Mar 3, 2013, 7:18 PM EDT
The LA Galaxy will not, we know now, begin 2013 in that wildly deflated, almost shockingly poor way they launched 2012.
The champs began their three-peat quest with a commanding 4-0 win over visiting and surprisingly tame Chicago on Sunday at the Home Depot Center.
Mike Magee’s hat trick powered the home team’s win, while the Galaxy midfield and defense had a comfortable afternoon, keeping debuting goalkeeper Carlo Cudicini from extending himself more than once.
Man of the Match
The Galaxy will need a little more of what Mike Magee gave them Sunday, supplying his side’s first three goals in a performance that will almost surely net the underrated veteran (and fifth-year Galaxy man) an opening weekend MLS Player of the Week award. With Landon Donovan still on hiatus and David Beckham’s replacement still just a gleam in the AEG eye, players rising the way Magee did Sunday will be pure Galaxy gold.
Threesome of knowledge: what we learned
- Chicago can go ahead and start the season. Anytime now.
Playing on the sacrificial road lamb for the champs to begin 2013 isn’t the easiest of assignments, clearly. Still, the Fire needs more. And in a hurry.
It’s not just the final score. (Which could have been worse, by the way, but for Sean Johnson’s busy, steady work in Chicago goal.)
The marking was jayvee on LA’s first goal, which had been coming. But the defending, ironically, wasn’t even Chicago’s larger issue. Rather, nobody in an advanced position for the visitors did a darn thing.
Maicon Santos missed a wonderful chance, an uncontested first-half header from eight yards that he left wide. If Santos, on his third club in three years, ever wants to stick as a starting striker, that ball must fly in.
Patrick Nyarko was contained on the right. And Chris Rolfe, the attacking midfielder in Frank Klopas’ 4-2-3-1, simply must find more ways to influence the game.
Dilly Duka along the left was OK for Chicago.
- Robbie Keane is doing fine, thank you
It seemed logical to assume that LA Galaxy striker Robbie Keane would be OK in the 2013 early going. But you never know until you know.
Sure enough, the Irish international had lots of hop and pop, just as he did late last year when Keane was Major League Soccer’s top striker over the season’s last 2-3 months. Today, like then, it’s that wise movement off the ball as much as the outright shooting and scoring that counts with Keane.
Then again, he did plenty on the score sheet, too, with a goal and an assist in Sunday’s romp-and-stomp for the champs.
- What of free kicks and corner kicks for LA?
If you’re interested, Juninho took the first free kick for Los Angeles in what we would have known previously around the Home Depot Center as “David Beckham time.”
With no Beckham, and with the club’s second choice dead ball delivery man weeks from getting back on the field (Landon Donovan, that is), expect the quality chances to shrink on free kicks and corner kicks. Yes, Beckham did that very, very well.
That’s a shame, too, for the champs; Omar Gonzalez is a mighty juicy target for the player who can aim those things precisely.
Packaged for take-away
- Fire center back Arne Friedrich, the German veteran, was held out as a precaution while still dealing with an injury.
- Sherjill MacDonald was on the bench to start for Chicago. Not to pick on Santos, but if MacDonald cannot beat out the journeyman forward on opening day, this is a pretty big problem already around Toyota Park.
- It looks like the way Klopas wants the 4-2-3-1 to work is with Jeff Larentowicz holding dependably while Joel Lindpere does more of the two-way work.
- Debuting Galaxy goalkeeper Carlo Cudicini made an absolute mess of a 32nd minute situation, handing a ball to Rolfe about 30 yards out. An in-form Rolfe would have scored. But Chicago’s top attacker is such a streaky sort, as we know. So the not-in-form Rolfe drove himself into a bad angle and then left his rolling shot just wide of the far post.
- Best one-on-one combat of the afternoon: Galaxy right back A.J. De La Garza and Dilly Duka.
