Bruce Arena’s Los Angeles Galaxy turn their attention to the postseason when they face Real Salt Lake in the first leg of the 2013 MLS Western Conference Semifinals at StubHub Center in Carson, Calif. on Nov. 3. Kickoff is scheduled for 6 p.m. PT/9 p.m. ET and will be televised by ESPN and ESPN Deportes.
The Galaxy should have won their game against the Seattle Sounders at CenturyLink Field in Seattle, Wash., but a goal by Omar Gonzalez in the first half was not awarded, and it took second-half heroics from Robbie Keane to settle the issue and compromise with a 1-1 draw. The result assured that Los Angeles would earn the No. 3 seed in the West.
Arena downplayed the would-be goal as a non-factor in the contest, and pointed out that the defense did their job, as did the captain.
“Obviously I don’t see it from where I am, but I was told it was about a yard over the line,” Arena told the press. “For some reason, I think we should be able to see that one. We’re fortunate to get out of it, not using that as a major sticking point in the game.
“[The defense] played well tonight. I thought it was Omar’s [Gonzalez] best game in a while. Kofi Opare has been really solid for us. He’s a good young player. We play two first-year players with Kofi and [Greg] Cochrane so I’m real pleased with those young players. And Gyasi [Zardes] as well, so we got incredible experience tonight for our young kids. I think down the stretch, our veteran players made a difference for us.
“I’m not quite sure it’s the uniforms. You put 11 bad players in that kit and I don’t think you’re going to win too many games.”
Arena was confident that Keane’s leadership and scoring touch will be invaluable to the Galaxy’s chances at defending their MLS Cup.
“[Keane] had a solid game and when he gets that goal, you have to say he had a very good game,” Arena said. “Goals are rare in this sport and Robbie seems to get them at the right time. Overall, I thought the last 10 or 15 minutes of the game, he was very influential for us in terms of leadership. He and Landon [Donovan] really stepped up and got the players organized and confident so we could walk off the field with a point.”
As for Donovan, he was also impressed with the character and tenacity of the players and knew that the Galaxy were ready to do some serious work this November. Donovan may have to wait until next season to break Jeff Cunningham’s record, but that was not something he will be too worried about.
“That was the type of performance that champions make and we got away from that a little bit in the last few weeks but I thought tonight was just a bunch of men that put it in and put in a real performance,” Donovan said. ” The way we handled the end of the game was very mature and playing with two rookies on the left side of our defense so I think that says a lot about the depth we built.
“To come into a game like that and have those two in the back line and the back line as a whole perform that way was very good.”
Robbie Rogers earned his first start in a while for the Galaxy and was content with how the team handled the atmosphere and the opposition.
“It was a tough game and I was surprised I lasted as long as I did,” Rogers said. “I thought I put in a pretty good shift defensively. I almost had that chance in the first half., but I’ve seen myself improve every week since I’ve come back from injury so I want to keep progressing.
“Obviously we’re going to the playoffs now so it’s a good time to really help our team out but the guys did so well today; such a great team performance. It really kind of made my job easy. I thought defensively as a team we were really good so it was enjoyable.”