Boy, did they need that one. Bruce Arena’s Los Angeles Galaxy, under the wing of assistant manager Dave Sarachan on Sunday shut out Jose Luis Real’s Chivas USA in their most comprehensive victory of the season, 5-0, at StubHub Center in Carson, Calif.
With the victory, the Galaxy improve to 14-11-6 (48 points) and remain in the hunt for a spot in the MLS Cup Playoffs. Here are six things we learned from Sunday afternoon’s big win for the Los Angeles Galaxy.
1. Landon Donovan on the cusp of history
Landon Donovan just knows how to score goals, period. He is a player that believes in his team, and believes in positive results. In the 23rd minute, a key pass from Gyasi Zardes (more on him in a bit) found the foot of Donovan for goal number 133. Then, in the 41st minute, Donovan received a pass from Pablo Mastroeni to earn goal number 134.
Donovan is now tied with Jeff Cunningham for most goals scored in MLS and, if he not playing against Montreal on Oct. 16, will have a chance to earn the record on Oct. 24 against the San Jose Earthquakes, his former team. How fitting would that be? Stay tuned…
2. Robbie Keane continues to amaze
Of course, it also helps to know that Robbie Keane was back to scoring goals, too. In the sixth minute, Donovan and Zardes teamed up on a magnificent sequence that saw Keane finish point-blank past Dan Kennedy. Then, in the 90th minute, it was former Chivas USA hitman Laurent Courtois that sent one to Keane who iced the game in clinical fashion.
Keane now leads the team in goals with 15 and is on pace for MLS First XI honors. He also leads the team in assists with 11.
3. Gyasi Zardes finally breaks through
It was a only a matter of time, and we had to wait a long time, but Gyasi Zardes finally put it all together for the first team. In addition to his assists in the sixth and 23rd minutes, Zardes also scored on himself on the run of play in the 26th minute.
If Zardes can pull off these consistent performances for the rest of the year, it’s going to add a new dimension to the attack for Los Angeles heading into the playoffs, assuming they qualify. What a breakthrough performance.
4. The stats also tell the story
The match statistics were also a key indicator of how one-sided this game went for both teams. This was all Galaxy, period. Take a look.
|LA Galaxy||Chivas USA|
|12||Attempts on Goal||5|
|5||Shots on Target||1|
|5||Shots off Target||3|
|15||Open Play Crosses||6|
|0||First Yellow Cards||0|
|0||Second Yellow Cards||0|
|63%||Duels Won %||36%|
|85%||Passing Accuracy %||80%|
5. A listless performance from Chivas USA
What happened to Chivas USA this game? Now they know how LA felt when they lost by the same scoreline to New England. Albeit, it’s been a far more familiar feeling for the Goats. A feeling…of defeat.
“Everyone is pissed off,” defender Carlos Bocanegra told MLSSoccer.com’s Blair Angulo. “To lose like we did is embarrassing. We have to look at ourselves and we all have to be held accountable for what happened. We have to be better. This was just unacceptable.”
6. Stage is set for a grandstand finish in October
The Galaxy now have four matches that they need to win to gain momentum heading into October. They are at home against Montreal, at home against San Jose, then they are on the road against Isidro Metapan in CCL play and Seattle to close out the regular season. If Los Angeles can win all those four games, which take place over a span of 11 days, this will say a lot about the character and depth of this team down the stretch.