Real Salt Lake thrashes Galaxy in battle of MLS powers

RSLRolls (GettyImages)

Any questions about who the best team in Major League Soccer were put to rest by Real Salt Lake, which didn't seem fazed by missing several of its top players.

RSL put on a clinic on Saturday night, dismantling the Los Angeles Galaxy, 4-1, on Saturday night at Rio Tinto Stadium. Javier Morales scored a pair of goals to lead Real Salt Lake to a resounding victory that came without Alvaro Saborio and Will Johnson, who were away on international duty.

Andy Williams opened the scoring for RSL, while Morales netted a brace, including one on a long-range blast. By the time Juan Pablo Angel scored his first LA Galaxy goal, the match was already a blowout.

The Galaxy played without Landon Donovan, as well as Omar Gonzalez, but that did account for the defensive blunders committed by Los Angeles and pounced on by a red-hot Real Salt Lake side that now sits at 2-0 and tied for first place in the West with the Colorado Rapids.

What did you think of RSL's performance? Still have any doubts about Real Salt Lake being favorites to win MLS Cup, or are you reserving judgment because of the players who were missing on Saturday?

Share your thoughts below.

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26 Responses to Real Salt Lake thrashes Galaxy in battle of MLS powers

  1. three11stu says:

    Both teams were missing star players. The difference in my opinion is that you could tell how much the Galaxy rely on their star players. They looked completly lost without Donovan on the field tonight. RSL was missing their top striker, Saborio, and a key player in the midfield, in Will Johnson, and they didn’t miss a beat.

  2. el guanaco says:

    RSL dominated every facet of the game. if it wasn’t for rimando’s mistake on that last goal, it would’ve been the perfect game.

    RSL was also missing key subs (alexandre, alvarez) so i was really impressed that when subs came on (gil, warner) the level of play didn’t drop.

    paulo jr. is going to have a fantastic season. that kid is a terror for defenses!

    go RSL!

  3. Matt says:

    Paulo was fantastic, stepping in for a DP and getting an assist, setting up a penalty and scoring a goal. Great night at the RIOT, big thanks to Donovan for putting country first and making this a cake walk.

  4. taftand says:

    I think this game just shows how deep this RSL squad is. When you have guys like Luis Gil, who normally wouldn’t come close to make the 18, subbing in and playing well against a strong Galaxy side, you know the team is something special. I would have liked to see this match played with both teams at full strength, but I honestly can’t imagine it going any different. RSL still scored 4 goals without Saborio and Johnson, two HUGE offensive threats. Donovan would have changed the game, no doubt, but this RSL side still plays some beautiful soccer. This team is the most fun to watch, and they should run away with the shield this year, especially if they keep performing like this.

  5. Murphy says:

    Just from watching the highlights, RSL looks like a really good team. It also looks like Salt Lake has a great atmosphere at the games. A full strength RSL vs. a full strength NY should be a great game later in the season…

  6. georg says:

    If the Galaxy were favorites to win a title going into this match? RSL came out of the match as a clear contender to win it all again.

    What a spanking!!

  7. Mike22 says:

    that fourth paragraph is a lovely run on sentence and very hard to read but i’m glad RSL won and hope they continue to do so

  8. jleau says:

    RSL looked fantastic! I had to remind myself I was watching MLS. I’m a fan of MLS but slick passing combos is something that is rather rare in this league. RSL ran circles around LA. Forget the score, this whipping was worse than 4-1.

    Makes me excited to watch CCL.

  9. Hincha Tim says:

    RSL looked to be at a completely different level than the LAG. I don’t think LAG having Donovan would have made much of a difference. The simple fact is that RSL passed circles around the LAG midfield. Even without Will Johnson (probably the most underrated midfielder in the MLS) in the midfield, RSL moved the ball fluidly, effectively and consistently. Kudos to Ned Grabavoy who filled in and, as usual, was able to control the ball under pressure and make great passes (Ned is probably another vastly underrated player who the Timbers thankfully were not smart enough to pick up in the expansion draft). It is not too much of a stretch to say that RSL’s game approached at times, the type of slick passing and moving game of Argentina or Barcelona.

    The only (small) aspect of RSL’s game that I am somewhat conflicted about is the offensive play of its outside backs, Wingert and Russell. Both are (especially Wingert) are very solid defensively, so its hard to discount that very important aspect of their game, but their offensive game (overlapping, crossing, passes under pressure) is rather weak. If RSL could find another outside back (I think Tony Belran is growing into this role) that is solid defensively but can make penetrating overlapping runs going forward (think a Dani Alvez type back) that RSL would be virtually unstoppable.

