Well, that was what the doctor ordered.
Dr. Bruce Arena, that is. Wait, he isn’t a doctor? As in, Doctor of Winning Championships That Matter? Ohhhh yes, relax, he is indeed a doctor, and his Los Angeles Galaxy delivered the right medicine to heal its ailing fans: 1-0 victory over rivals Chivas USA at the StubHub Center in Carson, Calif.
The victory moves Los Angeles to 7-6-3 (24 points) but they face a much sterner test over a more legit rival in the San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday at Stanford Stadium on the campus of Stanford University in Stanford, Calif. The current standings, courtesy of MLSSoccer.com:
|1||Real Salt Lake||30||17||1.76||9||5||3||26||16||10||15||9||11||1|
|6||Seattle Sounders FC||21||14||1.5||6||5||3||19||17||2||12||6||7||-4|
|8||San Jose Earthquakes||18||17||1.06||4||7||6||15||25||-10||10||1||5||-11|
Here are six things we learned from Sunday night’s SuperClasico clash at the Hub between the Los Angeles Galaxy and Chivas USA.
1. Gyasi Zardes has a long way to go
Despite being able to get his second goal of the season in the 44th minute of play off a header, forward Gyasi Zardes is far from arriving in terms of form. He looked rusty at times, couldn’t finish and showed the types of rookie mistakes that cause a first-year to stay humble.
“It’s the work you do off the ball which is going to help you once the ball comes to you,” Zardes told reporters after the match. “By me making a simple run, dragging out a few defenders, it leaves someone else open. I just figured I’d work hard off the ball and I would get an opportunity or two.
“I had a couple of opportunities, wish I could have put them away, but it was a good performance by the Chivas defense. Like I said, we had a lot of opportunities. It’s unlucky but we still got the ‘W’.”
2. Chivas tie team record for consecutive losses
For Chivas USA, a loss is a loss, and this one was really damaging. The Goats have not won a match in three months. This was Chivas USA”s seventh straight defeat.
“Yeah, there’s a lot of crap that’s going on with the club right now, but the game never changes,” Chivas midfielder Tristan Bowen told MLSsoccer.com’s Blair Angulo. “We as players just need to step up.
“Of course there’s always room for [moral victories], but continuing to lose, we’re not accepting it and it can’t become a habit. We’ve just got to keep grinding. The guys are full of fight and we’re not giving up. It’s just not there right now.”
3. One-sided in terms of the statistics, too
Even more damning for Chivas USA is the match statistics. The Galaxy won a number of categories in the terms of stats, including attempts on goal, shots on and off target, passing accuracy, duels won and possession. This 1-0 scoreline was simply flattering, to say the least.
|Chivas USA||LA Galaxy|
|6||Attempts on Goal||16|
|1||Shots on Target||3|
|4||Shots off Target||10|
|13||Open Play Crosses||22|
|1||First Yellow Cards||1|
|0||Second Yellow Cards||0|
|43%||Duels Won %||56%|
|76%||Passing Accuracy %||86%|
The passing accuracy, in particular, was noted by midfielder Landon Donovan. For LA, it was a cool 86 percent.
“That helps. I thought our spacing was good,” Donovan told reporters. “Omar and A.J. did a good job of being calm and just moving the ball back and forth if they needed to, which opened up space. They (Chivas USA) did a good job of getting behind the ball and being compact.
“Our good passing helped open up space and get the chances that we got and if we can pass like that and defend like that will win a lot of games.”
4. Landon Donovan moves up the assists ladder
With the assist in the 44th minute, Landon Donovan is now tied with Preki for third place on the all-time assists list with 112. He still trails Steve Ralston (135) and Carlos Valderrama (114). However, Donovan is on pace to be second by the end of the season.
5. Robbie Keane…unimpressive
This is going to be noted in his exclusive piece regarding this match, but I have to say that this was another terrible night for Robbie Keane. His touch was poor, he easily was dispossessed by essentially a bunch of kids donning the colors of a club that may not see the light of day years from now, and he has hit a rough patch. More on this later this week.
6. San Jose, are you sitting down?
This is going to set the stage for part two of the Galaxy’s Rivalry Week tour: a chance for redemption at Stanford Stadium against the San Jose Earthquakes. Even though the Quakes have also changed coaches, they are still a potent team capable of finishing.
Bruce Arena’s Los Angeles Galaxy need to get production from all of their stars, along with a much more consistent display from Zardes up top. Coming into the contest on a 1-0 victory over a team they should be walking over poses a massive red flag. It’s up to Los Angeles to continue to turn their season around and do it against a team they love to turn the tide on.