coach Jason Kreis
On how gratifying the win was after some tough losses:
“It’s huge. I think it just builds an incredible amount of momentum for us. An incredible amount of confidence and positivity. To get that goal in the first half, I think was giant for us. It took a big, big monkey off our backs.”
On how the ball movement helped open things up:
“Yeah, I thought the guys – again – the energy on both sides of the ball when we had it. The movement was spectacular. There were players that were wanting to get forward to take opportunities, to take risks. Then the amount of the work they put in defensively was absolutely spectacular, especially in the midfield.”
On having 10 men in the last 10 minutes:
“The first thing I’m thinking honestly is that I’m probably a stupid coach again. Maybe I shouldn’t have made that sub. I wasn’t trying to analyze in my mind as quickly as I could if I could have held a sub so we wouldn’t have to play a man down. At the end of it all I don’t think you really think about somebody pulling a muscle. It wasn’t due to fatigue, it was due to a muscle pull. But we’ve been there before haven’t we? I think back to the Open Cup match when we went into overtime I think we were playing down a man and for some moments in that game, and in the playoff we were down two men. Guys have been through a lot – every scenario possible in a game this year. They should be well-prepared to hopefully move forward into the next round and beyond.”
On hitting the crossbar and the post:
“Déjà vu all over again, right? Yeah, I did. I started to think to myself ‘it’s going to be one of those nights. Maybe they’ll catch us on a counter and we’ll leave here scratching our heads that we couldn’t put one of those away.” But just a little bit of a different feeling tonight, the whole night: before the game, as the game was going on, the spirit of the crowd tonight. It didn’t feel like there was any lulls from our crowd and often times there is. But tonight I think the crowd did an unbelievable job, they just keep spurring us on and spurring us on. Interesting right? The two guys that scored tonight, I believe it was their first goals of the season, Sebastian’s first goal of his career. This was a playoff series of guys that don’t normally score goals scoring the goals.”
On what was better tonight than the first leg:
“How much time do we have? I just think – I say it to the guys and I’ve said this in the press before. I think sometimes we do too much talking about tactics and shape, and all the other things, the beautiful game, the passing all these things. For me, honest to God, every time Real Salt Lake wants to win the game more than their opponent we win the game. And tonight we wanted it more than the L.A. Galaxy. But I feel like last Sunday they wanted it more than us. I think – I wouldn’t say all the time for everybody – but I would say 90% of the time the team that wants to win more in our league wins.”
On the special feeling surrounding the game:
“Ever heard of je ne sais quoi? I don’t know. It’s just a feeling. I think perhaps it was great that there was so much talk about this difficult thing we’ve been having about playing games at home and games we’re expected to win. I think we’ve had a hard time dealing with that. So everybody was talking about that the last couple of days. I think there’s one thing people forgot – this wasn’t a game we were supposed to win, this wasn’t’ an opponent we were much better than. This wasn’t a game where we could come in and draw and advance. We had to win. We had our backs against the wall. We were the underdogs and our guys went out there and showed what it means to be part of the team and how to treat each other like family.”
On Schuler’s contribution to the series:
“He was massive. Again, a number of balls he stepped in front of from Donovan and Keane today. He made physical challenges and completed the first pass. All those little things were huge for us. Once again this game I walk away from it and I say ‘I’m really happy that Chris Schuler scored the game winning goal because he deserved it.”
On Rimando’s save on Donovan:
“Which one? It’s all a blur. The most dangerous one I remember when he went down on the ground to save it and it bobbled out in front of him, the defender made a good play and I believe that was Schuler. He was there to make a hard tackle on Keane. I only remember because I remember seeing Bruce wanting a penalty. But yeah, I think again this time of year, you need players like Rimando, Beckerman, Morales, Saborio to step up and make huge plays, Borchers, Schuler included. All of those guys did everything and anything possible to win that game, were willing to do whatever it took.”
LA Galaxy Head Coach Bruce Arena
“We didn’t play well tonight. We really had our opportunities on Sunday to have a cushion coming in here and didn’t do it. Tonight we failed on defensive set pieces. The wind made the game terrible with the field conditions and all of that, so it was a real sloppy game – a scrappy game. They were more opportunistic in their set pieces than we were, and that was the difference in the game.”
On Landon Donovan’s and Robbie Keane’s lack of impact in the game:
“They were not factors for us tonight. Give Salt Lake credit, they played them well.”
On his team’s sloppy passes throughout the game:
“The conditions were tough for both teams with the hard field; this field is like playing on the street and makes the ball bounce a lot. The conditions are tough, but both teams had to play in those conditions and they played better than we did. They were very direct. They played balls behind us and put our backs under pressure and scrapped a lot and were hectic in their attack and created some opportunities from that. The last goal, the referee, though the whole game was like a boxing match, decided to call that foul, but in all fairness, we shouldn’t position ourselves to be called for a foul there. They scored. We have to be smarter to play this game in to penalty kicks once we got into overtime and didn’t get it done.”
