Carson, CA – Gyasi Zardes returned to goal scoring form on Saturday night as he tallied two second half goals that would eventually lead the LA Galaxy past the San Jose Earthquakes by a score of 3-1.
However, for the first 45 minutes, all that the LA Galaxy seemed to accomplish was stacking up and collecting an impressive array of yellow cards. Head Referee Ismail Elfath ended up handing out seven yellow cards in the match, three of those in the first 22 minutes of the game. And for their part the LA Galaxy struggled to be dangerous in the final third as the the Earthquakes bunkered deep.
“Not really. I think the only reason we came out was because they had 10 men. It’s simple as that. I think it would have been a completely different game if they didn’t get a man sent off in the first half. We weren’t good enough at creating chances and we were just a bit slow at times.” Robbie Keane, LA Galaxy Captain
But three minutes into first half stoppage time Elfath blew the whistle on Simon Dawkins who was caught challenging Lletget from behind. It was a sweeping scissor kick and it flattened the Galaxy striker. Immediately reaching for a red card Dawkins was sent marching. It was the moment that epitomized a chippy first half and an uneven LA Galaxy attack.
Emerging from halftime the LA Galaxy immediately went to the task of attacking the 10-man San Jose lineup. The once bunkered SJ defense started opening up and the Galaxy took ample advantage.
In the 56th minute Zardes was pulled down just outside the left edge of the 18 yard box. Robbie Keane and Mike Magee both stood near the ball and it was a quick touch to Keane and a return pass to Magee that saw Mike lift a floating cross towards Van Damme on the opposite side of the box. Van Damme headed the ball down and across the goal where Gyasi Zardes finished inside the left post.
“He had a big game. [Quincy] Amarikwa is a difficult player to play against and they had a good battle on the night. For the most part I thought he did pretty well.” Bruce Arena, LA Galaxy Head Coach & General Manager
Once again, in the 62nd minute Jelle Van Damme and Mike Magee would figure in a Gyasi Zardes goal. Van Damme hit a booming floated ball over the top of the San Jose Defense and found a streaking Mike Magee. Magee tried to play the ball on the volley but it was a ‘Quakes defender that knocked the ball sideways across the box where Zardes hit a one time shot that barely beat goalkeeper David Bingham back to the line.
“In the first half they were very compact, but in the second half we knew they were down a man so we tried to capitalize on attacking and going forward and I think once we bagged in the first goal, they really opened up because they knew they had to score so they couldn’t really sit in deep.” Gyasi Zardes, LA Galaxy Midfielder
Robbie Keane finished the night off by drawing a penalty in second half stoppage time and finishing it off himself. Offsetting the early San Jose counter attack goal that saw the LA Galaxy get caught up the field thereby allowing Chris Wondolowski to score in the 89th minute.
The LA Galaxy’s bread and butter so far in this young season has been solid defense. And for the most part tonight, even in the first half that saw San Jose at even strength against the Galaxy they weren’t tested. Brian Rowe had another solid outing in goal and Ashley Cole, Robbie Rogers, Daniel Steres and Jelle Van Damme stood strong.
The real added bonus for the Galaxy was seeing Ashley Cole and Robbie Rogers really work on their overlapping runs. They pushed high both on multiple occasions and facilitated some fancy LA Galaxy passing in the offense end of the field.
Steven Gerrard had to be subbed in just the 4th minute of the game. The LA Galaxy listed his injury as a left calf strain. A timetable for his return is unknown. Baggio Husidic came in and did an excellent job of facilitating the offense through the middle.
Sebastian Lletget had a great game up top with Robbie Keane. He was dangerous and did his best to create space and chances. Through Lletget, Zardes and Magee the Galaxy’s passing was some of the best I’ve seen in three games.
Mike Magee was once again a force for the LA Galaxy. A lot of action goes through Magee and it was clear in this game that he was ready for it.
The main tactical switch saw Sebastian Lletget take over the striker position next to Robbie Keane and saw Mike Magee play at right midfield. This stayed pretty consistent with Gyasi Zardes being the midfielder who was press up higher. Cole backstopped Zardes and that combination made SJ route most of their pressure away from Cole on the night.
The LA Galaxy have next weekend off. They’ll train Tuesday through Friday and then take the weekend off. where
Robbie Keane and Gyasi Zardes have both been called into their respective national teams.
The LA Galaxy will have this weekend off (international break) to heal some of their injuries.
Nigel De Jong (Ankle?) Bruce said that De Jong would be fine.
Jose Villarreal (right knee)
Robbie Keane scored his 75th goal in just 111 regular season MLS games.
Robbie Keane is 4 goals shy of 100 goals (96) in all competitions for the LA Galaxy.
In the press box it was noted that Nigel De Jong would make the best super villain. Think Pinky and the Brain with Nigel De Jong playing Brain and Jelle Van Damme playing Pinky.
During Nigel De Jong’s post game talk with reporters, Jelle Van Damme interrupted the scrum by playing the Dutch National Anthem over the locker room sound system. Nigel responded that it was time for Jelle Van Damme to act his age. Van Damme is the jokester in the locker room. Everyone was laughing.