By IVES GALARCEP
No Robbie Keane. No Landon Donovan. No problem for the Los Angeles Galaxy.
Bruce Arena’s side was missing its two designated players, as well as regular starters Carlo Cudicini and Todd Dunivant, but it didn’t seem to matter as the reserve players deputized on Saturday stepped up and helped deliver an impressive victory that keeps the champions rolling toward the top of the Western Conference.
Goals from Mike Magee and rookie Charlie Rugg helped the Galaxy beat Real Salt Lake at Rio Tinto on Saturday night, a 2-0 victory that pushed the Galaxy to within six points of first-place FC Dallas, with two matches in hand.
RSL didn’t score, but not for a lack of chances or possession. The home team held a 72-27 possession edge, and had twice as many shots on target, but some outstanding saves from back-up goalkeeper Brian Rowe helped keep RSL off the scoreboard.
The night wasn’t all good news for the Galaxy. Young forward Jack McBean left the match with an injury that was later reported to be a fractured clavicle. An injury that will likely ruin any chances he had of playing his way into the U.S. Under-20 National Team conversation ahead of this summer’s Under-20 World Cup.
McBean’s injury came on the same night that highly-regarded rookie striker Gyasi Zardes made his debut. The CSU-Bakersfield product and Galaxy Homegrown Player replaced McBean and played 37 minutes, impressive observers with flashes of the considerable skill that had him pegged as a Rookie of the Year candidate before a broken foot suffered in pre-season delayed his arrival on the Galaxy.
Magee opened the scoring in the sixth minute when he headed home a Juninho free kick to make the score 1-0, giving him his sixth goal on the season, tied for the most in the league.
RSL nearly equalized in the ninth minute when Plata tested Rowe from distance, only to have the UCLA product deliver a fingertip save.
McBean provided his biggest contribution of the match in the 16th minute when he delivered a pass to Hector Jimenez, who sent a perfect low cross that found Rugg, who powered home from close range for his first career pro goal.
The two early goals were enough for the Galaxy defense to carry to victory, even as Real Salt Lake pelted Rowe with shots.
Here are the match highlights:
While I’m usually the first person to quash any premature or undue USMNT hype for certain players, I’m surprised not many people have been discussing Magee’s Gold Cup potential.
1. He’s in great form
2. He can play midfield or forward
3. Klinsmann has already stated the squad will be MLS-heavy
4. Klinsmann has already shown a willingness to call up and cap players older than Magee.
5. Many of our young, promising attackers will be with the U-20s
My only problem with him getting a call up is I do not see a purpose. He feeds of chances and the US just doesn’t create many.
If Magee is on a good offense, he can be a “great” player in context, but on a weak offense team, I think he will be have a poor showing. It’s the difference between his time with NY and LA. One he was a nobody, one he is a league standout.
And this is coming from a devout Galaxy supporter and Magee fan.
Although he has done better with the Galaxy, when I saw him at New York I thought he was a good player and never understood why they dealt him. I thought at the time it was a good deal for the Galaxy and in the last two seasons it has become a great deal. Until the last few weeks Magee was, IMO, one of the most underrated players in the league.
perhpas, but comparing his time in NY to LA simply as being on a better team is inaccurate imho; he’s improved his game, and even more importantly, his fitness levels while at LA and that has allowed him to be a catalyst for the offense you see, not just a benefactor
Don’t forget that Magee can play goalkeeper too. He had a shutout against San Jose.
Brian Rowe…what a debut. He was nothing short of top shelp last night. Looked like a wily verteran out there. Who could have predicited what he pulled off last night? I guess maybe Arena but I’d call it a surprising MotM performance
Weird game, I’m wondering if RSL made those line up changes to match up against a ‘weaker’ Galaxy team. If they did or it at least played into their thinking it certainly backfired.
Well done Galaxy.
What do you think the future holds for Chandler Hoffman since his trade? Do you ever see him becoming a productive player in the league? Interested because I played against him in Alabama basically my entire life (u9-u18 + high school)
Open to Philly fans as well since they’ve most likely seen him more than Galaxy fans
Let’s see how he does this morning. I think Arena is trying to convert him into an outside mid. Generation Addidas level talent certainly deserves a look see. I hope he does well, can never have too much talent in MLS.
LA has more attacking depth than any MLS side I have ever seen. Rugg and Jimenez aren’t even starters, plus McBean was sharing minutes with Villereal before Donovan came back and they still scored two against a solid team on the road. Their second set of strikers and outside mids/wingers is probably better than the starters for all but three or four teams.
