Photo by ISIPhotos.net
BY ADAM SERRANO
CARSON, Calif. –The New England Revolution jumped out to an early two goal lead and never looked back, defeating the Landon Donovan-less Los Angeles Galaxy, 3-1 at the Home Depot Center on Saturday night.
Kelyn Rowe, Chris Tierney and Saer Sene tallied for the Revolution while Robbie Keane scored the Galaxy's lone goal of the night. The Galaxy were without Donovan, who missed the match due to a quadriceps strain.
Although even without Donovan, the Galaxy entered the match with the vaunted attack, it was the Revolution, who were able to exploit every Galaxy error to defeat the defending MLS Cup champions.
“Our attack came from our good defense. We pressured them a lot and we tore about their defense a bit,” said Rowe. “Lee Nguyen on the left and myself on the right, we were making runs in between the midfield and the backline and that hurt them a little bit. Our forwards held the ball for us great and making runs off and people found us the ball in the right positions.”
Rowe struck first in the 10th minute when the rookie was unlocked by a through-ball by Shalrie Joseph. His first effort on goal was saved by Galaxy goalkeeper Josh Saunders, but the rookie coolly put the rebound into the back of the Galaxy net.
Just three minutes later, the Revolution doubled their lead in the 13th minute as Joseph and Kevin Alston combined to put the defender behind the Galaxy defense. Alston then unleashed a cross that Tierney punched in for the night's second goal.
“I think for us it was a good start. We came out and executed the game plan, which was we wanted to keep possession,” said Revolution head coach Jay Heaps. “We knew that the Galaxy is so good on the attack and you know the old cliché the best defense is a good offense. We wanted to keep the ball as long as we could at times and then take our chances and that’s what we did.”
In the 39th minute, the Galaxy nearly cut the Revs lead to one when David Beckham fired a free kick that caused the Englishman to slip on the wet ground, but his effort nearly curled into the top corner, but was pushed away by goalkeeper Matt Reis.
The Galaxy continued their pressure in the first minute of stoppage time as Edson Buddle appeared to get a one-on-one with the goalkeeper, but a late challenge by defender Stephen McCarthy forced Buddle to fire his shot wide.
Despite controlling the run of play late in the first half, the Galaxy opted to make two changes at the halftime, taking off Beckham and Marcelo Sarvas in favor of Michael Stephens and Magee. Moves that head coach Bruce Arena assured were purely coaches' decisions.
"Felt we needed to make a change in the midfield. Purely a coach’s decision," said Arena. "I couldn’t change 11 players, that’s what I told the team at halftime. If I had 11 substitutions I would have considered that."
Although the Galaxy head coach admitted that Beckham was not pleased by the early substitution, Arena quickly stressed that the Englishman's removal was not the Galaxy's real issue.
"Hopefully he’s ready to be part of the next game," asserted Arena. "I’m sure he’s not pleased about it but that’s not the issue in the game. The issue for the game was 11 players for New England soundly outplayed the 11 players for the Galaxy."
New England added their third of the night in the 65th minute when Ryan Guy blazed down the right side of the field, turning defender Todd Dunivant before firing a cross to Saer Sene, who headed it past Saunders.
Los Angeles pushed forward late in hopes of getting on the board and finally broke through in the 78th minute as Edson Buddle fired a cross that caught Keane on the run. Keane then calmly beat Reis for his fourth goal of the season.
New England will now look ahead to their date with FC Dallas next Thursday at FC Dallas Stadium while the Galaxy look to rebound on Saturday in a road match with Sporting Kansas City. A match that the Galaxy understand is a pivotal one of them, as they hope to recover their championship form from last season.
"We’ve had some difficult ones so far, when you come back into the locker room, it’s just different than last year," said defender AJ DeLaGarza. "Everyone’s down so obviously, it’s a rough start to our season, but we have 30-plus games so we can’t hold our heads down, we have to get back and we have a big game next week against Kansas City."