Carson, CA – Preaching the need for results after a tough loss on the road last week, the LA Galaxy completed a 90-minute performance when they virtually dominated the visiting Montreal Impact. With goals from Romain Alessandrini and Jermaine Jones, the Galaxy regained some much-needed composure and three valuable points.
The Galaxy scored early in the game after, after several good chances failed to adequately test Montreal’s goalkeeper, Evan Bush. But the enlightened play of Emmanuel Boateng pressed the team further and further into attack until a cut inside was able to find a pass, outside the box, to a wide open Alessandrini. Bush was screened on the play and the simple placement by Alessandrini found the back of the net for a 15th-minute lead.
For Alessandrini, it was his third goal in the last two games and it was the second time the assist came from the quick-paced Boateng. A partnership seems to be growing and both players seem to be the benefactors of the deal.
“When I see him with the ball, I run,” Alessandrini remarked about Boateng. “After the game, he told me ‘okay, after each assist – each goal, you give me money.’ At the end of the season, if he gives me some good assists – it’s a good payout.”
And Boateng really had his fingers – or perhaps his feet – in most of the dangerous chances throughout the game.
“It’s pretty good that every time I have the ball in the final third I can help create a chance for our team,” said Boateng to reporters after the game. “It’s kind of taking chances, and I feel like I can do that every game.”
However, it was another Galaxy player who decided to put his final stamp on the game. Jermaine Jones, proving once again that age is just a number, created never-ending pressure on the Impact midfield.
Jones was also the lucky recipient of an elbow or a hand to the throat, when, in the 44th-minute, Marco Donadel was ejected from the game for the foul. The referee’s assessment of the infraction seemed harsh, but for the Galaxy, who have now had three of their matches affected by red cards (playing down a man vs Portland and up a man at Real Salt Lake), they were more than willing to take the man advantage into the second half.
The second 45-minutes wasn’t as clean as you’d expect from the Galaxy. The man advantage saw the Impact sitting deeper and looking to counter more than possess.
But in the 74th-minute, Gyasi Zardes – making his first start since August 27th of last year – knocked the ball forward for a streaking Jones. Jones turned on the after-burners as he shot from inside the box. Kyle Fisher did his best to cut off the angle from the middle as Bush, the Impact goalkeeper, took away the far post. But luck would again favor Jones as Fisher’s sliding tackle just barely deflected the ball past Bush for the Galaxy’s second goal.
“I am happy, of course, to score the goal. Especially today, it’s my dad’s birthday and I told him I would try to score a goal,” Jones said after the game. “A goal is always good if you help your team win. In Salt Lake, I had a good chance, and in the first game here I had a good chance to score, and then again in the first half I had a chance, so it was time that one came and I hope I can get some more.”
The defense, behind Captain Jelle Van Damme, Daniel Steres, Ashley Cole and Nathan Smith – with Clement Diop in goal, recorded their first shutout of the year. The performance should provide some much-needed piece-of-mind after allowing four goals last week. Diop was solid in front of the net, making two saves, and generally staying clear of the mistakes that could send him back to the bench.
João Pedro also rebounded from a poor effort in the previous game and put in a solid 60-minutes before being replaced by Baggio Husidic.
The Galaxy are now 2-3-0 on the season and have doubled their point total to six. They currently sit in fifth place in the Western Conference with most teams still to play over the weekend.
The Galaxy will travel across the country to take on Orlando City at 12 PM on Saturday, April 15, 2017. That game will be a National Broadcast on FOX.
The Galaxy exorcised the demons of their 4-2 loss to Vancouver, and, with a little bit of confidence, and a lot of hard work, they can travel to Orlando with less pressure than before. But maybe that pressure was the motivation they needed to perform the way they did?
“Pressure is fun and pressure is good,” said Van Damme. “We had a home game we knew we had to win and I think we responded very well as a team.” Will this team relax, now that they put a 90-minute performance together? For Head Coach Curt Onalfo, he’ll need to find a way to extract the same intensity this game carried, with the rest of their performances down the road.
Will this team relax, now that they put a 90-minute performance together? For Head Coach Curt Onalfo, he’ll need to find a way to extract the same intensity this game carried, with the rest of their performances down the road.
But tonight was a step in the right direction for a team that has, so far this season, been looking for an identity. Perhaps a tireless work ethic, like they showed tonight, can be their guiding nametag throughout the rest of the very long Major League Soccer Season.