LA Galaxy vs. Real Salt Lake: Final score 1-0, both teams will like their chances midweek
The Los Angeles Galaxy couldn't make the most of their chances in the first leg of their Western Conference semifinal series against Real Salt Lake, but they're still heading into the second leg with a lead, thanks to Sean Franklin. He fired them to a 1-0 win with an absolute screamer early in the second half, striking from 30 yards.
Real Salt Lake started the game with a midfield setup slightly different than their normal configuration. Instead of playing Kyle Beckerman at the base of a diamond midfield, Jason Kreis trotted out a narrow 4-2-3-1 formation with Yordany Alvarez next to Beckerman. It didn't work, as LA had no problem going through them to create chances in the first half.
However, RSL's back line and Nick Rimando did enough to keep LA off the scoreboard early and send the two sides into the half level. The biggest chance came in the 32nd minute when Landon Donovan looked to have a tap-in, but Chris Schuler made an excellent recovery, stretching to put the ball out for a corner. It was one of many interceptions on the night for Schuler, arguably RSL's man of the match.
Franklin's big tie-changing goal came in the 48th minute. He was completely unmarked when Robbie Keane found him outside the penalty box in the center of the pitch and had plenty of time to line up a shot, which he made the most of. He hit a perfect strike that swerved away from Rimando and flew into the side of the net to give LA the lead.
RSL made some substitutions that had a major impact on the game, changing to their regular 4-4-2 diamond formation in the 57th minute. They were much better in the final 30 minutes, but never found a goal. They came closest seconds after Devon Sandoval came on, with the rookie target man nearly getting on the end of a cross by Chris Wingert in front of an empty net, but missing by an inch.
Los Angeles: Penedo, Dunivant, Opare, Gonzalez, Franklin, Zardes, Sarvas (Garcia 83'), Juninho (Delagarza 90'), Rogers (Jimenez 61'), Donovan, Keane
Goals: Franklin (48')
Salt Lake: Rimando, Wingert, Schuler, Borchers, Beltran, Beckerman, Alvarez (Findley 57'), Grabavoy (Velazquez 61'), Morales, Gil, Saborio (Sandoval 79')
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