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.
Mar 11, 2014, 1:20 PM EDT
American investment company now owns 25 percent of United’s total shares on the NYSE:
Mar 11, 2014, 12:43 PM EDT
Newcastle boss full of remorse after unsavory incident lands him in hot water:
Mar 11, 2014, 12:09 PM EDT
Pardew reprimanded by the FA, is his ban long enough?
Mar 11, 2014, 11:40 AM EDT
German youth international, eligible to play for the USMNT, set to extend stay with Arsenal:
Mar 11, 2014, 10:46 AM EDT
Ankle sprain is “a very rare and unique injury, and we are trying to treat it as well as possible.”
Mar 11, 2014, 4:55 AM EDT
Milan’s failed to turn its season around, with Atlético has stabilized after a February swoon.
Mar 11, 2014, 3:47 AM EDT
Bayern’s lost twice in the last 12 months – once to Arsenal. The holders will look to avoid a repeat of last year’s visit.
Mar 10, 2014, 10:32 PM EDT
There’s also a freshness under Mastroeni, who oozes the respectability that comes from a distinguished career.
Mar 10, 2014, 9:54 PM EDT
The Black Cats have played three less matches than the Bluebirds and two less than the Baggies. A win over Palace would land them even with the Eagles.
Mar 10, 2014, 9:21 PM EDT
“What I said to the players is ‘get it out of your head. Go home, reflect a little bit and I will do my best to come up with something better.’”
Mar 10, 2014, 8:44 PM EDT
It wasn’t a pretty night to be in Turkey, as violent fans at Trabzonspor forced the abandonment of a match with rivals Fenerbahce on Monday night.
Mar 10, 2014, 8:03 PM EDT
What to do with the goal-scoring 34-year-old Scot who’s out of contract in June?
Mar 10, 2014, 7:25 PM EDT
“Kevin made a huge contribution to our qualification for the World Cup, he never let us down and now his dreams have died,” said Holland manager Louis van Gaal.
Mar 10, 2014, 6:42 PM EDT
Like Manuel Pellegrini and his distaste for a certain Swedish official, Wenger is also critical of UEFA slotting in a referee from a non-footballing power.
Mar 10, 2014, 5:58 PM EDT
MLS has become a decent destination for goalkeepers, with top internationals for Peru, Brazil and Panama plying their trades in the United States this season.
Mar 10, 2014, 5:25 PM EDT
Djalo, 27, hasn’t found his footing in Lisbon, playing in just three matches since then and spending parts of 2012 and 2013 on loan at Toulouse in Ligue 1, where he appeared 17 times.
Mar 10, 2014, 4:45 PM EDT
Arsenal has been handed a boost for their massive Tuesday task of reversing Bayern Munich’s 2-0 advantage in the UEFA Champions League’s Round of 16.
Mar 10, 2014, 4:00 PM EDT
“It’s like playing 1 1/2, 1 3/4 games in terms of damage to your body,” said Ryan Nelsen.
Mar 10, 2014, 3:25 PM EDT
That is not a lousy public high-five for a player, now, is it?
Mar 10, 2014, 2:53 PM EDT
Timbers skipper staying put, as owner Paulson takes to Twitter to rejoice:
- Alan Pardew handed hefty ban, fined for headbutt 1
- Preview: Atlético Madrid back on track before Champions League visit from goal-shy Milan 0
- Preview: Bayern Munich on guard ahead of Arsenal’s Champions League visit 0
- Third time’s the harm: Fan violence forces abandonment of Trabzonspor’s match with Fenerbahce 2
- If you had Pepe Reina in your “European star rumored for MLS” pool today, you win! 1
- US women lose second straight for first time since 2001 after ugly 5-3 defeat to Denmark 4
- Sporting KC's Television Network Expands
- American Investment Firm Buying Up Man United Stock
- Earthquakes vs. Toluca: CONCACAF Champions League
- San Jose Earthquakes Acquire Benfica Midfielder Yannick Djalo
- Revs Waive DelPiccolo; Roster Stands at 27
- Inter President Denies Holding Talks with Chicharito
- Nearly Perfect Start for Galaxy, Result Aside
- USWNT Lose to Denmark 5-3 in Algarve Cup
- Real Salt Lake's Nick Rimando Named MLS Player of the Week
- Will Johnson Signs New Multi-Year Contract With Portland Timbers