Triple your pleasure - LA Galaxy update

LA Galaxy playing at home defeated the Houston Dynamo 1-0.

That is their third win in a row.
They have moved up to third in the West conference.
The team sits at third in the Supporter's Shield.

Saw parts of the game. The forward movement and play between dos Santos/Zardes/Keane is looking better. By stats, it looked like an even match up. By eyeball, in the parts that I saw, the Galaxy seemed to be having their way with Houston though they didn't put it into the net except for the Gerrard goal at the 66 minute mark. Seems to me they should have won by a wider margin as they weren't "clinical" on the final part of the play.

Went over to LAGConfidential to see how their guy saw the WHOLE game.

Here are some excerpts from their report in italics with my comments in regular text.

Giovani dos Santos: For my money, the enigmatic little Mexican midfielder was LA's man of the match. He didn't show up on the scoreboard, but he played with a level of intensity and commitment that surpassed any previous performance for LA. 

I'd agree he looked fit and lively.

In this match, he (Zardes) did a great job playing the role a target winger. He stays wide, works hard defensively, makes slashing runs through the midfield, but also plays the role of the hold-up player. He receives the ball with his back to goal, and and dishes it off to his teammates, maintaining possession and helping to transition from defense to the attack.

I'd agree he looked fit and lively.

Of course, I can't talk about this match without appreciating how his group of players have shored up their defense. The team is currently playing very cohesive and effective defense. Houston are one of the worst teams in the league, but LA did a very good job harassing them in the midfield and not giving them any good scoring opportunities in the penalty box. [......] While the score and the stats may not reflect it, LA seemed to be truly in control of this match.

Great to see the Galaxy pitching shutouts!

Robbie Keane, while creating plenty of chances, had an uncharacteristically poor night finishing his them. The missed penalty early in the match is the obvious example, but he also seemed to be just off on his runs, his touch, and his communication with his teammates.

I didn't see the missed PK. I did see the play when he got after Houston that resulted in the Gerrard goal. I thought is is pretty amazing that these two mid-30-somethings out-hustled the Dynamo defenders. Wonder if the Dynamo just didn't expect these old guys to get after it like that? But I'll take the LAG's word for it that over the whole game that while Keane was on the ball he was not as sharp with it at the end of the run of play as he usually is.

I don't understand why Arena is so slow to make his substitutions. This team has unprecedented depth. Mike Magee was the first sub, and he came on for Gerrard in the 80th minute. Poor Sebastian Lletget, the second and final substitution on the night, didn't get in until the 89th minute.[......]As regular readers know, I have a love/hate relationship with Gerrard. He has the ability to make things happen for the team. He can spray the ball around like nobody's business, and he'll occasionally crop up in a key position and score a game-winning goal like he did tonight. Unfortunately, at his advanced age, there are also some pretty gaping holes in his game. In about the 60th minute, it became pretty clear that he was getting fatigued.

I'd agree that the Galaxy has a strong bench and over the long season it would be good to work them into games. Of course, in this particular game, Gerrard got the goal at 66' and would potentially have been subbed out at 60. But the counter-point is that one of the subs (probably Magee) might have pounced on the loose ball just as well and have scored.

Anyway, this week is a mid-week a US Open match against Seattle. Will see how much of the "A-team" plays. MLS Cup is the main thing so would anticipate some mix and match for the line-up card.

UPDATE: Well, that was a nice surprise! Galaxy advance to semi-finals of US Open Cup with a 4-2 win over Seattle. Down 2-1, Arena sent in two offense members of the "A-team," Zardes and Dos Santos, in the 74th minute. Boom - Dos Santos got the tying goal at 77. Zardes to Husidic to Lletget to get the go ahead at 85. Zardes and Lletget did a two-man game and Lletget gathered another at 88.

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