  10. Clark says:

    RSL was amazing last night, the first ten minutes were absolutely electric. RIOT was a cauldron, crowd was rocking even with the crap weather. Such pretty football, the movement, triangle midfield formations, the shape was freaking artistic, everything clicked very well and it showed the vision that Kreis has for this team. Controlled mid-field possession, darting runs forward, deadly from set pieces, funneling counter-attacks to the outside. It was all very Spain-esque We have to repeat that form against Saprissa down there and whatever Mexican team we face in the finals. It’s gonna be an amazing year, get to the RIOT.

  11. Snare says:

    My favorite part watching the game was seeing a close up shot of Morales right when he got the throw in ball that lead to RSL’s third goal. Beckam is seen in the background in close proximity to Morales just watching him easily get the ball and go right by him; he didn’t even attempt to play defense. Granted, it was on TV so depth perception could be off, but if it was as bad a defense lapse by Beckam as it appeared on TV, then that doesn’t look very good for the guy.

  12. dan says:

    I was struck by that too when I watched the mlsnet highlights. He comes across looking pretty indifferent.

  13. Matt says:

    I noticed that in the highlights, I was wondering if Beckham was wondering where he was running off to, haha.

  14. Kejsare says:

    RSL look scary good.

  15. ec says:

    The Galaxy will rack up some wins this season, but they have the same fatal flaw as last year: outside of Donovan there is no speed to that side. Arena keeps bringing in the same type of player – older, skilled, slow. I don’t know how he didn’t learn from last year’s play-off flame out, but the same thing is going to happen again.

  16. Idaho Brian says:

    It was a fantastic atmosphere at RioT last night. The weather was cold, windy, and rainy…but the crowd was electric. I hope to be back sitting in the supporters section again soon.

    RSL looks great this year…they are a joy to watch.

  17. Raff says:

    Oh well, the Galaxy will still win the MLS Cup. After all the best team NEVER wins the Cup. :)

  18. Matt says:

    Except the Crew right, because they did that, so you mean when LA is the best team, they NEVER win the Cup. Right? Or is there a miscommunication?

  19. Mark says:

    Totally agree, Matt. Can’t believe Paulo isn’t even mentioned in this article Ives. Paulo steps in to fill Sabo’s absence, he assists on Andy William’s goal, he draws the PK that Morales would convert, and he scores RSL’s 4th goal on an absolute laser-like precise pass from EspĂ­ndola.

    This kid is so damn entertaining to watch. Did anyone see in 2nd half when he did about 10 step-overs right outside the 18 hoping Fabi would shake off whatever sent him down, pick himself up and take the pass? Well, Fabi didn’t get up and Paulo ended up bouncing the pass off Fabi’s head! It was priceless!

  20. dan says:

    Im sorry but LA had a MUCH bigger dent in their starting 11 than RSL did. Donovan, Ricketts, Gonzalez. Those are BIG players for them. RSL outplayed LA but to say that it was a fair fight of what each time looks like in top form would be downright wrong.

  21. Raff says:

    Using Colorado as an example, where the better teams were teams like RSL, Crew, and maybe FCD. All I’m saying is that a team that barely sneaked into the playoffs could catch a hot streak and blast all the way to the MLS Cup.

  22. Brent McD says:

    RSL is for real. Morales MVP. Salt Lake fans need to start arriving to the game on time. Stadium looked half empty for the first goal.

  23. ryan says:

    i’m a galaxy fan, and you’re right. I am not a fan of david beckham, i believe not only is he an unloyal, unprofessional, and uncommitted player, but his skill set is grossly over estimated.

    Everyone who got all hyped up because he was on our team is ridiculous, the man has not done anything. add the fact that we rely on him, an aging/fading JPA, and chad friggin barrett to carry our team against a quality side like RSL is ridiculous. The galaxy will face a rude awakening when beckham/JPA leave and donovan possibly too. Arena and LA have not structured this team well

    And PS, props to RSL, i know they’re huge rivals of my team, but they play the game wonderfully and fully deserve the cup again

  24. Walt says:

    His skillset is underrated by England. They are not the same without him…Same goes for LA

  25. pcny says:

    I think this just shows you the danger of falling in love with the idea of a DP or a singular savior for the team. Last year, in the height of the CCL Group stages, RSL went in against their rival (and eventual MLS Cup Champs), without EIGHT regulars playing and we got a draw. You need depth to contend in this league, but if you are going to be in multiple competitions, depth is critical.