The Galaxy let a late two-goal lead slip away in a 3-2 loss to Real Salt Lake in their Major League Soccer opener three months ago, the first big stumble in their horrid start to 2012.
L.A. got payback Wednesday night, rallying from a two-goal first-half deficit for a 3-2 victory in Sandy, Utah, notching back-to-back victories for the first time in a month and just the second time all year.
It's just the second Galaxy win in 10 Utah meetings and their first at Rio Tinto Stadium.
Landon Donovan ran onto a brilliant ball from Mike Magee and finished into an open net in the 68th minute to deliver all three points to the Galaxy (5-8-2), who ended a seven-game MLS winless streak with a win Sunday over Portland.
“That's a good win, man,” Donovan said on KDOC's telecast. “We felt a little unjust by what happened at our place a little earlier in the year when they won, and we wanted to get a little revenge. And then we also know if we can manage to get into the playoffs, which we're still pushing for, this might be a place we have to come later, so we wanted to put on a good show.”
Real Salt Lake (10-4-2) remains atop the Western Conference and Supporters' Shield standings. The Galaxy climbed from seventh to sixth place, but will drop back if Chivas USA draws or beats Montreal in a late game Wednesday. That game is tied, 1-1, at halftime.
This Galaxy victory wasn't as simple as Sunday's: Uncharacteristic errors by RSL's backline let L.A. back into the game after falling behind, 2-0, by the 24th minute, and it was on the back foot mostly until Magee netted the equalizer five minutes into the second half.
Defensive breakdowns cost the Galaxy, which went behind in the ninth minute when Kyle Beckerman finished a low cross from Fabian Espindola, who also fed Alvaro Saborio for the second goal in the 24th.
The Galaxy got caught forward on the first goal, with Espindola given too much space on the right flank, then easily beat Todd Dunivant to the end line to get the cross across.
Saborio's goal was odder: He got the barest of touches on Espindola's feed as A.J. DeLaGarza marked him, curling a deflection than bounced just inside the left post.
Donovan scored his third and fourth goals of the season, pushing his career MLS regular-season total to 119. The first, in the 29th minute came from a unthinking back pass from UCLA alum Tony Beltran. The Galaxy got the second after Jamison Olave let a little pass from backline partner Nat Borchers roll past, and Magee ran onto it. A quick 1-2 with Donovan, and Magee fired in off the right post.
The Galaxy came close in the 54th and 55th minutes. Donovan first volleyed a David Beckham cross wide, then RSL goalkeeper Nick Rimando, another UCLA product, beat DeLaGarza to a feed in the box from Donovan.
Donovan scored the winner from Magee's pass, from the left flank not far inside the midfield stripe, played behind RSL's backline. The Galaxy captain raced past Borchers and beat an onrushing Rimando to the ball, pushing it past and firing into the open net.
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: The Galaxy's Caribbean opponent in the CONCACAF Champions League will be the NASL's Puerto Rico Islanders or USL Pro's Antigua Barracuda. Both lost semifinals at the Caribbean Football Union Club championship Tuesday in Trinidad and will meet in the third-place game Thursday, with the winner joining L.A. and El Salvador's Isidro Metapan in Group 5. Trinidadian clubs W Connection and Caledonia AIA, which also advanced to the Champions League, meet in the CFU final.
WORTH NOTING: Bryan Jordan was grasping his right hamstring when he exited in the 85th minute. ... L.A. was missing nine players to injury or international duty, but Robbie Keane returns to training Friday after Ireland's elimination from Euro 2012. ... The Galaxy this week excused all of their trialists, including former Columbus/Toronto FC center back Andy Iro, an All-American at UC Santa Barbara. ... Beckham was the eighth-best compensated athlete last year, according to Forbes, which this week released its annual survey. Beckham, who made $46 million in salary, bonuses and endorsements, was the top soccer player on the list. No. 1 was boxer Floyd Mayweather ($85M), followed by boxer Manny Pacquiao ($62M), golfer Tiger Woods ($59.4M), Miami Heat star LeBron James ($53M), tennis player Roger Federer ($52.7M), Lakers star Kobe Bryant ($52.3M) and golfer Phil Michelson ($47.8M). Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo ($42.5M) was ninth.
MAJOR LEAGUE SOCCER
Rio Tinto Stadium (Sandy, Utah)
Real Salt Lake 2, Galaxy 3
RSL -- Kyle Beckerman (Fabian Espindola, Chris Wingert) 9
RSL -- Alvaro Saborio (Fabian Espindola) 24
LA -- Landon Donovan 29
LA -- Mike Magee (Landon Donovan) 50
LA -- Landon Donovan (Mike Magee) 68
Real Salt Lake: Nick Rimando; Tony Beltran, Jamison Olave (Luis Gil, 64), Nat Borchers, Chris Wingert; Jonny Steele (Javier Morales, 60), Kyle Beckerman, Ned Grabavoy (Paulo Jr., 81), Will Johnson; Alvaro Saborio, Fabian Espindola. Unused subs: Yordany Alvarez, Emiliano Bonfigli, Kyle Reynish, Terakazu Tanaka.
Galaxy: Josh Saunders; Sean Franklin, David Junior Lopes, A.J. DeLaGarza, Todd Dunivant; Bryan Jordan (Rafael Garcia, 85), David Beckham, Juninho, Mike Magee (Chad Barrett, 88); Marcelo Sarvas (Michael Stephens, 63); Landon Donovan. Unused subs: Bryan Gaul, Jack McBean, Tommy Meyer, Brian Perk.
Yellow cards: DeLaGarza 53, Steele 53, Moreno 66, Espindola 80.
Referee: Kevin Stott. Att.: 20,382.
Records: Real Salt Lake 10-4-2, 32 points; Galaxy 5-8-2, 17 points.