Photo by David Bernal/ISIPhotos.net
BY ADAM SERRANO
The Los Angeles Galaxy battled back from an early deficit to score four unanswered goals, defeating Sporting Kansas City, 4-1, in front of 19,763 at the Home Depot Center on Saturday night.
Landon Donovan scored twice in a match in which all three Galaxy designated players scored goals for the Galaxy. Throughout the match, dominant possession play by the Galaxy proved too much for a Sporting team that struggled throughout the night to generate posseesion. For the Galaxy captain, it was a fun match.
“It is always fun to score. It is always fun to play well, pass well, move the ball well," said Donovan. "You can either spend the energy defending and chasing or you could spend the energy with the ball it is always more fun with the ball and I think at the end of the night we did that.”
The match began poorly for the Galaxy just prior to kick off when goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts was scratched due to illness, this gave backup Josh Saunders the start in goal for the Galaxy. However, once the action started, the Galaxy were able to put a great deal of pressure on the struggling Kansas City side.
Galaxy may have controlled the match, but it was Sporting that got on the board first. Sporting KC was able to open the scoring when an errant cross that deflected off Galaxy defender Omar Gonzalez led to an own goal and gave the visitors an early lead. Right after the goal, Kansas City began to find space to press for a second that never came.
Just before the half, Roger Espinoza fouled David Beckham in the box forcing a penalty that Donovan easily converted. Just a minute into the second half, Donovan scored his second of the night off a quick give and go with Chad Barrett allowing the Galaxy captain to score his MLS leading seventh goal. The goal was Donovan's seventh in five games.
The Galaxy added a third when defender Todd Dunivant expertly placed a pass to Juan Pablo Angel, who was able to cooly beat Kronberg. The goal was Angel's second of the season for the Galaxy, but it wasn't the Galaxy's last. In the 87th minute, the Galaxy put an exclamation point on the match when David Beckham lashed in his first goal of the season off one of his vintage free kicks that was clearly too much for the Kansas City defense.
With the Galaxy firing on cylinders, Kansas City head coach Peter Vermes was left to wonder what went wrong for a Sporting KC side that sits at the bottom of the MLS standings table with four points.
“I thought in the first half we played really solid. Getting it to 1-0 was good unfortunately we made a critical mistake right before the half and gave a penalty kick but coming in 1-1 was good," said Vermes. "The second half is what put the dagger in us and that is the part that gets frustrating.”
Los Angeles will now prepare for the SuperClasico against their rivals from across the hall, Chivas USA on Saturday while Sporting will continue their marathon road swing against the Seattle Sounders.
With the victory, the Galaxy lifted themselves to the top of the table at 20 points, three points ahead of FC Dallas. For Donovan, lifting the Galaxy to the top of the league table is important, but the usually humble Galaxy captain admitted that it felt good to take the league lead in goals.
“It feels good to be on top of the league in points as a team and that’s the goal. But it’s always nice to score, it’s always good to hit the net," said Donovan. "Like I’ve said a million times, when you put yourself in good spots and are you are aggressive, the chances come. Sometimes they go in and sometimes they don’t, and right now they’re going in so we’ll just keep going.”