By JEFFREY KRAUSE
BRIDGEVIEW, IL.- Defending MLS Cup champs LA Galaxy used a brace from Robbie Keane to shut out the Chicago Fire, 2-0, in front of a sold out crowd at Toyota Park on Sunday afternoon.
The much-needed win helped LA avoid a three-game losing skid, after dropping consecutive matches to San Jose and Philadelphia earlier in the week. Chicago fell for the first time in five matches, dating back to June 2nd, but remain in 4th place in the Eastern Conference.
The Fire showed why the departure earlier this week of Sebastian Grazzini leaves a sizable void in their attack, as they struggled to create chances most of the game. Grazzini, who according to the club left to deal with family issues, last appeared against Columbus Crew on June 23rd. Since his absence, and subsequent departure from the club, Chicago has struggled offensively, scoring just one goal in three matches.
The Galaxy had key players missing as well, as David Beckham served his one-game suspension and Landon Donovan started on the bench due to receiving a knock in Wednesday's loss. Key player absence wouldn't be an issue, however, as Robbie Keane would put Galaxy on the board in the 24th minute with a penalty kick after Jalil Anibaba was whistled for a handball in the penalty area.
Keane added to his tally in the second half when second-half sub Landon Donovan found Keane on a breakaway, leaving little work for the Irish National Team player as he slotted a low blast beyond the reach of Sean Johnson, cementing three points for the Galaxy.
”We had a few injuries today, we were short some players but I think we had a good plan coming into the game and we played pretty solid for 90 minutes," said Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena. "It wasn’t our best game but it was good enough for three points. But it was a good effort by the group.”
Arne Friedrich didn't mince words regarding Chicago's performance.
"We don’t have any excuses. We were pretty lazy today on the pitch. We didn’t have any movement," Friedrich said after the game. "In my eyes, we didn’t have the effort like we have to show. There are no excuses, we deserved to lose today."
Here are the match highlights:
What did you think of the match? Impressed with the Galaxy's attack on Sunday? See the Fire overcoming the loss of Grazzini and finding their offensive groove again?
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