Man of the Match: Robbie Keane absolutely sliced and diced an FC Dallas back line that was defenseless against his good eye for space and savvy movement away from the ball. He bossed the possession that led to game’s telling moment, moving things around and then feeding Mike Magee for the game’s sole goal.
Packaged for take-away:
- We warned you before about Schellas Hyndman’s doghouse; Brek Shea wasn’t just left out of the starting lineup again, he wasn’t even in the 18-man roster. So, same as last week except that Shea is back at training.
- David Beckham, as expected, was absent for this one following his role in Friday’s Olympic opening ceremonies. Landon Donovan was suspended for yellow card accumulation.
- A.J. DeLaGarza shifted to right back as Omar Gonzalez came back into the starting lineup.
- Los Angeles was surprisingly aggressive, pressing high despite the oppressive heat. It worked brilliantly as the midfield passing lanes evaporated for Dallas. FCD couldn’t find Daniel Hernandez, who connects the offense and defense when things work as planned for Dallas. Marcelo Sarvas and Juninho were active for L.A. in eliminating those midfield connections.
- Keane, always with a good eye for space, began finding a little channel between right center back Hernan Pertuz and right back Zach Loyd, making himself dangerous again and again when receiving the ball just beyond the 18.
- Neither team had a recognizable shape coming out of the back. Without Beckham to orchestrate and create from those deep areas, the Galaxy attack was a narrow hodgepodge, all with the aim of getting balls into Keane. The thing is, it worked increasingly well as Dallas’ defense fell inexplicably to pieces after about 25 minutes.
- Dallas’ central defensive combo of Pertuz and Matt Hedges simply weren’t equipped in terms of experience or communication to deal with Keane’s movement. Defensive screener Hernandez was caught too far away from his back line too often, which magnified the issue.
- Meanwhile, long-range shooting from Andrew Jacobson was usually the best chance for Dallas. Once L.A. had the goal, and with Gonzalez neutralizing FCD lone striker Scott Sealy, the home team never looked like much of a threat to score.
- Things looked so shabby for the home team manager Schellas Hyndman made two switches at the break; George John got back on the field for the rookie Hedges. And Fabian Castillo came in for the ineffective Carlos Rodriguez.
- Referee Hilario Grajeda missed one in the 60th, as Hector Jimenez got inside Loyd and was brought down while speeding into goal. The goal came soon after, so it didn’t need to be a huge issue.
- DeLaGarza was strong at right back for the Galaxy. He did get a lot of good defensive help from Sean Franklin.