CARSON, Calif. — Results don’t mean a whole lot in the preseason, but from the very first moment of their very first game on Friday, the LA Galaxy looked sharp.
The defending MLS Cup champs played the first of their somewhat busy preseason slate and walked away with a rather effortless 7-2 win over local USL Pro side LA Blues at the Home Depot Center.
“For the first time out, it’s good to give players an opportunity,” head coach Bruce Arena told reporters after the match. "I think we used 24 players ... so it’s good to get out. We get to see some players and have a better feel for who they are as we start to try and finalize our roster in the next couple of weeks.”
The Galaxy’s competition will increase significantly in the coming weeks — the club will play Portland and Houston on Feb. 7 and 10, respectively — but there was plenty to build, particularly since Friday’s exercise was just the 10th training session for the club since returning from the offseason.
“We got some goals and got some very good movement,” newcomer Pat Noonan said. “There are definitely some good things. We conceded a goal but other than that there was a lot of ball movement — good ball movement, good spacing and we finished off our opportunities, which was good.”
Noonan was one of three Galaxy starters to wear the jersey for the first time — first-round pick Tommy Meyer and midfielder Marcelo Sarvas also took the field in the first half. Arena ran out two different lineups, swapping 10 of 11 players at halftime. The level of play dropped in the second half.
“Probably had to do with the fact that we had our better players playing in the first half and the new guys in the second half,” Arena said. “It’s expected to be a little sloppy and it was.”
The Galaxy led 5-1 at the break. One of the club’s goal scorers in the first half was Sarvas (above), who opened the scoring with an early penalty kick.
“It’s important to give me more confidence in the games so I can find my spot on the team,” Sarvas said.
In the second half, fellow newcomer Kyle Nakazawa also scored.
“Scoring any goal, no matter how it is, is always a boost,” the midfielder said. “I stepped up and I like taking those opportunities.”
Nakazawa trained with the Galaxy for the first time on Thursday after having been acquired via trade with Philadelphia. The UCLA product played forward but is expected to battle for playing time in central midfield.
“It’s always different being with a new team, the first time especially, but it felt really good to get out there, get sweaty and get the wheels starting to move again,” Nakazawa said. “It’s going to take a little bit of time to get adjusted but it just felt really good.”
The Galaxy will play four MLS rivals at Home Depot Center over the coming weeks — Chivas USA and Montreal will be future opponents as well — before the club departs for a stint in Tucson, Ariz. Matches will give coaches more chances to see the newcomers in action. Results still likely won’t matter a whole lot.
“We’re just having a look at everyone and see what they’re about as we move forward and get close to our opening games,” Arena said.
Luis Bueno covers the LA Galaxy for MLSsoccer.com and can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com.