Recap: LA gets new season off on right foot, tops Revs 1-0

Galaxy makes Buddle’s early goal stand for opening victory

New year, same old Galaxy. This
season, however, that’s a good thing.

Edson Buddle scored early and the defense made
it stand as LA beat New England 1-0 at Home Depot Center on Saturday.

Six times last season, the Galaxy won by a 1-0
score, including a July 4 victory over this same New England team here in
Southern California.

The Galaxy opened the scoring six minutes into
the match. New England’s Joseph Niouky took out Todd Dunivant with a slide
tackle a few yards from the left touchline. Landon Donovan took the set piece
and placed the ball with precision to the front of the goal. Buddle found space
between three defenders and smashed a header into the goal.

For Buddle, the goal may have been a bit of a
tension-breaker. The striker scored 15 goals in 2008 but only five a season
ago, and with the Galaxy in need of a dependable second scorer this season
behind Donovan, Buddle seemed to answer those early questions loud and clear.

New England pieced together a much different
lineup than in previous years. Gone are players such as Steve Ralston, Jeff
Larentowicz and Wells Thompson, but out injured were Matt Reis, Taylor Twellman
and Shalrie Joseph. Revs coach Steve Nicol trotted out three starters who had
never played in MLS before: forward Zach Schilawski, midfielder Niouky and
defender Seth Sinovic.

Donovan Ricketts wasn’t tested until the 23rd
minute, when Pat Phelan took aim from 22 yards. However, Phelan’s shot went
straight to the Galaxy ‘keeper and big Jamaican did well to nestle the ball
into his arms.

Galaxy coach Bruce Arena had to go to his bench
midway through the first half. Eddie Lewis, who had been tackled hard by Kevin
Alston in the 18th minute, apparently couldn’t recover from the slide tackle
and was removed, suffering from a left foot contusion, and replaced by Alex
Cazumba. Alston received a yellow card for the challenge.

The Galaxy nearly had several late
opportunities to add a second goal but were done in by fine goalkeeping and bad
mistakes. Preston Burpo turned away Buddle and Omar Gonzalez in the final 12
minutes with diving saves.

But clearly the Galaxy’s best opportunity was
in the 88th minute, when Donovan raced from the center circle to the penalty
area unmarked. Instead of trying to beat Burpo, Donovan slipped a ball to
Cazumba, but his touch failed him as the ball was out of reach.

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Scoring:

LA – Buddle (Donovan) 6

Misconduct:

NE – Alston (caution, reckless tackle), 18

NE – Niouky (caution, reckless tackle), 41

Lineups:

LA Galaxy: Ricketts; Franklin, Gonzalez,
Leonardo, Dunivant; Magee (Birchall, 67), Kovalenko, Juninho (Stephens, 80),
Lewis (Cazumba, 26); Buddle, Donovan.

New England Revolution: Burpo; Alston (Smith,
90), Gibbs, Osei, Sinovic; Nyassi (Boggs, 58), Phelan, Niouky, Tierney; Dube
(Mansally, 76), Schilawski.

Attendance: 21,376