CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy have played pretty well, win or lose, the past month or so, but they've been stymied by one thing or another – usually precision up front or focus at the rear – and have dropped points they ought not have.
Nearly everything went their way Sunday night, though, when Marcelo Sarvas and Hector Jimenez netted second-half goals and their defense allowed FC Dallas nearly nothing in a 2-0 triumph at the StubHub Center.
Was it the “complete” game LA has been looking for?
“It was close. Not quite there, but tonight was one of our better games on the year,” said head coach Bruce Arena, whose team claimed six points in four days, with a comeback win Thursday over Columbus. “I thought we played very well at both ends of the field. Our passing was much improved, our movement off the ball was very good. We again created chances, finished a couple tonight, could have finished even more. Rock-solid defending against a team that's outstanding [on attack].”
The Galaxy dominated the game from start to finish, making repeated forays into Dallas' box, winning the midfield battles behind Sarvas and Juninho, and denying their foe more than one or two decent looks at goal.
“We did well, from the forwards all the way to Carlo [Cudicini, the goalkeeper],” said center back A.J. DeLaGarza, who had one of his finest performances of the campaign. “Everyone did their part tonight. We played a complete game. Not our best game ever, but it was still a pretty good performance.”
Several players called it a “complete performance,” including Robbie Keane, who was a last-minute decision to play after his knee was drained of fluid on Saturday – the remnants of a knock he took in the Fourth of July victory over the Crew.
“From the start, the way we played,” he said. “It would have been nice to get the goal in the first half, but it wasn't to be. But we managed to get the goal in the second half, and we killed the game off.”
That's been a problem for the Galaxy since they last strung together wins, back in April. They create chances, they take loads of shots – 22 on Sunday – but they haven't been finishing those chances. It cost them three points last weekend at San Jose, who scored three late goals, two in stoppage, in a 3-2 decision, and it nearly cost them against Columbus, who took a late lead then crumbled when Keane converted two penalty kicks for a 2-1 LA win.
“I thought we kind of learned our lesson from the past few games,” said winger Robbie Rogers, who set up Jimenez's goal. “I thought we really ended this game really well, and we kept the ball and didn't allow them to have too many chances. It was a sign of growth for us, definitely.”
“I think tonight was a real good win for our team, and this week was obviously a good week, so hopefully we can continue to get better,” he said. “We're starting now to have close to our first group together, which has been close to impossible all year, so I think we're beginning to see signs of becoming a better team.”