- Another nice, ongoing battle Sunday: Galaxy left midfielder Colin Clark vs. Fire right back Jalil Anibaba.
- Referee Kevin Stott missed a PK early in second half, when Fire center back Austin Berry got a handful of Keane’s jersey, although the Irishman did go down a bit easy. Tough call for Stott, in all honesty.
Oct 24, 2014, 11:30 PM EDT
The midfielder is yet to make a Premier League start this season as rumors surfaced that he could return to Brazil on loan.
Oct 24, 2014, 10:33 PM EDT
Chicago ended their season with a win as Florent Sinama-Pongolle tallied in stoppage time to erase Houston’s first half lead.
Oct 24, 2014, 9:22 PM EDT
You can watch the match live on NBCSN or online via Live Extra.
Oct 24, 2014, 8:51 PM EDT
Neil Warnock could be answering to a new boss if American billionaire Josh Harris purchases Palace.
Oct 24, 2014, 8:00 PM EDT
Jose Carlos Rivero was charged with two felonies earlier this month but continued to work games for the MLS.
Oct 24, 2014, 7:27 PM EDT
The New York Red Bulls made a young girl’s dream come true as she signed a one-day contract with her favorite team.
Oct 24, 2014, 6:20 PM EDT
Watch the Black Cats host the Gunners at 9:45 a.m. ET online via Live Extra.
Oct 24, 2014, 5:31 PM EDT
UEFA handed Serbia a 3-0 win but deducted points after their match against Albania was called off due to violence.
Oct 24, 2014, 4:43 PM EDT
The former England captain and Manchester United legend plans to retire after his season at QPR.
Oct 24, 2014, 3:54 PM EDT
Watch as Leicester City travels to Liberty Stadium tomorrow live on NBC at 12:30 p.m. ET.
Oct 24, 2014, 3:04 PM EDT
Pogba broke through with 9 goals and 10 assists across all competitions for Juventus last season and a goal and assist at the World Cup.
A coach tells a fan tells a ticket rep… How soccer fans and the Red Bulls created this adorable goal video
Oct 24, 2014, 2:26 PM EDT
It’s a little dusty in here. Godspeed, Irelyn. May a cure be found in short order!
Oct 24, 2014, 2:01 PM EDT
It’s going to be ugly and we’re going to shake our heads. Some will feign shock. And the whole cycle will repeat itself again at Barcelona.
Oct 24, 2014, 1:20 PM EDT
Here’s how PST’s editor and lead writer sees things panning out this weekend.
Oct 24, 2014, 1:00 PM EDT
Perhaps a respite for Tim Howard and Brad Guzan, as their clubs face lesser competition this week in Burnley and QPR, respectively.
Oct 24, 2014, 12:25 PM EDT
Where and how to watch every game during Week 9 of the PL.
Oct 24, 2014, 12:05 PM EDT
It’s a top-four battle — no, seriously — as Manchester City rolls into Upton Park to take on Sam Allardyce’s West Ham United.
Oct 24, 2014, 11:15 AM EDT
Who makes the cut as MLS players deserving of a look at USMNT camp?
Oct 24, 2014, 10:25 AM EDT
An all-MLS final appearance is impossible thanks to seeding, and Montreal and DC can only face-off if they win in the quarterfinals this winter.
Oct 24, 2014, 9:38 AM EDT
The purpose of the show is for the Robbies to hear from the fans on this call-in show, so dial 855-323-4622 and have your say.
- Chicago Fire 2-1 Houston Dynamo: Stoppage-time winner caps off Chicago comeback (VIDEO) 0
- Premier League Preview: Sunderland vs. Arsenal 0
- Still defending racial incident, seething at bite talk, Suarez returns for Barcelona 0
- Prince-Wright’s Premier League picks – Manchester United, Arsenal, Liverpool 0
- WATCH: Premier League TV schedule – Week 9 1
- Introducing: “The 2 Robbies ‘Football’ Show” on NBCSportsRadio.com 0