Landon Donovan had four assist last night as the LA Galaxy steamrolled to a 0-4 road victory over Chivas USA at the Home Depot Center. In the last eight league matches, the Galaxy DP trio has contributed 12 goals and 15 assists, as the Galaxy have reemerged as a legitimate challeneger in the west.
"Our team was great tonight," said Landon Donovan. "And when we defend that way it makes my job really easy; I don’t have to do a whole lot of defending, I can focus on the things I’m good at. When I had the ball, guys made good runs, intelligent runs, they wanted the ball, they wanted to score so it made it really easy."
Landon Donovan's run of four assists took was a single game season high for him, and took Donovan from 8th to 1st in the MLS assist standings. It also took him to fourth place all time in MLS assists, passing Jaime Moreno.
Robbie Keane got on the end of Donovan's first assist, after Donovan pulled Dan Kennedy out of position allowing Keane to smash in the lob. The match went into halftime 1-0, thanks to some fantastic saves by Dan Kennedy. Juninho then stepped up big with a brace, first a finesse shot from outside the penalty area and then poking in a Donovan lob over a confused Chivas defense.
The Galaxy put the ultimate cap on the match after the 80th minute, with Landon Donovan taking free kicks in the absence of David Beckham. Omar Gonzalez got on the end of the corner opening up his 2012 account. It was like a long reminder of the way the Galaxy were able to play for the last three years.
After accumulating only 11 points through the first 13 matches of the season and finding themselves dead last in the Western Conference, the Galaxy are now only one point away from third place. With a midweek match in Colombus, the Galaxy could take third place before the weekend, putting pressure on Seattle Sounders and Vancouver Whitecaps.
Defensive roles were a key talking point, as the Galaxy returned to their 2011 back line for the first time in 26 matches. With David Junior Lopes and a cavalcade of rookies trying to fill the void left by various injuries, the Galaxy only managed to break even on goal differential despite being second in goals scored in MLS. The defense finally settled enough to keep some clean sheets, but they were still capable of stinkers like the 4-0 drubbing in Seattle; LA's worst defeat since Bruce Arena took over as head coach in 2008.
"I think we’re all really excited to get those four back on the field," said Donovan. "I think David Lopes has done a good job playing in some tough games when we needed him and Brian Gaul too in a lot of these games. But those four are really comfortable together; they’re confident, they move well, they communicate well and they make our job really easy so it’s nice to have them back together."
Defensive roles have been key to the reemergence of the Galaxy. Early season matches where everyone felt they had to support the back line saw the Galaxy dropping matches they shouldn't have. As confidence in the back line has grown, goal production has gone up. With Donovan starting up top, with little defensive responsibility, production has skyrocked, and it seemed like everyone was glad to had the old back four back together.
For Chivas, although they did get their first victory over the Galaxy since August 23rd, 2007 early this year in a 1-0 May 19 match, they lose the season series. 2007 was the last and only time Chivas has won the SuperClasico. Chivas went winless in 11 matches between victories.