Sunday, March 11, 2012

Real Salt Lake spoil Galaxy MLS season opener

David Beckham and the Los Angeles Galaxy got their Major League Soccer title defence off to a rocky start, falling 3-1 to Real Salt Lake in their season opener.

Saturday's defeat was the first suffered by the Galaxy in 26 matches at their Home Depot Center ground, a streak dating back to November 14, 2010, and spoiled what was meant to be a celebratory night.

Beckham delivered a dazzling pass that Edson Buddle headed home to give Los Angeles a 1-0 lead in the 71st minute.

But Sean Franklin's own-goal moments later gave Salt Lake the equaliser.

In the 80th minute Javier Morales took advantage of a miscue in the Galaxy defence, pouncing on a deflected ball in the penalty area and firing a short shot past Josh Saunders.

And five minutes later Fabian Espindola scored on a breakaway for Salt Lake, who had lost to the Galaxy last season in the Western Conference final of the MLS Cup playoffs.

Beckham, the former England captain who returned to Los Angeles in January saying he didn't want to settle for just one MLS title, said the Galaxy may have been feeling the effects of their 2-2 draw at Toronto on Wednesday in the first leg of their quarter-final of the CONCACAF Champions Cup.

"Even with the mistakes that we made and the fatigue that some of our players have got, we still had chances to win the game," Beckham said.

"We were disappointed tonight. We have to move on. We have to lift ourselves for Wednesday," he added of their looming return match against Toronto.

"It's a big game for us on Wednesday, if we win we're back on track."

Elsewhere among the five matches on the opening night of the season, Vancouver's Sebastien Le Toux and Camilo Sanvezzo scored to lift the Whitecaps to a 2-0 victory over the Montreal Impact, who were making their debut in the league.

The Whitecaps, opening their second season in the league after finishing last overall last year, wasted no time in signalling their intentions for their sophomore campaign.

Le Toux opened the scoring in the fourth minute. Fellow Frenchman Eric Hassli headed the ball forward in front of Le Toux, who rolled a low shot past goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts.

Camilo connected nine minutes into the second half to complete the scoring.

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