One game in 100 words (or less): It was not the most exciting season opener if you’re looking for a hard-fought shootout. From a statistical perspective, the Galaxy held the majority of possession (53 percent) and tallied four more shots on target than Chicago did. LA took control of midfield and Chicago’s offensive newcomers appeared useless. But really, the downfall for the Fire hinged on the squad’s weak defense, noticeable on the first goal to Villarreal, which should been a fairly standard clearance. Managing a goalless draw would have been the best case scenario for Frank Yallop’s side, as the Fire will pray this performance won’t signify a familiar narrative in 2015.
LA Galaxy: Villarreal 65’, Keane 81’
Chicago Fire: None
Three moments that mattered
42’ — Zardes misses on the doorstep — The other best chance of the game beside the lone score of the night was Gyasi Zardes’ wonderful opportunity to grab the first-half lead. Stephan Ishizaki sprinted to the endline and zipped a low cross toward the penalty area, intended for Robbie Keane, who made a crafty flick across the face of the net to put the ball out in front of Zardes. The Homegrown standout slid to the goal line but could not bury it.
65’ — Young Villarreal pounces on Fire mishap— Ishizaki had made his presence felt all night, though in this instance, his cross into the penalty area from far outside the box was certainly clearable. Chicago defenders stood still, and Jeff Larentowicz essentially fed Jose Villarreal the ball in open space and primed the 21-year-old for a low finish. With the departure of Landon Donovan, the Galaxy faithful will hope Villarreal is merely getting warmed up for a breakout campaign.
81’ — Keane ices it — Reigning MLS MVP Robbie Keane always positions himself exceptionally to nab the score, and that’s why, regardless of age, the Irishman is usually the most dangerous player on the pitch in MLS competition. Omar Gonzalez identified a gap in the Fire’s backline prior to sending a looping cross for Husidic, and the Bosnian’s aerial deflection set up Keane for a blasted right-footed volley.
Los Angeles: Brian Rowe; Dan Gargan (A.J. DeLaGarza 83′), Omar Gonzalez, Leonardo, Robbie Rogers; Stefan Ishizaki, Juninho, Kenney Walker (Baggio Husidic 63’), Jose Villarreal (Alan Gordon 70’); Robbie Keane, Gyasi Zardes
Chicago: Sean Johnson; Lovel Palmer, Jeff Larentowicz, Eric Gehrig, Joevin Jones; Chris Ritter (Matt Polster 63’), Matt Watson (Michael Stephens 56’), Harrison Shipp, Shaun Maloney; Quincy Amarikwa, Kennedy Igboananike (Guly 72’)