The LA Galaxy defeated the Chicago Fire on the road at Toyota Park today with the final score 0-2. Robbie Keane notched a brace on his birthday to give the Galaxy all three points. This puts the Galaxy at 1-1-0 on the week, with a positive goal differential. Juninho earned a yellow card during the match, and will have to serve a one match suspension for yellow card accumulation.
Jalil Anibaba was called for a penalty hand ball when he raised his right arm to block a Galaxy cross while his right arm was still in the box. With Landon Donovan starting the match on the bench, Robbie Keane took the penalty wearing the captain's armband. Keane got Sean Johnson to go left then kicked gently to the right to put the Galaxy up 0-1 twenty four minutes into the match.
The second goal came in the second half on a breakaway. The Galaxy bunkered in to weather a Chicago Fire storm in the second half, and relied on the counter for attacking opportunities. Robbie Keane led the two on two break with Landon Donovan, who drew both defenders to him before giving Keane a perfect pass to the unmarked striker. Keane dribbled in to the penalty area then let loose a left footed shot into the bottom corner.
Keane almost had the hat trick, when Donovan chipped a ball up to Keane in the box in the 85'. Keane couldn't get a good touch on it and the play went for naught.
Next for the Galaxy is a road match in Portland next Saturday, before continuing on up to Vancouver for a midweek match. After the Cascadia trip, they head back to The Home Depot Center for the second edition of the SuperClasico against Chivas USA.
The LA Galaxy are in Chicago this weekend to do battle against the Chicago Fire at Toyota Park on Sunday afternoon. The match, kicking off at noon on ESPN, comes after the Galaxy lost their midweek match against the Philadelphia Union; their second straight loss. At halftime of the broadcast, MLS will announce the Starting XI for the MLS All Star Game in Philadelphia.
Landon Donovan has a been a shooting star as of late, with four goals and two assists over the last four matches. His three goals and two assists in week 16 earned him Player of the Week honors, then he followed in week 17 with a goal against San Jose. Against the Philadelphia Union midweek, Donovan was initially credited with an assist on Chad Barrett's goal, but when Robbie Keane was ruled to have touched the ball on Todd Dunivant's pass to Chad Barrett the assist was taken away as there can only be two assists on a goal.
Donovan has been especially hot against the Fire, registering a goal or an assist in nine of his last eleven matches against Chicago. Since August 13, 2005, Donovan has collected eight goals and three assists when lining up against the Fire.
Trends haven't favored the Galaxy this season. The New England Revolution and Chivas USA were able to reverse their winless streaks while facing the Galaxy earlier this year, and now the Philadelphia Union has earned their first ever victory over LA.
Still, it's worth noting that the Galaxy have come away with points on their last three visits to Toyota Park, including a 2-1 victory last April 17th and a 2-0 victory in 2009. The Fire have won just one of the last six meetings between the clubs.
The Galaxy have been defined this year by an openness, a back four full of space to be exploited. LA has surrendered 29 goals in 18 MLS games, now over the halfway point of the season. Last year the Galaxy have up 28 goals over their whole champaign.
The LA Galaxy attack lacked the punch it had recently found tonight losing 1-2 to the Philadelphia Union tonight at The Home Depot. While there may have been fireworks afterward to delight the sellout crowd, for much of the match they were simply frustrated by a club that has suddenly lost its verve. The Philadelphia winner came in the fifth minute of stoppage time, but LA left themselves open for that goal by not finishing plenty of great chances.
The game winner game in the fifth minute of stoppage time with some amazing dribbling by Lionard Pajoy. Pajoy came on in the 75 for Keon Daniel and immediately made an impact with his dribbling. He dribbled toward the sideline, appearing to time waste then back heeled to a streaking Michael Farfan who smashed the ball past Josh Saunders.
"It's frustrating, no doubt about it" said Landon Donovan. "It's hard to be too upset becaus almost everyone played really well, but I've been in this game a long time and I've seen a lot of games like this where one team dominates and you don't score and next thing you know, you're on the bad end of a result and that's what happened today."
The Galaxy were able to equalize in the 73', and for much of that stretch till the end looked to be pushing for the winner. On the equalizer, Juninho took a corner kick that wasn't properly cleared and restarted by Landon Donovan at the left corner of the penalty area. Donovan found Todd Dunivant on the touchline, who sent a rolling cross that Robbie Keane tipped along and Chad Barrett finally smashed in.
Barrett had a good shot at a go ahead goal with his head ten minutes later, and Landon Donovan had a shot from the corner of the penalty area blocked by Gabriel Fabian. Most of the best attempts came in the first half, when Robbie Keane walked in two balls through the penalty area and through defenders that unfortunately came to nothing. His first attempt was cleared off the line and his second was blocked, with both shots coming from inside the goal area. He had another attempt in the 25' that took a fair save to stop.
The opening goal came on a brilliant back heel from Jack McInerney. The attempt rolled slowly toward the Galaxy goal and even a penguin slide from Josh Saunders couldn't get him there in time.
Next for the Galaxy is a Sunday matchup against the Chicago Fire, away. Nationally broadcast on ESPN, they will be announcing the MLS First XI for the All Star Game during halftime.