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Statement win from an undermanned LA Galaxy

Apr 28, 2013, 8:05 AM EDT

Brian Rowe

It’s not just that two-time defending champion LA Galaxy beat pretty good team on the road. Let’s look at the understrength squad that flew the Mission Accomplished banner on Saturday at Real Salt Lake.

Landon Donovan was injured and not available. Same for Robbie Keane, so there goes both of the Galaxy’s high-salary Designated Players. Further, goalkeeper Carlo Cudicini was out for this one, leaving the champs to visit Rio Tinto with young goalkeeper Brian Rowe (pictured) making his MLS debut.

Oh, and veteran left back Todd Dunivant was out, injured as well.

So that left the most piecemeal team to get the job done, and get it done they did, 2-0 over Real Salt Lake.

Jason Kreis lamented his team’s poor start; RSL was down two goals inside of 13 minutes. After that, the Utah bunch did respond, but it was Rowe to the rescue time and again. Some of his seven saves of the “outstanding” variety.

What Arena said of his debuting goalkeeper:

He was outstanding. There’s no other way to put it. We obviously felt that, coming into the game, that he’s a good goalkeeper, however he had no experience in the league. You’re always concerned in the first few minutes of the game, but he looked pretty composed right from the start. He had a good save early, and had great concentration to make a bunch of saves throughout the evening. As I said, I thought he was outstanding.”

While Kreis’ side does have several outstanding young men, it wouldn’t be fair to blame this clunker (the first 15 minutes, that is) on inexperience; there was plenty of “been there, done that,” on the field, including veterans Nick Rimando, Nat Borchers, Kyle Beckerman, Javier Morales and Ned Grabavoy.

Highlights from Saturday’s contest:

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  1. dfstell - Apr 28, 2013 at 8:40 AM

    I was really struck by the gusto of the reserve guys. They played like guys who are clawing for playing time.

    I wonder if that’s a hidden negative of the salary cap: You just can’t afford to have reserves who are really good enough to push the starters…..so all the players just kinda accept their place on the team.

    • Steve Davis - Apr 28, 2013 at 9:06 AM

      Could be. But you do wonder if the young guys can do the same over an extended period? One time is one thing … it becomes a lot more difficult when people begin expecting you to do it. To my way of thinking, anyway.

      • dfstell - Apr 28, 2013 at 1:20 PM

        Of course….they’re reserves for a reason. But, I just like the fact that they can come in and not have it be instantly obvious that they’re worse.

        I agree that once there are a few games….you start to get tape on these guys and realize that they have 1 or 2 things that they do really well, but are otherwise weaker.

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