CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy played the kind of soccer they envision for much of Sunday's SuperClasico romp over Chivas USA, then issued something of a warning to the rest of the league: This is just the start.
Bruce Arena again employed a diamond midfield that quickly took command of things, and LA's dominance was rewarded with goals by Robbie Keane and Stefan Ishizaki near the end of the first half and Baggio Husidic shortly after the break en route to a simple 3-0 thrashing that could have been much worse.
“Today was very enjoyable. I think we had a lot of fun playing today,” said Landon Donovan, who picked up assists on Ishizaki's and Husidic's strikes. “As we get more comfortable with each other, that's going to get even better.”
The Galaxy (1-1-1) conceded virtually nothing until the final 10 minutes, and the Goats (1-2-2) put just one shot on frame, a Carlos Alvarez blast at goalkeeper Brian Perk in the 82nd minute. Keane nearly had a second goal, Donovan came close four times, and Marcelo Sarvas would have provided an early lead had his aim been better on a lob that went just wide in the sixth minute.
“I thought it was a great performance from start to finish,” said Keane, who also had an assist on Husidic's goal. “Certainly the way we played, the manner that we played – keeping possession, keeping the ball – sometimes an extra pass can open up the defense, and that was certainly the case today.”
Husidic's goal was the high point for LA, a quick, stylish six-pass sequence with wonderful touches by Keane and Donovan to set up the shot. Keane called it “a proper goal [out of] the way we like to play: You know, counterattack, keeping the ball going as quick as possible, and ultimately we got a great goal from it.”
The Galaxy might have played better in their opener, dominating Real Salt Lake from start to finish, taking 27 shots and creating more than a dozen chances in a 1-0 defeat. This time they added goals to the mix.
“We took our chances,” Perk said. “We had similar chances against Salt Lake, and we took them now. We're a little bit further along than we were at that stage in the season, so I kind of expect more of the same from our guys creating chances and finishing them off going forward. ...
“We kind of played them off the pitch, basically, so I thought it was a really impressive performance by a bunch of guys that are starting, it seems, to come together and play well as a team.”
Arena called it “a good win” and said it would “establish some confidence [within] the team,” but he wants to see more.
“We do have a good team, and we can have good days,” he said. “A good day today, but I think we were a bit sloppy. I think we could have been better today.”
Keane thinks that's not far away.
“I was fairly confident in the way that we were playing, and certainly the way we were training, that it was going to come,” he said. “It's only been three games, so don't get too carried away, but it was a performance that I think has been coming for us for a couple games.
“When we played [CONCACAF] Champions League as well, we could just sense it, that we were just getting there. And today, that's the way we want to play the game, because that's what we enjoy doing: moving the ball very very quickly and making it hard for other teams.”