It wasn’t the prettiest of victories, but it’s three points for Bruce Arena’s Los Angeles Galaxy as they punched and clawed their way to a 1-0 shutout victory over Martin Pareja’s Colorado Rapids before another crowd of just under 20,000 at the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif.
With the victory, the Galaxy improve to 2-0-1 (7 points) and will continue their season against Toronto FC on the road. Here are six things we learned from the match between the Galaxy and the Rapids on Saturday night.
1. The legend of Mike Magee continues
So the myth goes: on Friday, in a fit of rage over not being selected to the USA Men’s National Team, Mike Magee elects to pour snow over the home of the Rapids, Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, ahead of the game between the United States and Costa Rica. The wrath of Magee was so severe that the match was nearly called off. Mike told referee Joel Aguilar to continue the match or risk his own demise. Aguilar, with no other option, conceded, and the USA went on to win in the snow, 1-0.
Pleased with the performance and the outcome, Magee showed his gratitude and honored them with the game-winning penalty in the 50th minute, symbolic of the number of states in the United States of America. Fitting, isn’t it?
Now, while what you just read is fictional myth penned by yours truly, what is fact is that the penalty conversion marks Magee’s fourth goal of the season. Heading into the end of March, LA’s No. 18 is the club’s leading goalscorer and remains one of the top goalscorers in Major League Soccer.
2. Drew Moor cost Colorado the game
But how did that take place? Well, it was because of Colorado Rapids defender Drew Moor, who would be getting a 1 if the View from Avalon rated the opposition’s players, something that is not done as a rule. A massive elbow to the face of Marcelo Sarvas in the penalty box drew a straight red from Armando Villareal and effectively turned the tide against the visitors.
“I let my team down tonight,” Moor told MLSsoccer.com’s Chris Bianchi. “I was moving kind of backwards into position and he kind of stepped in my way and gave me a little bump and just kind of a stupid moment, I reacted and kind of put my arm back in his direction and obviously made contact.
“I’m disappointed in myself. That’s not me. That’s not who I am and that’s not what this club and organization is about.”
The kicker here for Colorado is that this red may not be rescinded, as was the case of Chivas USA against LA.
3. Not a bad showing from Clint Irwin
However, despite the red, there is a silver lining to all this for the Rapids. Matt Pickens’s backup should take a bow, and with authority, because without his heroics, this match would be over by halftime. Colorado goalkeeper Clint Irwin put on a solid showing in goal, making seven saves while allowing just the penalty.
4. A decent showing from the young guns of LA
Jose Villareal and Jack McBean put on a decent showing, accounting for a combined 13 shots overall and seven shots on goal. McBean, in particular, came close a few times towards earning his second goal of the season, but Irwin’s clutch saves made it a frustrating evening in terms of finishing.
Which leads to the next things we learned…
5. LA dominates the stats, as expected
In retrospect, Colorado should be flattered that they only ended the match a goal down and a man down and not worse. Los Angeles dominated the stat sheet, leading in categories such as attempts on goal (21 to five), shots on target (nine to three), shots off targer (seven to one), blocked shots (five to one), open play crosses (21 to three), corner kicks (11 to two), total passes (537 to 325), passing accuracy (84 percent to 73 percent) and possession (63.1 percent to 36.9 percent).
6. Stage is set for all hands on deck against Toronto
With Robbie Keane and Omar Gonzalez coming back to the team, the Los Angeles Galaxy should have a full complement of players and a good deal of momentum coming into next weekend’s contest with Toronto FC. Added to the intrigue is that a certain player on sabbatical could be making a grand return to the pitch.
I leave it to you readers to figure out who that is.