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.
Apr 18, 2015, 6:58 PM EDT
Not the ideal time for a pair of key players to go down in the same game, four days before a CL quarterfinal second leg.
Apr 18, 2015, 5:58 PM EDT
New week, same story, new teams on top, same old excitement — the Championship is truly amazing this year.
Apr 18, 2015, 5:00 PM EDT
It was an historic day for Messi, as Barca inch closer to the league tile. Elsewhere, Juve remind everyone Serie A is all theirs.
Apr 18, 2015, 4:42 PM EDT
A pair of Premier League matches are ready for your Sunday viewing pleasure, and take note that one features a different broadcast channel.
Apr 18, 2015, 4:20 PM EDT
Here’s what happened in Saturday’s five matches.
Apr 18, 2015, 4:14 PM EDT
Seventy-seven percent of this weekend’s Bundesliga results are in the books, and Germany is still waiting for its first upset.
Apr 18, 2015, 3:56 PM EDT
Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney felt his team did enough to top Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Saturday, but the score line says otherwise.
Apr 18, 2015, 3:39 PM EDT
Van Gaal: “We played the best match of the season but in football you can lose.”
Apr 18, 2015, 2:36 PM EDT
Here’s what we learned from Chelsea’s narrow win over United.
Apr 18, 2015, 2:28 PM EDT
United stays third, one point behind second-place Arsenal.
Apr 18, 2015, 2:13 PM EDT
Arsenal had 71 percent possession as late as the 80th minute, but the score remained deadlocked at one.
Apr 18, 2015, 1:52 PM EDT
Have Saints’ faint top four hopes been all but ended?
Apr 18, 2015, 1:25 PM EDT
Hear what the Foxes’ boss had to say about Leicester’s big win.
Apr 18, 2015, 12:06 PM EDT
Potters stage second half comeback to stun Saints.
Apr 18, 2015, 11:59 AM EDT
Palace’s table charge is momentarily halted, as Alan Pardew’s boys sit 11th with 42 points.
Apr 18, 2015, 11:57 AM EDT
Toffees five unbeaten, send Clarets bottom of the table.
Apr 18, 2015, 11:53 AM EDT
Leicester is even with 17th place Hull on points and a single point behind Sunderland, with a match in hand on both.
Apr 18, 2015, 11:40 AM EDT
James Morrison had scored in the second minute for the Baggies’ first tally.
Apr 18, 2015, 11:34 AM EDT
It’s a big one, folks, with the two of the Premier League’s best tangling at Stamford Bridge.
Apr 18, 2015, 11:17 AM EDT
The FA has switched things around and will still give the kid a chance to walk onto the Wembley pitch before an upcoming England match.
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- Premier League roundup: Chelsea closer to title; Leicester climb off the bottom 0
- Despite defeat to Chelsea, Louis van Gaal hails Manchester United’s “best match of season” 1
- Three things we learned from Chelsea’s win vs. Manchester United 2
- Chelsea 1-0 Manchester United: Hazard leads defensive Blues past Red Devils (video) 0
- Arsenal 2-1 Reading: Alexis helps Gunners clinch FA Cup final berth 0