Bruce Arena’s Los Angeles Galaxy were impressed with how they performed on Tuesday night against Javier Delgado’s Club Sport Cartagines in CONCACAF Champions League Group Stage play. The Galaxy shut out Los Azules 2-0 at StubHub Center in Carson, Calif. and have plenty of momentum heading into Saturday’s MLS Western Conference tilt with Martin Rennie’s Vancouver Whitecaps.
“[Cartagines] defended well, they defended with numbers tonight,” Arena told the press. “That second goal is going to be big in this competition. I’m real pleased with my team, they played a complete game for 90 minutes tonight. I think it’s a fair result, Cartagines is a good team who played very well. They’re going to be a difficult team to get through in this competition.”
One important facet to the outcome was the combination of Landon Donovan and Robbie Keane. When the 1-2 combo is on point and the defense holds sway, you can chalk up another win for LA, so they say.
“Keane and Landon are fabulous, the combination is working together and like I said, the last goal was huge,” Arena said of the Keanovan Partnership. “Landon gave us an outstanding 30 minutes. So I think those two are in great rhythm together and continue to be very dangerous.”
“I think we saw the difference once Landon came on, we’re in tune with each other,” said Keane to the media after the game. “We know each other’s runs and where we’re going to be so that was the case for the two goals.
“Looking up for us, we got the two goals and as I said, overall it was a decent performance. Wasn’t brilliant but it was decent.”
“[Keane's] a good player,” Donovan admitted. “He makes it easy for me so I know if I put the ball in the right spot more often than not he’s going to score and I know if I make the right runs more often than not he’s going to get me the ball so it makes it real easy.
“I think we wore them down. I think we did a good job keeping relatively good pressure on them. We were a little unlucky not to score and once we got the breakthrough it helped and I think the second goal was big too so all in all, I think it was a good performance.”
Defender Kofi Opare broke through with his best performance yet as a member of the Galaxy and earned praises from another defender. You can take a guess at who it is.
All right. Time is up. It’s Omar Gonzalez, of course.
“That’s good to see from him since he hasn’t played many games,” Gonzalez said. “and the first game he does play for the first team he has a lot of confidence and you want to see that from your young guys. It’s definitely good to see him step on the field and play a good game.”
“It felt great to be out on the field playing with the guys, I’m just glad we got the result today,” Opare said “Omar and Todd, Jaime behind me; the game is just so much easier and they instill confidence in me so I just went out there, did my part with their help and I’m just glad we won.”
Even the boss was impressed by the rookie defender’s play. You’re on notice, Leonardo, you’re on notice.
“[Opare] had a very good game, not an easy game for a young player,” Arena said. “This is his debut and he did an excellent job.
“He’s looked good the last couple of months in training and in reserve games and he’s a player that we feel has a lot of potential and I thought he had an outstanding game.”
Forward Gyasi Zardes thinks that the Galaxy have finally a turned a corner in their lack of consistency.
“Our play has worked out and the result was a good win,” Zardes said. “We weren’t impatient, we kept playing the ball and getting touches on it and just passing and creating a rhythm. So on our behalf; I think we did pretty good tonight.”
One player that didn’t do good on Tuesday night was Robbie Rogers. He tweaked his hamstring late in the first half and had to be subbed out by Zardes. And so, Rogers’s tough first year continued.
“I hurt my hamstring, I felt a pinch,” Rogers said of his injury “So I’ll see [the doctor] and get an MRI tomorrow or Thursday and just go from there. It didn’t feel like an extreme pain, I just felt it tear a little bit.”