“I think we’re in a fantastic position,” RSL head coach Jeff Cassar said. “I’m really excited and I know the guys are. Yeah, we’re frustrated we didn’t put the ball in the back of the net, absolutely. I’m not saying that, but we created the chances.
“I don’t think we sat back at all,” Cassar said. “We created an abundance of chances tonight. We ran across a goalkeeper that played great. Hats off to (Penedo).”
RSL may wind up regretting a missed opportunity to take a lead to the second leg at Stub Hub Center, but the No. 3 seed in the West chose to focus on a strong defensive performance that saw the high-scoring Galaxy limited to one shot on goal.
“I think tonight we were just really good at covering for each other,” defender Nat Borchers said. “One defender would step and we were aggressive enough to win that initial ball and if we didn’t we had somebody covering. So that was good to see, especially this time of year that we’re really establishing that rhythm in the back.”
RSL’s task will get much tougher at Stub Hub Center, where the Galaxy posted a 13-1-4 record in MLS play this year, outscoring opponents 47-14. That one loss came against RSL though, in the regular-season opener.
“I’m sure you’ll see a completely different game (in the second leg) than you did tonight,” Robbie Keane said. “We’re fairly comfortable and confident that we can get them at our place and hopefully get the win.”
The Galaxy attributed the ugliness of Saturday’s match to the conditions at Rio Tinto Stadium.
“It was a sloppy game. You have the altitude, the wind, the field conditions made for a difficult game,” Galaxy coach Bruce Arena said. “To get out of here 0-0, we’ll lay it on the line next week. We have to win at home.”
“It wasn’t the greatest conditions obviously, I think that’s the reason why the game wasn’t flowing as much,” Keane said. “I think that’s the reason why the game wasn’t flowing as much. We tried our best, both teams did, to try and play, but sometimes it was hard to do.
“Overall, for us, we just have to worry about ourselves. It’s not a bad result away from home. The most important thing you have to understand is that, in these games, you don’t lose.”