Gyasi Zardes' goal is enough in Galaxy's 1-0 win over Real Salt Lake

Gyasi Zardes' goal is enough in Galaxy's 1-0 win over Real Salt Lake
Highlights from the Galaxy's 1-0 victory over Real Salt Lake on Saturday.

The Galaxy slowly but steadily has climbed toward playoff contention in Major League Soccer's Western Conference, even if the club hasn't been winning most of its games lately.

Entering Saturday night's match against Real Salt Lake, the Galaxy was undefeated in its previous six matches but had settled for ties in three of the games.


But the Galaxy defense made the team's lone goal Saturday night stand up and the Galaxy edged conference rival Real Salt Lake, 1-0, at StubHub Center to extend its undefeated streak to seven games.

The goal was courtesy of Galaxy forward Gyasi Zardes, who scored in the 20th minute, the Hawthorne native's fourth goal of the season.

Zardes fired the shot while he was falling from directly in front of the net and just outside the 18-yard box. Zardes' line drive sailed past Salt Lake goalkeeper Nick Rimando as Rimando dived to his right.

In the 62nd minute, Salt Lake forward Joao Plata tried to get his club even with a shot from 10 yards, but Galaxy goalkeeper Jaime Penedo raised both hands to slap the ball away.

"Any time you get a shutout it speaks volumes for the whole team and their effort," said Galaxy Coach Bruce Arena. "For the most part we played well … we know we need to get a little better."

This was the third and final regular-season match between the teams. Real Salt Lake defeated the Galaxy, 1-0, at StubHub Center on March 8 and the teams played to a 1-1 draw on March 22 at Rio Tinto Stadium in Utah.

The Galaxy (6-3-6) remained sixth in the conference and Salt Lake (7-4-7) is second. The top five teams in the conference at the end of the regular season qualify for the playoffs.

Last year, Real Salt Lake ended the Galaxy's hopes of a third consecutive MLS title by defeating the Galaxy in the conference semifinals.

Five minutes before Zardes' goal, the Galaxy appeared to score first when forward Robbie Keane passed to midfielder Baggio Husidic, who was standing in front of the goal and simply tapped it into the net. But Keane was ruled offside and the goal was disallowed.

The game ended with the Galaxy awarded a penalty kick from 14 yards in front of the Salt Lake net after Rimando was called for a penalty against the Galaxy's Marcelo Sarvas. But Rimando blocked Sarvas' penalty kick.

Omar Gonzalez, one of the Galaxy's leading defenders, did not play because of a sore right ankle.

Gonzalez turned the ankle July 1 while playing with the U.S. national team in its 2-1 overtime loss to Belgium in the World Cup.

The Galaxy also said last week that the club had terminated its loan agreement with Brazilian forward Samuel Rosa Goncalves, known simply as Samuel, who was on loan from Fluminense FC of Brazil's Serie A league.