MLS: Landon Donovan took advantage of RSL's defensive mistakes
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Sandy • The Los Angeles Galaxy did not start the 2012 season like MLS Cup champions.

They and Landon Donovan certainly looked the part Wednesday in a come-from-behind 3-2 victory against Real Salt Lake in a sold-out Rio Tinto Stadium. It was their second consecutive win.

More than 20,000 spectators saw the typical L.A. counterattack during a fever-pitched, wide-open game. Unfortunately for the majority of fans, they also witnessed uncharacteristic defensive giveaways by RSL.

"I thought we approached the game in the right way," RSL coach Jason Kreis said. "We were really aggressive with our spirit, aggressive with the ball. ... We created chances to score and took them."

Two goals in the opening 24 minutes appeared to put RSL on easy street.

That was before Donovan intercepted a lackadaisical backpass from Tony Beltran. Then the race was on, especially for Donovan, who scored twice.

Both times, he used his speed and finishing ability to their greatest effect.

"The first goal a little bit of a gift, but you've got to take advantage of that," Donovan said afterward, also crediting L.A.'s 1-0 win Saturday against Portland as a jumping-off point for the rest of the season.

Later, as RSL pushed forward for the victory and three points, it left gaping spaces.

"They like to attack here," Donovan continued. "It's a big field, and they're a very good passing team. But when they break down and lose the ball, there's a lot of space. Even though we have a lot of injuries and are pretty thin, there are a lot of guys who are capable of making a special play."

Injuries have also affected RSL's defensive back.

And it didn't help matters, either, when RSL's premier defender — Jamison Olave — entered the game not at full strength and recovering from an illness Tuesday.

"If we had a healthy Chris Schuler, we probably wouldn't have played Olave," Kreis said.