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Apr 27, 2013

Fast start propels Galaxy past RSL

SANDY, Utah -- Brian Rowe faced a hostile environment in his MLS debut. It did not seem to faze the Los Angeles Galaxy goalkeeper.

Mike Magee and Charlie Rugg scored early in the first half and Rowe picked up the shutout to lead the Galaxy to a 2-0 victory over Real Salt Lake on Saturday night.

Rowe became the first goalkeeper to earn a clean sheet in his MLS debut for the Galaxy (4-1-2) since Brian Perk in a 0-0 draw against Seattle on July 4, 2011.

"I was glad we were able to get two early goals," Rowe said. "I settled in a little bit and made that first save. It just felt comfortable and natural after that."

Rowe faced an onslaught of shots from Salt Lake. RSL had eight shots on goal and created 20 shots overall. Nothing came of the attack, however, because Rowe made big saves from start to finish.

"Outstanding," Galaxy coach Bruce Arena said. "There's no other way to put it. We thought coming into the game he was a good goalkeeper. However, he had no experience in the league. You're always concerned about the early minutes of the game. He looked pretty composed right from the start."

Magee scored on a header in the sixth minute. Juninho fed him a cross off a free kick into the center of the box and Magee put a perfect touch on the pass as he headed it inside the right post.

Rugg scored in the 13th minute when Hector Jimenez found him in front of the goal on a cross from the right flank. Rugg outraced an RSL defender to the ball and simply tapped it in for the easy goal.

The quick goals felt a little deceptive to Magee because the Galaxy had to work hard the rest of the way to hold onto the lead.

"This is a game you definitely prepare a little better for," Magee said. "It was by no means an easy game. This is probably the most sore most of us will be all year."

Salt Lake (3-4-2) has twice allowed goals in the first 15 minutes of a match this season after not allowing a goal to an MLS opponent in the first 15 minutes of a match a year ago.

RSL and the Galaxy combined to score 20 goals over the last five meetings between the two clubs before Saturday night. Digging out of the early two goal hole proved difficult for Salt Lake without its top two goal scorers.

Usual starting forwards Alvaro Saborio and Robbie Findley were sidelined by injuries. Saborio sat out with a left quad strain, while Findley missed the game because of a left adductor strain.

Injuries also had a major impact on Los Angeles. Four regular starters -- Landon Donovan, Carlo Cudicini, Robbie Keane and Todd Dunivant -- missed the game. Donovan and Cudicini sat out with right leg strains, Dunivant was sidelined with left leg strain and Keane was out with a left ankle strain.

It marked the seventh straight game the Galaxy used a different starting lineup.

"They had their top scorers out, too," RSL goalkeeper Nick Rimando said. "No excuses at all. They managed to score without their top forwards. Why can't we?"

RSL dominated possession throughout the first half and well into the second half. It allowed the team to create plenty of scoring chances, but Salt Lake could not turn them into goals.

A painful miss came during the 59th minute. Javier Morales nearly got Salt Lake on the board when he latched onto a cross from Tony Beltran and fired the ball down the center of the box. His shot was a bit too high and clipped the crossbar.

Salt Lake had another shot at avoiding the shutout four minutes into stoppage time. Olmes Garcia hit the crossbar with one shot and Morales hit the post with another, but that is as close as it got for RSL.

In the end, Salt Lake just couldn't do enough to undo its awful start.

"They just came out with the better 15 minutes and it ended up costing us the game," RSL midfielder Kyle Beckerman said.

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