CARSON, Calif. – Alan Gordon sure made the most of his first ever start in an MLS Cup Playoff match.
The 35-year-old played a part in all three Galaxy goals in Wednesday night's Knockout Round victory over Real Salt Lake, notching one and adding two assists for just the second time in his distinguished career.
Alan Gordon has a goal and 2 assists. He’s only done that one other time in his previous 260 MLS games (9/29/12 vs. DAL). #LAvRSL— Ben Baer (@BenBaer89) October 27, 2016
Even more importantly, Gordon says he, “should be okay” for Sunday’s Western Conference Semifinal first-leg showdown with Colorado after having to leave Wednesday's match with a hip problem in the 52nd minute.
“He’s fine. He’s not going to have a problem,” LA Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena said when asked if Gordon would be ready for Sunday.
“He knows where the goal is. You don’t have to point him in the right direction,” Arena responded when asked what Gordon brings to the side. “He holds the ball up, he gets in front of the goal, he works real hard and he did his job today.”
Playing in his traditional roll as a No. 9, Gordon brought an extra dimension to the Galaxy’s attack in front of the attack-minded midfield trio of Landon Donovan, Giovani Dos Santos and Emmanuel Boateng running underneath him.
“That’s a team we’ve been playing with over the last two or three weeks, getting them ready for the playoffs,” Arena said when asked what made tonight’s starting XI so effective. “They’ve been training together. They know each other. They know their responsibilities. I thought they played in a very cohesive manor. This is the best collective effort we’ve had in a while.”
It was a Donovan cross and a Dos Santos flick on that led to Gordon poking home at the back post after just 14 minutes for the opener. “There wasn’t much left for me to do, but put it in the net,” Gordon said of the build-up to the first goal. “Those two [Donovan and Dos Santos] deserve all the credit for that goal.”
The two-time MLS Cup champion forward did not dwell on tonight’s performance for too long, instead looking towards Sunday’s opponents.
“I think Colorado, in my opinion, was the best team this year," he said. "They are a really good team collectively. They fight hard, they battle. There’s no easy game against them. So it’s going to be a tough challenge.”