This is what you call a statement victory. Bruce Arena's Los Angeles Galaxy were in need of upsetting someone to ensure that parity reigned supreme in Major League Soccer. They got it on Wednesday night in their 3-2 win over Jason Kreis' Real Salt Lake at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah.
The Galaxy only improve to 5-8-2 with this victory (17 points), but if you're a Vancouver Whitecaps fan, you might have a reason to hold your breath coming into Saturday.
Big victories like this deserve good ratings. Here are the player ratings for Wednesday night's surprise result.
Josh Saunders 7.5
Didn't acquit himself in the first 30 minutes of the game, but as soon as Landon Donovan got the Galaxy back on track, Josh Saunders' play improved. Saunders made three big saves and he was instrumental in helping maintain L.A.'s 3-2 victory late.
Todd Dunivant 6
Consistent defending from the Iron Man. Really kept the likes of Fabian Espindola, Javier Morales, Will Johnson and Kyle Beckerman in check late. I am giving him minus points for not marking Kyle Beckerman on the first goal of the game.
David Junior Lopes 6.5
This was a much better effort from David Junior Lopes. Giving this guy bonus points for beating a higher-ranked team. He did have some mistakes defensively that could have allowed Real Salt Lake to rally late. Fortunately for him, RSL's sloppiness took its toll.
I am also giving Lopes minus marks for delaying the match a bit. I almost thought Lopes decided to quit playing midway through the second half, but it seems it was only something in his eye. They don't call that town "Sandy" for nothing...
Bryan Jordan 6
Another player that I have not been generous to, I will go ahead and give Bryan Jordan a free pass for trying to receive the pass and create something out of nothing. I still don't believe Jordan made his case for a higher grade early, and so I am giving him minus points for a lousy start, but bonus points for improved play later on.
If Jordan can play a full, consistent match on Saturday, I think we can all expect him to be in the starting lineup for a while, as much as I hate to say it.
Sean Franklin 6.5
Decent defending from Franklin, but, like a majority of the players on defense, his grade is impacted by the early start the home side had to begin the match.
A.J. DeLaGarza 7
Another consistent effort from A.J. DeLaGarza, although his score is a bit lower due to the early Real Salt Lake onslaught.
Juninho was nonexistent in this match. The only contributions that I saw from him was a handball in the first half and a very speculative one-timer in the second. Step your game up, Paulista! To be fair, though, Juninho did help weave some decent passing together, but Real Salt Lake dominated that statistic on Wednesday.
Mike Magee 8
This is what we like to call...redemption. Fresh off suspension, Mike Magee nabs home the equalizer and the game-winning assist to pace Los Angeles to a full three points. You can only wonder how lopsided the match with Portland on Sunday would have been if Magee was in the lineup.
Marcelo Sarvas 6.5
Not a good first touch from Sarvas tonight against Real Salt Lake, and I don't believe he was much of a factor this game, aside from playing a part in a number of sequences.
David Beckham 6.5
David Beckham, aside from a few threatening set pieces, was not a factor in this match. However, one of his set pieces in the first half just missed the top right corner by a meter or two. Otherwise, this was just an average outing for the Olympian-to-be.
Landon Donovan 9
Man of the Match, hands down. When you get two goals and assist and become the sole reason why the Los Angeles Galaxy got this statement victory, you deserve this award. A hat trick, though, and it could have been a 10.
Michael Stephens 5
Reduced to cleanup duty yet again, but didn't do anything that jeopardized Los Angeles's precarious lead and in fact helped maintain it. I expect Stephens to stay as a sub for the rest of the game. He also helped neutralize Javier Morales' super sub potential this time around.
Chad Barrett NR
Rafael Garcia NR
Came into the game late, no rating given.