Photo by ISIphotos.com
By ADAM SERRANO
Chivas USA may have brought a different team and a new outlook to this year's clásico, but the result was still the same, a Galaxy victory.
With a dominant performance in the center of the field, the LA Galaxy were able to outmuscle Chivas USA for a 2-0 victory. The result brought the Galaxy's unbeaten streak against their in-stadium rivals to nine games in all competitions.
The Rojiblancos clearly showed improvement from their disjointed performance against Colorado, but were unable to create significant chances going forward against a physical Galaxy midfield. Chivas' play makers Osael Romero and Sacha Kljestan were repeatedly forced off the ball leading to opportunities for the Galaxy on the counter attack.
"We won this game in the midfield, we were able to break their plays and disrupt their style of play," said Galaxy defensive midfielder Dema Kovalenko. "They really couldn't do anything and were barely able to generate a chance."
Focal to the Galaxy's effort's in midfield was the play of Landon Donovan, who displayed each aspect of his game, a sharp contrast to his lackluster play against New England. The Galaxy captain was everywhere on the field, showing his defensive skills by forcing Chivas USA attackers to turn the ball over on numerous occasions. Donovan shined brightest through his ability to orchestrate the Galaxy's attack and assists on both Edson Buddle goals.
"Our competitiveness tonight was very good, whether you play well on the night doesn't really matter and I just feel like we out competed them and that's why we won," said Donovan.
Although the physicality kept Chivas from creating a considerable amount of chances, Chivas USA did maintain a considerable possession. However, much of this possession was kept in their own defensive end as the club struggled to find the way to crack the Galaxy's stingy defense. Chivas maintained their game plan of creating through the center of the field, but were unable to generate consistent offense due to the punishing play of Los Angeles. The Rojiblancos finally appeared to threaten late as the additions of Maicon Santos and Jesus Padilla energized the offense, but poor finishing prevented the equalizer.
"We were trying to create and I thought that LA was a very strong and physical team," said Head Coach Martin Vasquez. "They have that bite in the center of the field with Kovalenko and Birchall and they were able to clearly out muscle us tonight."
While Chivas struggled to convert their chances, the Galaxy were able to capitalize on their own opportunties, with each of the club's two shots on goal ending up in the back of Dan Kennedy's net. The man responsible for those goals is the rapidly maturing Edson Buddle. The striker has been a revelation in the Galaxy's first two games, scoring all three Galaxy goals. The 28 year old has improved dramatically from the forward that missed a considerable amount of time last season due to injury. Buddle's success stems from the cohesion that the Galaxy have had for the past year under head coach Bruce Arena.
"It's a combination of the team being familiar with each other's tendencies on the field," said Buddle. "If I'm able to continue to be in front of the ball then I'll be able to finish off the chances."
Although it may be early in the season, it's worth noting that the Galaxy now have their second victory in two games, a feat which took them 12 games to reach last season. On the opposite end, Chivas USA are now off to their worst start since their inaugural season in 2005.