By Todd Hayes
Real Salt Lake was able to stay undefeated at home on Saturday, beating the Los Angeles Galaxy 2-1.
The win came with rookie goalkeeper Jay Nolly starting in the net for the injured D.J. Countess. Nolly started off shaky and looked like a rookie in the first half, but settled down in the second to hold on for the win.
?Jay is just special,? coach John Ellinger said. ?That is the whole reason we wanted him in the SuperDraft.?
The Galaxy had the chance to go ahead in the 11th minute when midfielder Peter Vagenas had an open shot in front of the net after a pass from forward Landon Donovan, but he stumbled and missed the shot.
?Peter ran into the Turf Monster tonight,? Ellinger said about the missed shot by Vagenas.
The Galaxy finally went ahead in the 39th minute when forward Jovan Kirovski hit in a rebound off a blocked shot by Nolly.
?I wish that I got a bigger jump on it and caught it instead of tipped it,? said Nolly on his first goal allowed of his career.
Real went into the locker room down 1-0 and looking like the game was slipping from them. The Galaxy could have been up 4-0 if not for some missed shots that were pushed just wide of the goal.
RSL regrouped and came out firing in the second looking to get them and the crowd back into the game. The equalizer came in the 49th minute from a unexpected source when defender Eddie Pope put in the ball into the back of net off a corner kick. The goal ended Pope?s three-year scoring drought.
?Everybody felt a momentum switch,? midfielder Brian Kamler said. ?It put a little more pip in the step after Eddie put that ball away. It was just a good effort all the way around tonight.?
Real went ahead for good in the 65th minute when forward Jason Kreis scored off a long cross from teammate midfielder Clint Mathis.
?The ball he (Mathis) played in the second half was world class,? Kreis said. ?He placed it over the top. It was a bouncing ball, so it is a simple ball for me to finish over Kevin Hartman. He (Mathis) did all the hard work.?
Real will be with out Kreis for the next game against CD Chivas USA on Wednesday after he received a yellow card in the 25th minute for diving. This was his second yellow card in as many games earning him an automatic suspension.
?I?m quite unhappy about it (the yellow card),? Kreis said. ?I really felt that Nagamura was reaching and grabbing cuz he couldn?t hang on with me. I will go ahead and make one statement about myself I am not a diver. And I don?t think I deserved that yellow card.?
The defense held on, shutting down the counter attack of the Galaxy for the win. Not allowing a repeat of the their performance in the San Jose came when they came back and tied it.
?We are starting to play with a little bit more passion, more aggressiveness and getting on the same page as a team,? defender Brian Dunseth said.
The win is huge for RSL after they lost to CD Chivas USA in their last game.
?It is a huge confidence builder that we play a team that is in first place in the conference and beat them,? Ellinger said.