"Obviously both teams are familiar with each other," said midfielder Ned Grabavoy. "We've had some big games in the past against them obviously. We knew it was going to be this way. It didn't matter which seed we were going to be, we knew we were going to play a very difficult opponent."
"The playoffs are really different," said midfielder Javier Morales. "The playoffs are more exciting and there's more pressure. It's just two games and if you lose, you're out."
Real Salt Lake has struggled a little against the Galaxy this year. They lost to LA 2-0 at Rio Tinto Stadium in April, then beat the Galaxy 3-1 at home in June. But in their last meeting in Los Angeles, RSL lost handily 4-2 as Robbie Keane burned Real for three goals.
"I think that game showed just how good they can be," said midfielder Kyle Beckerman. "When Keane and [Landon] Donovan are playing really well for their team, it makes them a better team. Hopefully that was a learning experience for us. But we've gone there and had some success."
Regardless of what happens Sunday, this is essentially a 180-minute match with the final 90 minutes to be played next Thursday at Rio Tinto Stdadium. So RSL knows if they can come home with a draw, they will be in good shape.
"I think you really have to look at it as a two-game match," Grabavoy said. "So if we're in the 85th minute and it's 0-0, then maybe we take that result and we're happy with that coming home."
After nearly eight months and 34 games, RSL is just happy that the playoffs are finally here.
"It caps off a really long season," Beckerman said. "It's what you set your sights on at the beginning of the season in January when we get together in preseason. That's when you start to think what this season could be, and here we are. So it's up to us to take advantage of all the hard work we put in to put ourselves in this position."
Real Salt Lake and the LA Galaxy will begin their two-game series at the StubHub Center in Los Angeles Sunday at 7:00 mountain time. The second game is scheduled for Thursday, November 7th at 7:00 p.m. at Rio Tinto Stadium.
Be sure to tune in to Real Sports Live at 10:35 Sunday night for live reports from Los Angeles with Bill Riley, Brian Dunseth, Wesley Ruff and Dana Greene.