LA GALAXY HEAD TO UTAH

For the LA Galaxy, the 2014 Playoffs will pick up right where they so abruptly ended last year. The number two seeded LA Galaxy will face off against third seeded Real Salt Lake on Saturday, November 1st at 5:00 PM. The game will be televised on NBC Sports Network.

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In 2013 the LA Galaxy took a 1-0 lead in first leg of the Western Conference Semi-Finals to the return leg in Salt Lake. RSL then scored to make it 1-0, knotting the aggregate score at 1-1. This ultimately took the game into extra time where the LA Galaxy came up short. It was game that was dominated by Real Salt Lake and their play frustrated the Galaxy in windy conditions that they simply weren’t prepared to handle. The highlights from last year’s loss are below, if you can stomach them:

2013 WESTERN CONFERENCE SEMI-FINALS 2ND LEG (REAL SALT LAKE VS LA GALAXY)

The LA Galaxy will host the return leg of the 2014 version of the Semi-Finals on Sunday November 9th at 4:30 PM at StubHub Center. Home field advantage will hopefully elevate the Galaxy’s play as this Sunday game will decide who will go on to face the winner of the Seattle Sounders vs the play-in game winner.

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HISTORY

When the LA Galaxy and Real Salt Lake face off against each other, there are immediate memories that spring to mind. Maybe it’s the overall success the Galaxy have had at eliminating RSL? Or perhaps the always entertaining, never-settle-for-a-draw style that seems to permeate this matchup. But ultimately, all roads lead back to the 2009 MLS Cup Final that saw Real Salt Lake lift the Cup at the Galaxy’s expense.

It was a surprise for the Galaxy to make a run at that final, but they did. They marched right up through the playoff format eliminating most teams with ease. And when it came to facing the upstarts from Real Salt Lake, the heavily favored Galaxy could almost taste victory.

It was cold, but it wasn’t raining in Seattle when the Galaxy took on Real Salt Lake. In the 41st minute, Landon Donovan found one of the Galaxy’s favorite “Big-Game” targets, Mike Magee for the opening score. Ultimately, though, the Galaxy would lose Donovan Ricketts to a broken arm, and lose the lead in the 2nd half. From there it went to extra time, a Penalty Shootout, Landon Donovan missing a PK and the Galaxy losing.

It was a hurt that resonated through the Galaxy fan base. To be so close and have it all taken away. The Galaxy learned a lesson.

And perhaps it was that lesson that saw them win back-to-back titles in 2011 and 2012. But the hurt and loss at the end of the 2009 season was blamed on one team, and one team alone: Real Salt Lake.

2009 MLS CUP FINAL: LA GALAXY VS REAL SALT LAKE

REVENGE

The LA Galaxy and Real Salt Lake are familiar foes. They faced each other the requisite 3 times in 2014. They finished, surprised, 1-1-1. In fact the one loss on this record was the 1-0 loss that opened the LA Galaxy regular season and marks the only time the LA Galaxy lost at home all year. It was also a game that the Galaxy thoroughly dominated and were supremely unlucky not to at least get a point out of. In reality, they should’ve have easily gotten three.

3.8.2014 – LA Galaxy 0-1 Real Salt Lake

3.22.2014 – Real Salt Lake 1-1 LA Galaxy

7.12.2014 – LA Galaxy 1-0 Real Salt Lake

But it’s the above referenced games, the 2009 MLS Cup and, more importantly, last year’s exit from the playoffs that should motivate this LA Galaxy team. They need to atone for these costly eliminations and show that the Galaxy are the best team in Major League Soccer in 2014. And that’s despite what Seattle wants to tout with their US Open Cup and their Supporters’ Shield. (It’s a good case though, isn’t it?)

CoG COVERAGE

We’ll be counting you down to Saturday Kickoff. There will be two Podcasts out this week. We’ll also get you a game preview and any breaking news that will impact the Real Salt Lake vs LA Galaxy game on Saturday.

CoG: From the Box will focus on the history between these two Western Conference Rivals. We’ll discuss the 2014 season and how it played out for both teams and how they ultimately ended up facing against each other. A special guest should join us to help out.

Corner of the Galaxy will focus on the 2014 season for the LA Galaxy, the loss to Seattle in the Supporters’ Shield game last Saturday, and will preview the first leg of the Western Conference Semi-Finals between the LA Galaxy and Real Salt Lake.

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