Carson, CA – In a rivalry almost as old as MLS itself, LA Galaxy and DC United played to a 4-1 finish mirroring the last time DC visited LA in August of 2014. Though the first goal of the evening belonged to DC with Lamar Neagle scoring in the 5th minute, a quick turnaround took place in the second half thanks in large part to the contribution of substitute Mike Magee in his first official return to his former home who netted 2 goals and an assist along with drawing a penalty to set up a fourth and final goal, to give the home team their first win of the season.
In their only goal of the night, United notched the first goal converting a turnover by Steven Gerrard in the fourth minute of play. It was Neagle’s first goal since being acquired from Seattle. After a rocky start with LA chasing balls and minus one of its newest defensive stars, Jelle Van Damme, things didn’t look as though they’d pan out well. On top of their confusion within the midfield, in the 20th minute, LA were forced to substitute Rowe in for Dan Kennedy, who had suffered an apparent injury.
“It’s a good kind of win for us. We had to come from behind, dig a little bit, work real hard. Got a nice blend of experience. It’s a good balance. You can see the experience that Nigel brings in the midfield, that Ashley Cole brings in the back. Overall it’s a good win for our team.” – Bruce Arena, LA Galaxy Head Coach and General Manager
Things turned around quickly for LA Galaxy in the second half. After multiple missed opportunities from Zardes and Robbie Keane and a chaotic frenzy in the box, in the 54th minute, Mike Magee, who had entered as a halftime substitute for an injured Giovani Dos Santos, put in a corner kick that Daniel Steres deftly headed in to tie up the score 1-1.
“It was a corner kick and we needed to get back in the game. Put in a really good ball; it was in a really good spot. Gyasi [Zardes] kind of got a pick for me and I just found some space, saw the ball the last second and put it in. I got to give Gyasi [Zardes] a lot of credit. We’ve worked on a couple plays like that and he did a good job giving me a pick.” – Daniel Steres, LA Galaxy Defender, reflecting on his first goal for LA.
In a steady calm fashion Sebastian Lletget, possibly the best player for LA out there overall, served a high and well-placed ball to Mike Magee who had simply to finish it up and over the head of DC’s goalkeeper, Dysktra in the 65th minute. In the 83rd minute, Magee was again crucial to LA’s goal as he drew a penalty in the box which Robbie Keane was delighted to serve up as a spot kick, setting it into the net past a helpless Dysktra pushing LA Galaxy to their third goal of the night. They weren’t finished yet though. Four minutes later, Steven Gerrard sent in a perfect free kick and Magee was again in the right place at the right time, heading it home for his second goal of the night.
“I was just trying to get in the box and it just hit me in the head. Stevie played a perfect ball. Not easy at all as far as I go, but my teammates made it look easy for me.” – Mike Magee, LA Galaxy Forward
As far as star players go, Nigel de Jong continues to valiantly hold up the midfield and Ashley Cole keeps winning over more LA fans’ hearts as he promised he would work to do. Though Steven Gerrard looked visibly spent throughout much of the match, he later commented that he was feeling ill and was unable to be subbed off so fought through it as best as he could.
It turns out that sometimes LA Galaxy doesn’t need all its stars to light up the sky in Carson, CA. For now, a less than 100% starting lineup is good enough but it won’t be for long. Next Saturday, LA head to Colorado.