Agreed, but regarding their outside mids/wingers, LA still lacks depth. From what I’ve seen of Jimenez, he’s a higher quality winger than Colin Clark. I’d like to see LA pick up a real starting XI quality winger.
Besides Magee, Donovan, Franklin (when Leonardo is healthy), and Jimenez, with Zardes (sp?) still coming in off of injury?
LA will play Donovan as a winger and leave Keane up top with a rotation of Villareal and Zardes. And whenever Keane is out, maybe Donovan will start up top.
And if we ever “need” a goal, Donovan can be moved up top. I don’t think we need another quality winger as we do another quality CM. Right now we are two deep, and if one goes down injured we have no one who can replace them that is worthy.
Maybe I just haven’t seen enough of McBean but I’m not buying the hype. I simply haven’t been impressed by any aspect of his game in the few matches I’ve seen.
Just looks like an Arena-try hard guy to me.
Wouldn’t mind being wrong in the long run though, but he just isn’t very impressive to watch, say like a Villarreal.
Interesting, because I’ve seen more than enough to convince me McBean is the real deal even if his style of play is not as flashy as Villarreal’s.
For his age, McBean has already shown that he can play the physical game well which is something big young kids usually take time to learn. He’s also shown he has the ability to cut back with the ball, make contact with a crosses, and hold the ball up and release it. If his decision-making improves (he tends to take one touch too many) and refines his ability to put his touches on frame, he will be good in the long run.
On the other hand, sure, Villarreal is impressive to watch if he has the ball at his feet and time to spare. But have you noticed how easily he gets muscled off the ball if he is running with (not at) defenders? To me, right now Villarreal is most effective when the opponent is bunkered in their own half late in games when he has more opportunities to run at players.
All in all, I think they have both been very impressive so far given that they are both teenagers.
“But have you noticed how easily he gets muscled off the ball if he is running with (not at) defenders?”
I actually haven’t noticed that and watched quite the contrary when I saw his matches against Herediano. He outworked and out muscled the defender (who later go so fed up he tried to break his ankle/Arena promptly subbed him off).
McBean may become a solid MLS player but I’ve never been one to be impressed with a forward simply because he’s physical. The other attributes you’ve listed definitely seem like he’s got a future, but I really haven’t seen it.
I’ve just seen a brutish forward that’s young. If that’s your dish, more power to you.
McBean and Villarreal are both good, young players, but they play two different styles, and really two different positions. McBean is a big, physical target forward while Villarreal is a wily center-forward, Keane-esque type. McBean reminds me of 2009-2010 Buddle. They both deserve the hype, but they’re kids so obviously they’re unfinished in their development.
To go along with Gnarls reply, expect McBean to be a Buddle type player who gets hot and goes cold over the years. He should still post double digit goals on average if starting (or the same equivalent in goals per-game)
my 2 cents would be that McBean showed some of his soccer brain on the play he got injured. Seemed like he knew Borchers would play him to hold that thru ball and try to turn physically with it. McBean dummied and unlocked Magee one on one with Rimando, who is as good as it gets in those situations and stopped the shot. But Borchers on cue ran straight thru McBean and was beaten by the kid’s anticipation of that challenge. I think that shows some understanding, even at 18, more than just brutish. But we’ll see. That injury looked pretty bad last night
on Villareal, I think he’s hoeld the ball up well actually, and surprised with his ability so far to do so. His left foot is awesome. He likes to connect and moves off the ball well. Working with Keane, LD, Magee and co. will help them develop
and now Zardes. wow, what did you all think of him last night? pretty darn good. I’d never seen him play before but get the hype now
He looks like he has great ball handling ability and confidence. If he can finish the chances he will get from others and create for himself, he will be an all-time great, if he doesn’t, or lets his ego overshadow his production on the field, then he will be a huge flop.
I think Villarreal obviously is the better player with the ball at his feet and better finisher. But, McBean looks the wiser when it comes to movement, runs, and working with his team mates. Hence, Bruce starts McBean over Jose. Hope Jack can heal up quick.
You gotta give Arena credit. He can cobble a team up from rookies like no one else.! Good to see Zardes make his debut. Rowe,Rugg, Zardes all made their MLS debuts against a really good team and came away with a 2-0 result Tough luck for McBean, but the sunnyside of 18 is that your bones heal very quickly.