FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – LA Galaxy forward Miguel Lopez scored his first MLS goal in the 69th minute to give the Western Conference leaders a 1-0 victory over New England at Gillette Stadium.
Lopez extended the Galaxy's winning streak to four matches as he headed home David Beckham's near post cross. It took a pair of goal line clearances by AJ DeLaGarza and Landon Donovan to preserve the advantage in stoppage time, but the Galaxy managed to emerge with all three points.
The second half lacked the panache of the early stages of the opening stanza, but the Galaxy finally engineered the breakthrough after 69 minutes.
Beckham found himself in acres of time and space on the right flank. He served in a curling low cross to the near post and Lopez cut across halftime substitute Franco Coria – inserted in place of the injured Ryan Cochrane – to hit a glancing header inside the far post beyond the outstretched Matt Reis.
Lopez nearly doubled his haul seven minutes later, but Reis dove quickly to his left to push away the low drive.
The save nearly proved crucial as the Revs nearly conjured up an equalizer in stoppage time. DeLaGarza and Donovan somehow managed to hack Zack Schilawski's efforts clear to preserve the victory.
While New England named an unchanged side from Saturday's 2-1 defeat at San Jose, Los Angeles made three changes to the side that defeated Houston 1-0 at the Home Depot Center on Wednesday night. Beckham returned to the starting XI after his midweek trip to England for former Manchester United defender Gary Neville's testimonial, while Lopez and Mike Magee also earned recalls.
Both sides looked up to the task during an energetic first half with plenty of chances at either end. Zak Boggs and Donovan set the tone with near-misses inside the first four minutes as both sides committed to pushing numbers forward in search of goals.
New England started the brighter of the two sides as the Revolution created several chances inside the opening quarter of an hour. In addition to Boggs' sliding effort over the bar from Benny Feilhaber's neat feed, the Revs nearly engineered a breakthrough twice through Rajko Lekic – once on a cross from Boggs, once in response to a giveaway from DeLaGarza – to show their attacking intent.
The visitors settled down after the frantic early stages and posed two serious threats to Reis after 24 minutes. Chad Barrett forced Reis to push away his effort at the near post to give the Galaxy a corner kick. Gonzalez rose highest to head Beckham's ensuing service off the crossbar. The ball bounded straight down onto the goal line, but it eventually bounced away to safety.
Donovan nearly carved out the opener with a header three minutes before halftime, but his effort drifted wide to send the teams into the interval on level terms.
Donovan, Shalrie Joseph and Feilhaber – who came off with a twisted right ankle late in the 2nd half – left to join up with their national teams for the Gold Cup after the game. LA (8-2-5) next host D.C. United on Friday, while the Revs (3-5-3) travel to FC Dallas on Saturday.
LA -- Miguel Lopez 1 (David Beckham 7) 69
LA Galaxy -- Donovan Ricketts, Sean Franklin, A.J. DeLaGarza, Omar Gonzalez, Todd Dunivant, Landon Donovan, David Beckham (Michael Stephens 79), Juninho, Mike Magee (Chris Birchall 72), Chad Barrett (Paolo Cardozo 62), Miguel Lopez.
Substitutes Not Used: Gregg Berhalter, Frankie Hejduk, Bryan Jordan, Josh Saunders.
New England Revolution -- Matt Reis, Kevin Alston, Ryan Cochrane (Franco Coria 46), A.J. Soares, Darrius Barnes, Zak Boggs (Sainey Nyassi 67), Benny Feilhaber, Shalrie Joseph, Stephen McCarthy (Zack Schilawski 74), Chris Tierney, Rajko Lekic.
Substitutes Not Used: Didier Domi, Alan Koger, Pat Phelan, Bobby Shuttleworth.
LA -- David Beckham (caution; Reckless Tackle) 67
Referee: Jorge Gonzalez
Referee's Assistants: James Conlee; Jeff Hosking
4th Official: John McCloskey
Time of Game: 1:55