Photo by Michael Janosz/ISIphotos.com
By MARK EDWARD HORNISH
CARSON, Calif. — A little home cooking was good for the LA Galaxy on Wednesday night, as they picked up a 2-1 win over FC Dallas in their first game at StubHub Center in more than a month.
Returning from a four-game, five-week road trip in which they managed only two points, the Galaxy put on a possession clinic and dominated FC Dallas before a crowd of 14,615. Robbie Keane and Gyasi Zardes linked up repeatedly on the evening, and both returned to the scoring column with a pair of lovely first-half goals.
Zardes found Keane loose above the box for the first tally in the 24th minute and Keane did the rest. The veteran forward danced through three Dallas defenders before burying a left-footed strike in the upper 90 from the semi-circle. Keane returned the favor just before halftime by bending in a cross to Zardes, who slipped his mark and headed home a looping ball that beat FC Dallas goalkeeper Raul Fernandez.
“Gyasi did really well today,” said Keane. “I said to him before the game, it was important that he have a big game today, and he certainly did. He was a threat. He mixed his game up well tonight, and he got the reward.”
Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena’s experiment last week with Keane in the midfield was short-lived. Keane looked lively all night in his return to the top of the formation, and seemed to enjoy the athleticism of Zardes at his side.
“Two good goals,” said Arena after the match. “Obviously, Keane’s was a spectacular finish, and Gyasi’s in a good spot to put away that goal, and probably had a few opportunities to get a second one. It was a good night for us.”
Perhaps more important than finding their shooting boots, the Galaxy defense managed to avoid the howling errors that have plagued the road-weary side over the past month.
Dallas managed only one handsome stretch of possession early in the second half, which culminated in a Tesho Akindele tap-in goal in the 66th minute. But that would be all for the visitors.
The rest of the night was a refreshingly clean performance for LA’s back line, especially given the fact that designated anchor Omar Gonzalez is with the U.S. Men’s National Team.
“Today we gave up a goal that maybe could’ve, should’ve been called offsides,” said AJ DeLaGarza. “But at the same time, we managed the rest of the game well, and got out of here with three points. It wasn’t pretty, but it was effective.”
For Dallas, its recent woes continue. While looking bright for small stretches, the majority of the match saw FC Dallas on the back foot, chasing the Galaxy and the game.
After a blistering start to the season, Dallas is now winless in six matches, a stretch that dates back to April 19. Things don’t get easier any time soon, as they will travel to Rio Tinto Stadium to take on first place Real Salt Lake on Saturday night.
The Galaxy will get to enjoy their home meals for a while longer. They take on Philadelphia Union at the StubHub Center on Sunday evening, and play two of their next three games at home before heading into the World Cup break.
“It’s been a long few weeks away from home,” said Keane after the match. “It’s certainly nice to be in your back garden. The pitch was playing very, very well. You could see the way we were moving the ball, very quickly. It certainly suited us.”