Categorized | Match Reports

Galaxy remain undefeated

Posted on 06 May 2010 by pshea

The Los Angeles Galaxy looked like the home team for the first half hour at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park on Wednesday night, creating chances, earning corner kicks, and ultimately scoring the lone goal of the game to beat the Colorado Rapids.

Rapids defender Julien Baudet kicked Landon Donovan in the elbow in the 21st minute, and Donovan sent the ensuing free kick from distance to an unmarked Alan Gordon at the far post. Gordon’s diving header from close range was simply unstoppable.

“I thought they were the better team in the first half,” Colorado head coach Gary Smith said.

Praising the visitors, Smith noted how the Galaxy had “great organization. They stayed tight and compact.”

Considering MLS scoring leader Edson Buddle’s nine goals and an assist, Colorado needed strong defense to have a chance against the red-hot Galaxy attacker.

As Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena noted, “I told Edson he could have had nine goals today. He had a lot of chances, and Pickens made some good saves.”

“I thought that the back four in general were terrific,” Smith said of his defenders. “Young Danny Earls on the left, especially in the second half when we asked more of him to go forward… He had lovely deliveries, and showed a lot of energy. That little change in the second period to put Marvell [Wynne] at the right back helped. He showed he’s a natural right back. Drew [Moor] and Julien [Baudet] did a wonderful job against two good forwards.”

But Wynne was out of position when Gordon tracked Donovan’s long free kick at the far post.

Looking on the bright side, Smith noted how the game changed after intermission. “To come out in the second half and dominate the way we did showed a lot of character in the group,” Smith said. “There were a multitude of chances that unfortunately today we couldn’t finish.”

Smith replaced Wells Thompson with Colin Clark at halftime, and he shifted Wynne to the outside right position and paired Moor with Baudet in the middle. In the 71st minute, Smith inserted Claudio Lopez for Mehdi Ballouchy and witnessed more attacking options from his players.

“He’s very versatile,” Smith said of Lopez. “He can play on the left. But given the fact that he’s not had a lot of football recently, I think it’s better for him to not be covering those 40- or 50-yard runs forwards and backwards to make things happen. He’ll drift out to the flanks and get more time to deliver. He’s such an intelligent footballer, he’ll see the game unfolding and see areas where he can work.”

Player ratings

Los Angeles Galaxy
Donovan Ricketts (7): Ricketts denied Omar Cummings in the 8th minute and finished by saving six shots on goal for Colorado.
A.J. DeLaGarza, 81 minutes (6): DeLaGarza saved a sure goal from Mehdi Ballouchy in the 36th minute to do his part to ensure the shutout.
Bryan Jordan, nine minutes (6): Jordan neutralized Colin Clark with speed and attacking from the right back.
Omar Gonzalez (6): Gonzalez headed the ball over the bar off a Donovan corner kick (one of three shots from the defender). But he also maintained shape in the back to help earn the shutout.
Gregg Berhalter (8): In addition to a sliding save on Drew Moor in the closing minutes, Berhalter stymied Casey and maintained order in the back.
Todd Dunivant (8): Dunivant fed a cross on the ground to Buddle for an excellent chance right before halftime. He also tossed a number of dangerous throw-ins into the box, and he neutralized Omar Cummings.
Michael Stephens (6): Stephens maintained the Galaxy attack through midfield, forced Matt Pickens to make a save in the 14th minute, and limited attacking options for Colorado.
Christopher Birchall (5): Birchall maintained continuity in the Galaxy midfield and managed a shot in the 18th minute.
Juninho, 62 minutes (5): The Brazilian created chances for his teammates.
Jovan Kirovski, 28 minutes (5): Although Kirovski didn’t create scoring chances for himself or teammates, he helped maintain order for the visitors.
Landon Donovan (6): In addition to a well-weighted free kick for the goal, Donovan cracked the crossbar in the 5th minute, delivered difficult corner kicks, and played responsible defense from the wide position.
Edson Buddle (7): Although he didn’t score, Buddle put three of six shots on goal and created chances despite excellent defending from Julien Baudet.
Alan Gordon, 71 minutes (6): Gordon’s diving header goal had pace, and he played big to hold the ball with heavy pressure from Colorado’s defenders.
Clint Mathis, 19 minutes (5): Mathis handled a potential mix-up with Buddle to set the striker free for a shot in the 75th minute.

Colorado Rapids
Matt Pickens (7): Pickens saved Edson Buddle’s shots on goal, and he didn’t have a chance against Gordon’s diving header from close range.
Drew Moor (6): Despite starting the game with a string of bad plays, Moor remained steady in the back, shifting from wide right to center back at halftime.
Julien Baudet (8): With solid tackling, tight marking, and control in the air, Baudet kept Buddle scoreless.
Marvell Wynne (3): Wynne positioned himself poorly on the free kick for the Galaxy goal in the 21st minute. Also, Wynne made a great run out of the back on the right side in the 10th minute, lost the ball, won it back, and then lost it again wide on the right wing near midfield. He tracked back slowly, and Buddle exploited the open space to collect the ball and shoot it. Baudet deflected the shot for a corner kick.
Danny Earls (8): Earls denied scoring chances down the Galaxy’s right flank, and he got more and more involved in the attack as the game evolved.
Mehdi Ballouchy, 71 minutes (5): Ballouchy moved deep to collect the ball for Colorado, but he didn’t get forward enough to support Omar Cummings and Conor Casey.
Pablo Mastroeni (6): The captain ran onto a through-ball to finish a play he started in midfield, eventually laying the ball on the ground to Ballouchy at the end line.
Jeff Larentowicz (7): Larentowicz paired with Mastroeni to make it difficult for the Galaxy midfielder, but he also pushed into the attack and put two of his three shots on goal.
Wells Thompson, 45 minutes (5): The Rapids attacked up the right wing for much of the first half, so Thompson wasn’t too involved. Not naturally left-footed, he drifted into the middle instead of pairing with Earls to work down the wing.
Colin Clark, 45 minutes (5): Although he was part of Colorado’s second-half surge, Clark didn’t take any shots and didn’t fly past defenders like he did in 2009.
Conor Casey (5): Casey couldn’t work free from Berhalter and the Galaxy defense. In the 37th minute, Julien Baudet made a tackle deep on the Colorado defense and launched a long ball to Casey for a breakaway. Casey worked into the box with two Galaxy defenders blocking his path to goal. Wells Thompson made a run into a scoring position, but Casey chipped the ball to the far side of the box instead. In the 48th minute, Clark served a ball to Casey at the back post, but Casey sent the ball wide right from six yards out.
Omar Cummings (5): Despite 90-plus minutes of hard work, Cummings put only one of his five shots on goal.

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  1. Galaxy remain undefeated, win 1-0 at Colorado | American Soccer News Says:

    […] lone goal of the game to beat the Colorado Rapids. ASN has a full report from that match along with player ratings for both […]

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