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RSL outlasts LA Galaxy in 1-0 rivalry win


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SANDY — Real Salt Lake got its first win in over a month and kept its unbeaten streak at home with a 1-0 victory against rival LA Galaxy on Saturday at Rio Tinto Stadium.

The Galaxy arrived in Utah on a four-match unbeaten streak, with six goals over the stretch, led by an attack that features international stars Chicharito and Douglas Costa.

"We knew what we were up against and so it was more about making sure we came away with a good result here at home," head coach Pablo Mastroeni said after the game. "I thought our performance justified that."

It was a slog to start, with both teams getting off just one shot in the opening 30 minutes of the match. Things started to open up after that for RSL, with Bobby Wood getting consecutive chances in the box in the 36th minute. Neither shot found the back of the net, however, and the teams entered halftime in a 0-0 tie.

Forward Sergio Cordova left the match after getting injured on a play that resulted in a yellow card for the RSL man. He was replaced by Rubio Rubin just before halftime.

Wood's knack for attacking continued into the second half, as the striker put a shot on frame from outside the box that was blocked and resulted in a corner for RSL. Pablo Ruiz sent the ball into the box and Marcelo Silva headed it home for the team's first goal in three weeks.

LA attempted to respond in the minutes that followed, but Douglas Costa's ground shot from outside the box in the 57th minute landed comfortably in front of RSL goalkeeper Zach MacMath.

The Galaxy continued to push for the equalizer, getting off four shots in quick succession between the 65th and 71st minutes. The RSL defense held firm, however, highlighted by a header goal-line clearance from Aaron Herrera to "keep the zero," as Mastroeni has said all season.

"We've definitely got a good rhythm together and we know where each other gonna be," Herrera said of the back line. "The communication is really good.

MacMath came up big, again, for RSL late in the game, with a point-blank save in the 77th minute and a corner kick clearance just minutes later that sent him to the ground and resulted in a Galaxy foul.

Dejan Joveljic appeared to score the equalizer in stoppage time, but the goal was later disallowed by VAR decision due to a foul in the lead-up.

"After the New York game, we took a pretty hard look at ourselves, especially as a defensive unit," MacMath said. "I was trying to rattle off some shutouts and really dig deep and we certainly have done that the last two games. If we continue to have defensive performances like that, you know, the offense will come, the goals will come and we can continue to stay on top in the playoff spot."

RSL currently sits in fourth place in the Western Conference and travels to Nashville next for a road match on May 8, the second meeting between the two teams this season. RSL won the last meeting 2-1 at home on March 19, the last win for the squad prior to Saturday.

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Caleb Turner covers Real Salt Lake as the team's beat writer for KSL.com, in addition to his role where he oversees the sports team's social media accounts.

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