David Beckham might have been the difference in their Desert Diamond Cup victory Saturday evening over Real Salt Lake, although trying to quantify that will be difficult.
Red cards, seven minutes apart, decided this one, with Beckham's service tearing apart a Real Salt Lake side that was down a man in the 69th, down two in the 76th and didn't surrender a goal until the 80th.
Paolo Cardozo scored on an 80th-minute chip, one of the more embarrassing moments of RSL goalkeeper Nick Rimando's career, and Mike Magee exquisitely volleyed home a Beckham delivery six minutes later in a 2-0 triumph in Tucson.
Rookie Kelyn Rowe, from UCLA, scored twice to lift New England past New York, 2-0, in the second game of the doubleheader. Rowe has four goals and four assists in five preseason games. The Galaxy faces New York on Wednesday, and a victory -- and perhaps a draw -- will send them to the tournament final next Saturday.
Beckham came on in the 66th minute, and a Galaxy attack that had sputtered much of the night suddenly found a rhythm, with Beckham's long balls opening space in front of the Utahns' goal.
Beckham's importance to the Galaxy can't be minimized, but RSL isn't the same team with just nine men. Ned Grabavoy, whose pro career started with the Galaxy, was sent off in the 69th minute -- a harsh decision -- after spilling Marcelo Sarvas with a tackle. Yordany Alvarez was gone after his second yellow card in the 76th.
Cardozo struck four minutes later, chipping over a crowded box with a shot that should have been a simple catch for Rimando, a U.S. national-teamer from Montclair (and UCLA). Instead, it slipped through his hands and into the net.
Magee's goal, his second in as many Desert Diamond Cup matches, was of far greater quality.
Second-year winger Hector Jimenez, from Bell Gardens, was solid in the first half, twice testing RSL's defense with shots just off target. Goalkeeper Josh Saunders easily handled the Utahns' best opportunity, cutting off Grabavoy's attempt at the right post following a slippery run through L.A.'s defense.
Galaxy coach Bruce Arena used a primarily second-choice lineup, with Juninho -- outstanding in the second half -- Magee and forward Edson Buddle the exceptions.
Right back Bryan Jordan, making his return to action after hobbling off Feb. 14 against Montreal, suffered a left hamstring injury after 20 minutes, and A.J. DeLaGarza went the rest of the way on the flank. Andrew Boyens and rookie Bryan Gaul were in central defense, among five players who went the full 90 minutes.
WORTH NOTING: Landon Donovan arrived Thursday in Tucson, but he's still ill and hasn't yet trained with the Galaxy. He and Buddle (and Rimando) depart Sunday for Genoa in advance of the U.S. national team's friendly Wednesday against Italy. ... Chad Barrett, training fully the past week or so, said he'd hoped to play in the game but a sore heel ended those plans. ... Rookie Tommy Meyer was ready to go in, but the game ended while still in the 90th minute. ... The Galaxy and RSL meet in an MLS opener March 10 at Home Depot Center. ... In attendance was golfer Nick Faldo, who is in Tucson for the World Match Play event. ... The Galaxy added Leroy Jennings, a 13-year-old Australian player, to its youth academy after a tryout in which he earned praise from Beckham after a tackle on Beckham's oldest son, Brooklyn.
DESERT DIAMOND CUP
Kino Veterans Memorial Stadium (Tucson, Ariz.)
Galaxy 2, Real Salt Lake 0
LA -- Paolo Cardozo 80
LA -- Mike Magee (David Beckham) 86
Galaxy: Josh Saunders (Nick Noble, 46); Bryan Jordan (A.J. DeLaGarza, 22), Andrew Boyens, Bryan Gaul, J.T. Murray; Hector Jimenez (Justin Davies, 85), Kenney Walker (David Beckham, 66), Juninho (Marcelo Sarvas, 66), Mike Magee; Paolo Cardozo, Edson Buddle (Jack McBean, 46).
Real Salt Lake: Nick Rimando (Eduardo Fernandez, 87); Tony Beltran (Terukazu Tanaka, 64), Chris Schuler (Carlos Salcedo, 83), Jamison Olave (Leone Cruz, 83), Chris Wingert (Diogo de Almeida, 64); Yordany Alvarez, Kyle Beckerman (Sebastian Velasquez, 64), Luis Gil (Enzo Martinez, 74), Ned Grabavoy; Paulo Jr. (Emiliano Bonfigli, 64), Fabian Espindola (Cody Arnoux, 74).
Yellow cards: Alvarez 50, 76, Boyens 53. Red cards: Grabavoy 69, Alvarez 76.
Referee: Allen Chapman. Att.: NA.
1. New England 2-0-0 (5-2 GF-GA) 6
2. Galaxy 1-1-0, (4-3) 3
3. Real Salt Lake 1-1-0 (1-2) 3
4. New York 0-2-0 (0-3) 0
Record: 3-4-0; vs. MLS: 2-4-0
Feb. 3 vs. L.A. Blues (USL Pro): W, 7-2 (Sarvas pen. 12, Dunivant 29, Cristman 36, 45, Cardozo 42, McBean 63, Nakazawa pen. 85)
Feb. 7 vs. Portland: L ,1-4 (Keat 80)
Feb. 10 vs. Houston: L, 0-1
Feb. 14 vs. Montreal: L, 0-3
Feb. 16 vs. Chivas USA: W, 3-2 (Noonan 21, Cristman 31, Keat 40)
Feb. 22 vs. New England: L, 2-3 (Buddle 31, Magee 38)
Feb. 25 vs. Real Salt Lake: T, 0-0 (Cardozo 80, Magee 86)
Feb. 29 vs. New York at Tucson, Ariz.
March 3 Desert Diamond Cup final/third-place game at Tucson, Ariz.