March 24, 2013 - Major League Soccer (MLS) - Los Angeles Galaxy
CARSON, Calif. - The LA Galaxy conceded an uncharacteristic late goal last week against Chivas USA, but on Saturday, it was back to business as usual for LA as the Galaxy grabbed an opportune goal and held the lead for a 1-0 victory over the Colorado Rapids.
The Galaxy dominated Colorado from the outset as they peppered the Rapids net with 14 attempts on goal forcing a total of seven saves from Colorado goalkeeper Clint Irwin in the opening 45 minutes. However, as they have over the course of the last two seasons, LA capitalized on an opposition error, this time coming by way of a Drew Moor red card in the 48th minute.
In an off the ball incident that was witnessed by referee's assistant Corey Rockwell, Moor used his left arm to strike Marcelo Sarvas just inside the penalty area, leading to a red card as well as a penalty kick. Mike Magee stepped up to the spot and coolly slipped his shot past Irwin, giving the Galaxy a 1-0 lead. With the lead in their pocket, LA's defense did not buckle as the Galaxy secured their second shutout of the 2013 regular season and third in five games in all competitions.
"It was a big response for us. We let ourselves down in that Chivas game and we wanted to make amends for it. Coming out today, I thought today was as dominating of a performance as we've had and our first game was 4-0," said Todd Dunivant, who wore the captain's armband in the absence of Robbie Keane. "It speaks testament to the depth of this team because we obviously are without Robbie [Keane], without Landon, without Omar and didn't miss a beat so it was fantastic."
The Sarvas penalty sequence may have led to the goal by Magee -who is still on top of the MLS Golden Boot list with four goals after three games -but the play of the teenage forward pair of Jack McBean and Jose Villarreal provided the Galaxy with necessary spark on offense. Throughout the match, it was the teenagers' brashness that made them the game's most dangerous players.
McBean's ability to hold up play with his physicality provided the perfect foil for the crafty Villarreal as they rattled off countless scoring opportunities. Each had their own dangerous opportunities with Villarreal starting the Galaxy's offensive attack in the third minute with a header that was saved by Irwin while McBean forced Irwin to make four of his eight saves on the night.
Although the pair created numerous opportunities, next time the youngsters hope that they can find the back of the net.
"It brings back some memories when we played together with the Academy, and I had a lot of fun with him," said Villarreal. "We know each other pretty well. I'm just happy with the way we played together."
"It was good. I thought we both worked for each other and kept positive attitudes. It was fun," said McBean. "We created a lot and just got to put one in next time."
Next on the docket for the Galaxy is a trip to the White House to celebrate their 2012 MLS Cup triumph ahead of their first road game of the season against Toronto FC. As they prepare themselves for a busy week, the Galaxy were admittedly proud of their reaction after a difficult week.
"The theme this week was the whole team stepping up," said Dunivant. "Last week, we took plays off and looked to the next guy to make plays, but not this week. We really stepped up our game and made a big statement."
Magee was even more emphatic with his idea of the statement LA made.
"We definitely got punished this week in training after the last game," said Magee. "We knew that as a group, things had to be a lot better with our mental approach and the respect that we give to the game, which we didn't have last week. We were always going to win this game."