Robbie Keane scored on either side of halftime and the supposed weary legs of the Los Angeles Galaxy ran all over D. C. United in their 3-1 victory today in Carson, California. Marcelo Sarvas scored the final goal for the home side while United’s lone goal from rookie Nick DeLeon was little consolation for the Black-and-Red.
The Galaxy came into this match with no confidence after getting bounced out of the CONCACAF Champions League on Wednesday night at the hands of a poor Toronto FC squad. The defense so far in LA’s first three matches of the season (including both legs against TFC) had given up 7 goals and seemed ripe for the picking for a United squad that admittedly played conservatively in their league opening loss to Sporting Kansas City. However, Bruce Arena only made one change to his lineup while Ben Olsen strangely enough made six changes heading into this match.
It was pretty evident from the opening whistle that the Galaxy were not going to feel sorry for themselves and put United under pressure from the first minute. Goalkeeper Joe Willis, subbing in for Bill Hamid who is away with the US U-23 team (as well as Perry Kitchen), made a number of stunning saves to keep United in the match during the first half and nearly got to the break with score at 0-0. But slack defending from United helped to concede the first goal. Mike Magee was under no pressure from the defender Chris Korb and was allowed to switch the ball to the opposite end of the penalty area where overlapping defender Todd Dunnivant headed the ball back across the goal to a wide open Robbie Keane to put the home side up 1-0.
After the break, United subbed in defender Emiliano Dudar for the ineffective Dejan Jakovic and should have leveled the score in the 52nd minute. A rare offensive foray into Galaxy territory resulted in a free kick that was initially cleared out. Stephen King quickly punched the clearance back into the box were Dudar chested the ball down and was only four yards away from goal. His right-footed stab however blazed over the bar and left the match at 1-0.
The Galaxy essentially clinched the match in the 69th minute thanks in part to more terrible United play. Korb sent a ball into the middle of the field that immediately put Branko Boskovic under immediate pressure and the ball poked out to Landon Donovan. The US star carried the ball across the top of the penalty area and feathered a pass to Keane on the left side of the box. The Irishmen then unleashed a left-footed corker that hit the far side upper 90 to send the Home Depot Center into rapture..
United at this point went for broke and were constantly sending players forward and in the 86th minute the Galaxy took advantage of their aggressiveness. David Beckham was again under little pressure from Korb as his whipped in cross from the right side met the head of Brazilian Marcelo Sarvas and gave Joe Willis no chance.
United did manage to get a consolation goal from SuperDraft top pick Nick DeLeon just a minute later. Boskovic made a perfect defense splitting pass that hid DeLeon in stride as he angled in towards goal all alone. The Louisville star curled the ball in off the far post for a goal in his professional debut.
United now must find a way to pick themselves up physically and mentally as they will stay on the West Coast to train ahead of their match next Saturday night in Vancouver. The Whitecaps have started the season 2-0 with a pair of 1-0 wins and must be licking their chops at the sight of United coming to town.