No David Beckham, no Landon Donovan, no problem for the Los Angeles Galaxy.
Opening an MLS season as reigning MLS champions once again, the Galaxy showed no signs of a potential title hangover that plagued the club last season. Instead, the Galaxy got out in front against the Chicago Fire in its 2013 season opener, then exploded for three goals in the second half and came out on top 4-0 over Chicago at the Home Depot Center.
“A good performance by everybody today,” Galaxy captain Robbie Keane said. “Just a real good team performance.”
Even without Beckham, now at Paris Saint Germain, and Donovan, whose return date to the Galaxy squad is slated for towards the end of the month, the Galaxy looked every bit like the back-to-back MLS Cup Champions, and Mike Magee supplied the offense for LA with his first career hat trick, and Keane opened his scoring account to cap a near flawless performance for LA on Sunday afternoon in which the Galaxy players and staff received their championship rings and unveiled their 2012 championship banner.
“It was cool,” Magee said. “The hat trick was cool, getting a win was cool, and then the best part of the day was getting the rings. It was a hell of a day.”
Los Angeles broke through in the 38th minute. It stared when Keane sent a ball for Todd Dunivant into the penalty area that was deflected initially, but Dunivant chased down the ball and got enough of it that it remained in the 18 and Magee’s volley beat keeper Sean Johnson near post to put Los Angeles out in the lead.
The Galaxy blew the match open in the second half. Magee’s second goal came in the 64th minute when right back AJ DeLaGarza sprinted on an overlap run, sent a ball for Keane in the box, Keane then took on a pair of Fire defenders before laying out a ball to Magee, who finished his shot far post. Magee capped off his hat trick four minutes later when he finished off a rebound attempt of Keane’s chance that had been parried back by Johnson. Keane capped off the Galaxy scoring in the 80th minute when a Michael Stephens cross was headed by Omar Gonzalez and Keane’s volley found the back net.
“He (Magee) and Robbie did a good job and got a number of chances,” Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena said.
While Chicago was overmatched for the most part, the Fire did have some dangerous chances themselves. None more so than in the 32nd minute when striker Maicon Santos pressured Galaxy keeper Carlo Cudicini into an errant goal kick, which Chris Rolfe pounced on and sprinted for the penalty area. Rolfe then fired a shot on goal that got past Cudicini, but just barely missed the back post. Chicago had another look at goal in the 71st minute when Alex drew a foul just outside the LA penalty area, but Cudicini parried Maicon Santos’ free kick over the crossbar.
“We beat a good team today,” Arena said of the Fire ‘s effort. “The goalkeeper (Johnson) played well (and ) they were tough to break down.”
Chicago will look for a better outcome next week as they host their home opener against the New England Revolution next Saturday. The Galaxy meanwhile jump into CONCACAF Champions League play with a two-leg series against Costa Rican club CS Herediano, starting on Thursday in Heredia, Costa Rica.