LA Galaxy defense steps up to ensure multi-goal lead holds up in win

CARSON, Calif. -- After dropping two-goal leads to tie their previous two matches, the LA Galaxy returned to basics to regain confidence in their 4-0 win over Columbus Crew SC Saturday night.

While it took an effort on both sides of the ball, the defense pulled their weight to pick up three points.

“We scored goals and they didn’t. It’s as basic as that,” Galaxy head coach Sigi Schmid explained after the game. “If you look at the last three games, we scored nine goals. It is just a matter of defense holding up their end of the bargain, as well.”

Defensive struggles have become a theme for the Galaxy so far this season, and the two previous matches had highlighted those concerns.

The Galaxy played three matches in the last eight days, but had only earned five of the possible nine points, despite having two-goal leads against the San Jose Earthquakes and D.C. United. Both of those games included a dramatic goal from forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic within the first few minutes, but the Galaxy could not maintain the electricity that those strikes provided. While Ibrahimovic also scored in Saturday's win, the overall performance was far more assured.

“I think the strong team performance gives us a lot of confidence,” forward Ola Kamara, who opened the scoring against his former team, said. “The clean sheet was very important for us because of us conceding a lot of maybe soft goals, getting a clean sheet was maybe the best thing. But, of course, getting the three points was very important as well.”

Coming back into the fold, Giovani and Jonathan Dos Santos returned from international duty with the Mexican national team at the World Cup to play significant minutes for the Galaxy in this match. Bolstering the lineup with two Designated Players who had been unavailable since May helped provide stability in the midfield to help ensure a comprehensive victory.

“From a standpoint of just being committed defensively today, it was a superior effort, far better, and that’s something that we have to bring every week.” Schmid added.

While the scoreline was ultimately lopsided, it didn't necessarily reflect the play in the game. Columbus dominated the run of play until Kamara opened the scoring in the 42nd minute. Moments later, Galaxy defender Dave Romney scored an own goal, but Video Review overturned the goal because the ball had gone over the endline just prior to Romney's play on it.

But with a shutout and a commanding scoreline, LA are happy to take the points and build off it.

“Tonight is good for our confidence,” midfielder Romain Alessandrini, a second half substitute who scored a late brace, commented post-game. “The most important thing was that we did not concede goals. I think the defense got a lot of confidence for the next few games.”