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He’s Efrain back! LA Galaxy 1, Real Salt Lake 0

Alvarez returns, scores the deciding goal in the second half.

MLS: Real Salt Lake at LA Galaxy Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

While the much-anticipated returns of Victor Vazquez and Chicharito will be pushed back just a bit further, the LA Galaxy did enjoy the return of their international stars on Wednesday in a 1-0 win over Real Salt Lake at Dignity Health Sports Park. One such star, Efrain Alvarez, stole the spotlight in the second half. The first half, however, didn't offer much in terms of action.

Both sides had some good opportunities, with the Galaxy finishing the half with nine shots, five on target. RSL goalkeeper Zac MacMath came up with several big saves to keep this match scoreless going into the halftime break.

Greg Vanney’s men came out for the second half a lot more clinical. The tempo felt better, the energy higher, passing more crisp, and a goal for their troubles. Thanks to some nifty touches inside the box, and a perfectly timed run, Alvarez found himself one-on-one with the ‘keeper. Even with the tough angle, he was able to keep cool and finish in style to give the Galaxy the lead.

Kévin Cabral came close to doubling the lead in the 83rd minute. A great ball from Alvarez found him in the box, but RSL’s MacMath was having none of it. Perhaps not to be outdone by his counterpart, Jonathan Bond put the springs on to get his fingers on an RSL header that was destined to equalize the game in stoppage time.

This win makes it two straight for the LA Galaxy. That keeps them in third place in the Western Conference, just two points off of first place. It’s a short turnaround as they host the Vancouver Whitecaps on Sunday. With a squad that’s only getting healthier, and stronger, things are looking bright for the Galaxy.

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