When asked about scoring a game winning penalty kick inside the Galaxy locker room, Juninho simply said "I'm a taker".
Without any hesitation, Juninho fired past Rimando in a battle of wits as the Galaxy secured a narrow 1-0 victory Wednesday night at the StubHub Center.
The Galaxy made two changes to their starting lineup, inserting Baggio Husidic at right back to replace Oscar Sorto. Stefan Ishizaki was also unavailable with a stomach bug, so Ignacio "Nacho" Maganto got the nod at left wing with Gyasi on the right and Jose Villarreal and Alan Gordon up top.
Real Salt Lake introduced a 4-2-3-1 with Alvaro Saborio up top and attacking weapons Javier Morales and Joao Plata starting on the bench.
Just six minutes into the game, LA was on the scoresheet. Nacho Maganto dribbled one on one vs. Jamison Olave and flicked a ball over the sliding center back, who was ruled to have committed a handball on the play.
Juninho stepped up to take the penalty kick, and unlike their last encounter up in Utah when Rimando blanked Juninho in stoppage time, Juninho had the last laugh this time around, executing a short stutter step and sending Rimando the wrong way before confidently burying a drive into the side netting.
Kyle Beckerman soon afterwards unleashed a 35-yard outside the boot rocket that looped just over the bar of a cautious Jaime Penedo.
The Galaxy had a spirited, youthful exuberance about their play, spraying the ball around with relative ease and looking to create, even if the final product wasn't always quite there.
In addition to earning the penalty kick for LA, Nacho Maganto was an active presence throughout the match, causing problems with his probing play and incisive passing. In the 23rd minute, Maganto fired a curling shot from 25 yards out that just eluded the top left corner. Near the end of the half, Nacho collected from inside the box and quickly squared to Villarreal in a dangerous position, but his shot was blocked.
At halftime Robbie Keane came on for the Galaxy, while Real Salt Lake subbed in both Javier Morales and Joao Plata early in the second half, though neither were able to generate much offense.
Maganto continued to put his stamp on the game, crossing in a swerving ball that was destined for the head of Alan Gordon if not for another moment of intervention by Nick Rimando, who had to fully stretch to punch the ball away. At one point, the ball bounced to Maganto who had time and space inside the box, but the rookie could be forgiven for becoming wide-eyed as his attempt hopelessly skied high and wide.
Just a minute later, Robbie Keane crossed from a similar spot and found Zardes from very close range, but Gyasi was unable to keep his header down and the ball sailed just over the bar.
Late on, the Galaxy pushed for another goal. First Robbie Keane slalomed in and out before firing a near post save Rimando was forced to attend to, then a few minutes later a broken play resulted in a Gyasi Zardes pass deflecting off the post.
Just before the game ended, Olave was given a straight red card for an elbow on Robbie Keane.
The Galaxy next head to New England to battle the Revs this Sunday.