Real Salt Lake coach Jason Kreis said it best last night, when he termed the claret and cobalt's 3-1 defeat before L.A. Galaxy a "microcosm" of his team's MLS season.---
It showcased moments of mediocre play where the players seemed lost amidst the Galaxy heavy hitters, moments of brilliance and that fight-to-the-final-whistle spirit that has always made Real so dangerous.
Real went up against Galaxy with both Kreis' fightin' talk exchange with David Beckham at their teams' last match-up still ringing in their ears and concerns about whether the two rocks of Real's defense -- Jamison Olave and Nat Borchers -- would be fit. In the end, only Olave made it onto the Home Depot field in Los Angeles, and even he proved no match for Galaxy's extraordinary forward Robbie Keane when the Irishman beat him and drilled a punishing cross-mouth shot past Real's Nick Rimondo for what was arguably the goal of the match.
After a penalty put Galaxy on the scoreboard, an Arturo Saborio header 90 seconds later evened the score. When Kyle Beckerman in the last seconds of the first half hit a goal post with a resounding shot from just outside the penalty box, he all but forecast the frustrations the second half would present.
Off a brilliant assist by Beckham, Mike Magee headed in Galaxy's second goal, with Keane putting Galaxy 3-1 ahead 72 minutes into the second half.
Fabian Espindola and Javier Morales both slammed shots on goal that hit the woodwork, but it was Galaxy's night and the claret and cobalt -- despite throwing every player up front in the dying minutes of the game -- could not get close to equalizing.
While there were flashes of the "giant killer" that led Real two years ago to the MLS cup, this time round Real had to content themselves with third place.