The Los Angeles Galaxy defeated the Fresno Fuego of the USL First Division by a 3-0 margin on Saturday night at Lamonica Stadium in Clovis, Calif. The match marked the final preseason game for the club before next week's 2005 MLS season opener versus the Columbus Crew on April 2, at 4:30 pm (PT) on FSN West. Galaxy midfielder Peter Vagenas earned man of the match honors for his two-goal performance with strikes in 16th and 57th minutes.
The Galaxy opened the match in exciting fashion creating the club's first chance in the 3rd minute. Off a corner kick, midfielder Ned Grabavoy's sent a swerving cross into the box. Forward Naldo, holding off a defender, sent a powerful header just over the cross bar.
In the 15th minute, Los Angeles nearly broke through on a Grabavoy corner kick. This time, it was defender Tyrone Marshall's header that beat goalkeeper Jeremy Proud, but was cleared off the line by defender Jose Delgadillo.
However, the Galaxy would not be denied in the 16th minute. Midfielder Mamba Chisoni, who replaced an injured Josh Gardner, ran onto a long through ball up the left wing. At the edge of the box, Chisoni fired a low cross to the near post for midfielder Peter Vagenas, who used a deft heel flick to tuck the ball inside the far post beating the Fuego goalkeeper.
The Fresno's best chance of the first half came in the 36th minute as Fuego forward Eddie Gutierrez got on the end of a through ball inside left edge of the box. Gutierrez dribbled in on goal and fired a low shot at the near post, but was denied by Galaxy goalkeeper Josh Saunders.
Just before the end of the first half, the Galaxy almost doubled their lead as another Chisoni's cross from the left wing was meet by a crashing Naldo, whose header sailed off the cross bar.
Galaxy defender Ben Benditson made a streaking 40-yard run up the right wing joining the offense and was rewarded with a great pass from Brazilian Paulo Nagamura. Inside the 18-yard box, the Fuego's Rogelio Padilla fouled Benditson, who was looking to get around his defender at the endline.
Vagenas stepped to take the ensuing penalty kick in the 57th minute. The former U.S. Olympian hit a low shot inside the right post, just below the Fresno 'keeper's fingertips giving L.A. a 2-0 advantage.
In the 79th minute, Los Angeles took a 3-0 lead on a strike from midfielder Guillermo Gonzalez. On the right wing, Benditson played a cross into the box for Gonzalez, who beat his man to the ball. Gonzalez, who set the ball up on his left foot, proceeded to blast a laser past the Fuego's Proud and into the back of the net.
The Los Angeles Galaxy are pleased to once again offer fans "The Best Seats in the House" at The Home Depot Center. For the Galaxy's first two home games in 2005 (April 9 vs. Real Salt Lake and April 23 vs. CD Chivas USA), the club will be selling 100 seats along one touchline on a first-come, first-served basis. Each ticket costs $150 per game and includes the actual chair the fan sits in. For more information on "The Best Seats in the House" or to purchase tickets, call the Galaxy Ticket Office toll-free at 1-877-3GALAXY.
LA - Vagenas (Chisoni) '16
LA - Vagenas (penalty kick) '57
LA - Gonzalez (Benditson) '79
Los Angeles Galaxy - Josh Saunders, Ben Benditson, Troy Roberts, Tyrone Marshall, Todd Dunivant (Paul Broome 46), Cobi Jones (Herculez Gomez 58), Peter Vagenas, Paulo Nagamura, Josh Gardner (Mamba Chisoni 10), Naldo (Guillermo Gonzalez 73), Ned Grabavoy (Michael Enfield 67).
Fresno Fuego - Jeremy Proud, Jose Delgadillo, Marcos Lopez, Jared Dugan, Raul Rivera, Adrian Alverado, Rogelio Padilla, Derek Lopez, Eli Delgado, Victor Lopez, Eddie Gutierrez.