SANDY, Utah (ABC 4 Sports) - The stars will be out Sunday night in Southern California, as David Beckham, Landon Donovan and the L.A. Galaxy host Real Salt Lake in the MLS Western Conference Final.
The Galaxy had the best record in the league this season, but RSL , which split its two matches with the Galaxy, each winning on its home field, is ready for the challenge.
"If we want to win the Cup, then we have to beat the best teams in the league," said goalkeeper Nick Rimando, whose team elimated Seattle in the first round. "The Galaxy have proven to be one of the best teams in this league. They've got some stars on their team. We've got to go there and and show up, because if not, it's going to be a tough game for us."
"They spend, I think, four or fives times as much money as we do on our salaries," said head coach Jason Kreis. "They probably have a budget that four or five times as much as ours. So, we know that we're up against it, and we know it's a fantastic challenge for us. In a lot of ways, it's a war of two different philosophies."
The Galaxy haven't lost a single game at the Home Depot Center this season. However, Real Salt Lake will have had an extra day of rest, which could be a factor, seeing how injured defenders Jamison Olave and Nat Borchers will be game-time decisions.
"I think it does make a difference with the injuries that we have," said Rimando. "We want to get Jamison and Nat back, and if we can do that, that does give us an advantage."
"We'll see," added Kreis. "I think when you get to this time of the season, as long as there is a couple days rest, I'm not so sure that it matters. I think the guys are so up for it that the fatigue thoughts go out the window."
"I mean, us having to fly back from Seattle and having to fly out there, I think the extra days rest kind of gets thrown out," said midfielder Will Johnson. "I think it's kind of a wash."
This is RSL's third trip to the conference final, and they hope it's another memorable one like in 2009 when they beat Chicago on their way to the MLS Cup title.
"You don't work all year long to go out there and waste an opportunity like this," said Johnson. "We'll give it everything we've got, and we'll be fired up and ready to go."
Real hopes to make a return trip to L.A. two weeks from Sunday for the MLS Cup championship game against either Houston or Sporting Kansas City.
"Ya, we want to make L.A. our home," joked Rimando. "What better way to do that then to beat the Galaxy and then go back there and lift the Cup."