Chivas USA may not be dead yet — but that didn’t stop the LA Galaxy from burying them. The 90 minute rout ended 3–0, and could’ve easily been worse for the Goats.
Bruce Arena continued his early-season experimentation with another take on the diamond formation. Marcelo Sarvas and Baggio Husidic lined up on the wings, with Stefan Ishizaki as an attacking center mid and Juninho rounding out the diamond behind him. That left Landon Donovan free to pair with Robbie Keane up top. The formation proved fluid: Donovan drifted back often and Ishizaki couldn’t seem to resist the sideline. But it was also effective — at least against Chivas.
Formations are what they are. It is eleven players out on the field. It just so happens that it accommodates the players that we have out there a little bit better.
—Bruce Arena, to LAGalaxy.com
After nearly 40 minutes of squandered chances, Robbie Keane opened up the onslaught by running through a cross from Husidic. It was a messy goal, and a lucky one. Chivas goalkeeper Dan Kennedy was well-positioned to catch the ball out of the air. But he fumbled and Keane capitalized.
I just ran in, I thought actually Dan was just going to smash me. He came out and I don’t know what happened … I haven’t seen the goal since so I couldn’t tell you what happened really.
The Galaxy kept their momentum and managed to find the next goal just minutes later. Stefan Ishizaki carried the ball into the box and seemed to take it too far toward the touchline — before calmly chipping it in from a severe angle. It was creative, executed with the poise of a veteran, and a great first tally for the Swedish transplant in LA.
I wanted the first touch to really go past the defender. Obviously I took it a little too wide — I wanted it a little bit closer to goal, but as soon as I saw the keeper come I was confident I was going to chip him.
Baggio Husidic also found his first goal for LA. A brilliant passing sequence in the 56th minute culminated in Donovan laying the ball back to Baggio, who didn’t so much as blink before burying a rocket into the back of the net. Turns out it was his first goal in a while:
It’s been two years. [Last time] was my second game at Hammarby, and actually it wasn’t even my goal. I hit it near the post and the goalie messed up and it went in. But they gave it to me, so. This was a proper goal.
But it’s not all good news for the Galaxy. Their defense struggled even when everyone was healthy. Today both Dan Gargan and Todd Dunivant were subbed off due to injuries. We don’t know how serious they are, yet — but coupled with the sidelining of both A.J. DeLaGarza and James Riley, the already-shaky back line may be shallower than ever.
Today was a great team win … We knew that it was going to be hot out there so we wanted to make sure that we keep the ball, that we make them run a lot and tire them out and I think that’s what we did. We played a good, calm game, and when we were in front of goal we finished our chances.
A solid win is exactly what LA needed. Next week they’ll face a more formidable opponent when they take on the Vancouver Whitecaps at home. It’s the first game of a two-part series, and a chance for the Galaxy to prove they’re keeping pace with a league that looks increasingly cutthroat.