Galaxy edges Real Salt Lake in matchup of struggling teams

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Giancarlo Gonzalez and Cristian Pavon each scored a goal to lead the Los Angeles Galaxy to a 2-1 victory over Real Salt Lake on Sunday night.

Combined with Colorado’s defeat of Seattle earlier Sunday, RSL’s loss eliminated it from playoff contention. RSL (5-9-7, 22 points, 1.05 ppg) has just one win in its past eight matches.

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The Galaxy (6-11-3, 21 points, also 1.05 ppg) notched just its second victory in its past 11 matches. Dominic Kinnear won his first match as interim coach after taking over for Guillermo Barros Schelotto, who was fired Thursday, a day after the Galaxy lost 5-2 to Portland.

They struck first Sunday on a goal from Gonzalez in the 18th minute. Sebastian Lletget booted a free kick from the left wing toward the 6-yard box. Gonzalez jumped up and headed the ball inside the right post, just past outstretched goalkeeper Andrew Putna, to make the score 1-0.

Pavon made it 2-0 in the 65th minute. He weaved past a couple of Salt Lake defenders and drew Putna off his line. Pavon blasted a shot past Putna from the left side of the penalty area and threaded the ball inside the right post.

Salt Lake pulled within a goal in the 78th minute. Justin Meram blasted a right-footer into the 6-yard box, and Douglas Martinez headed the ball home to put RSL on the board.

That’s as close as the Utah club could get to stealing a point or claiming all three points. Salt Lake claimed a 9-8 edge in total shots but put only a single ball on frame. Los Angeles finished with four shots on goal.