Well, here’s one thing we all learned on top of the six things we are about to learn from Wednesday night’s contest between the San Jose Earthquakes and Los Angeles Galaxy: Bruce Arena’s men are playing some more postseason football this week.
Sandy? Seattle? The Galaxy don’t care; they’re hosting on Sunday after a 3-1 second leg victory in the MLS Western Conference semifinals. Up next is the Seattle Sounders or Real Salt Lake. Now then, here are the other six things we learned from this encounter.
1. Robbie Keane, the Irish Iceman, cometh
Early on in the first half, the San Jose Earthquakes were forced to weather the storm early. Adjustments were made, but in the 21st minute, a long-distance blast from Robbie Keane gave the Los Angeles Galaxy a 1-0 lead. Keane had been on the schneid all game in the first leg due to bad finishing but this time, he at least got something going in the second leg against the Quakes.
Keane had scored 16 goals in the regular season for the Galaxy. And in the 34th minute, Keane got his brace on a breakaway to make it 2-0 Los Angeles. He fakes San Jose netminder Jon Busch, then finishes with cool precision.
2. Mike Magee does it again
In the 39th minute of play, Landon Donovan, the playmaker all year for LA finds Mike Magee to make it 3-0 Los Angeles, adding to an impressive third quarter/second leg first half. And that goal would eventually determine this aggregate series.
This shouldn’t surprise anyone: Mike Magee has had a track record of performing very well against the Quakes. Add one more goal to his long list of accomplishments on offense and defense for the Galaxy against their storied NorCal rivals.
3. The response: San Jose peppering the net in first half
The Quakes have been known for their offensive firepower all year, and the likes of Chris Wondolowski and the polarizing Steven Lenhart earned a number of good looks on goal in the first half. Marvin Chavez, the catalyst for San Jose’s offense, nearly made it 3-1 in the 43rd minute of play.
4. Here comes Alan Gordon
In the second half, San Jose were unable to get a lot of chances on goal due to shoddy passing on offense combine with the Galaxy playing some unusually stifling defense in numbers. But in the 82nd minute, Alan Gordon scored off of a set piece to get the crowd fired up.
Set piece defending has been a sticking point for the Galaxy all year, and once again, it reared its ugly head yet again.
5. A bad night for Christian Wilhelmsson
I am not sure why Christian Wilhelmsson, for the life of me, is playing for the Los Angeles Galaxy. He simply had one of his worst games on the pitch. Forget Edson Buddle. This import from Sweden couldn’t finish his chances in USL PRO, let alone MLS. Wilhelmsson had so many chances to finish off San Jose. That’s why you’re a sub and you could be sent packing after this year, Chippen.
6. Up next: Real Salt Lake or Seattle
Real Salt Lake and the Seattle Sounders are deadlocked heading into Wednesday’s second leg at Rio Tinto Stadium. They will realize that up next for them is the defending MLS Cup Champs, who have rediscovered their finishing instinct while losing it at the same time. And thus, the Galaxy’s season goes on for at least another two games.