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Sandy • Real Salt Lake was missing its leading scorer, and it showed.

Forward Alvaro Saborio was on the field during warmups, but the Costa Rican was a late scratch, hampered by a quad injury.

Without the team's target man in the middle of the field, RSL's offense struggled to find consistency in a 2-0 loss to the L.A. Galaxy.

"It's difficult if we don't have a target to play to in Saborio, somebody that's going to stay central for us the majority of the time," RSL coach Jason Kreis said after the loss. "[Forward Olmes] Garcia worked extremely hard and was dangerous all night. [Joao] Plata had moments where he was dangerous. But they were playing too wide in the first half. ... Tactically, there's still a lot to learn for those guys."

With L.A. up early and dropping back defensively, Saborio's presence was particularly missed.

"You know the space is going to be very limited when they have the lead," Kreis said. "Especially a very well-organized Galaxy team."

Without Saborio, however, Kreis had to start his sixth different forward tandem of the young season.

RSL saw a number of attacking chances, particularly late in the game. But Saborio's firepower could only have helped, his teammates said. The striker has 43 goals in 87 regular-season appearances with RSL. The team is 31-5-6 all-time when he scores. He's also the only Salt Lake player this season with more than one goal scored.

"Always it's tough when you lose a player like Sabo," midfielder Javier Morales said. "He's the top scorer of this team. ... But we have good forwards. ... That is not an excuse for us."

Saborio strained his left quad during a shooting drill to finish Friday's training session. No timeline has been given for his return.

Twitter: @aaronfalk