LA Galaxy FW Landon Donovan
“We had a number of decent breaks. We got the ball in some good positions a number of times, but we got no production. It’s good to get a bunch of corners, but at some point we’ve got to get some real balls in front of the goal and give ourselves a real chance to score. I don’t think that we did that well enough tonight.”
On how the game came down to set pieces:
“They had a number of quality set pieces and [Javier] Morales hits a good set piece. Obviously the wind, and the way it was going, made it difficult, but give [Chris] Schuler credit. He made a great play on that to get his foot on it and put it in. It’s frustrating, but at this point it’s over with and you’ve got to learn. We know that there were a number of errors where we fell short and we just didn’t deserve it tonight.”
Real Salt Lake on Thursday night booked its passage to the Western Conference Championship series, defeating the LA Galaxy 2-0 after extra time at Rio Tinto Stadium to move past the 2011 and 2012 MLS Cup Champions by a 2-1 aggregate score.
RSL MF Sebastian Velasquez opened the scoring in the 35th minute, notching his first career goal to tie the aggregate at 1-1. RSL came agonizingly close to finding a second goal on several occasions in regulation, hitting the crossbar in the 74th minute, banging a shot off the post in the 78th and seeing a goal disallowed in the 85th minute before the match went into extra time. Claret-and-Cobalt DF Chris Schuler finally broke the deadlock in the 102nd minute, finishing a MF Javier Morales set piece to send RSL through.
The match got off to a quick start, with both sides registering early chances. RSL had the first look in the fifth minute, with Captain Kyle Beckerman hitting a shot from distance towards the lower-right corner that Galaxy GK Jaime Penedo held. LA had a pair of half chances in the seventh and 10th minutes. FW Robbie Keane had the first look, dragging a low left-footed effort just wide of the right post. MF Juninho had the second opportunity, curling a free kick over the wall from just inside the arc.
RSL had three half chances in the 11th, 16th and 21st minutes. The best chance came on the first look, with Beckerman picking up a loose corner kick in the left side of the box before chipping a cross to the top of the six, where FW Alvaro Saborio headed just wide.
LA had a good look in the 25th minute. MF Robbie Rogers collected a through ball in the right side of RSL’s box and hit a shot past RSL GK Nick Rimando and across the face of goal. Thankfully for RSL, no LA players were at the back post to tap the chance home.
Velasquez levelled the aggregate score in the 35th minute. The goal was beautifully constructed, beginning with MF Javier Morales finding unmarked DF Chris Wingert on the left flank. Wingert collected the ball, took a touch toward the end line and whipped in a fantastic cross, picking out the onrushing Velasquez at the top-left corner of the box. The 5-foot-7 Velasquez took it from there, brilliantly snapping a header inside the near post to put RSL on the board.
Things quieted down after Velasquez’s goal, with neither side registering anything of note until the 65th minute, when Rimando made a huge save to keep RSL on top. Rogers started the play, getting free in the left side of the box before dragging a ball on frame that Rimando stopped but couldn’t hold. The rebound fell to LA FW Landon Donovan at the top of the six and Rimando made a huge stop, somehow shimmying his way across the ground to block the U.S. international’s first-time effort.
Schuler put one off the crossbar in the 74th minute. The big center back got on the end of a Morales corner kick at the top-right corner of the six, cruelly flicking his header off the bar and out of danger.
Saborio hit the post just four minutes later. Substitute FW Olmes Garcia collected a through ball on the right side, dribbling at the Galaxy defense before getting dispossessed just outside the area. Saborio ran onto the loose ball and hit it with his first touch, slamming a low right-footer past Penedo and off the far post.
Referee Baldomero Toledo disallowed a Morales goal in the 84th minute. The Argentine playmaker curled a free kick in from the left flank near midfield, flying the set piece over the entire scrum, past a frozen Penedo and into the bottom-right corner. RSL players and fans immediately started celebrating what they thought was a good goal, but Toledo brought it back, controversially whistling Schuler for a foul on LA DF Omar Gonzalez.
Garcia had a chance to find the series winner in the first minute of stoppage time, but Penedo came up big, throwing his body into traffic to block Garcia’s close-range effort.
Real Salt Lake took the upper hand in extra time, with Schuler finding the tie-winner in the 102nd minute. Morales had the assist, curling a free kick in from the left flank that Schuler – who made a marvelous run from the top of the box – side-volleyed in from the right edge of the six. The goal was Schuler’s first of the season.
LA turned the pressure on in the final minutes, nearly equalizing on a couple of occasions and looking especially dangerous after Saborio went out injured, forcing RSL – which had already used all three of its subs – to play the final 10 minutes with 10 men.