Postgame Notes & Quotes: LA vs Columbus
LA Galaxy Head Coach Bruce Arena:
On the result:
“I was pleased with our performance in the first half. I think our team played quite well in the first half. Obviously, two good goals, and the third goal was certainly important. It was a much improved performance by our team tonight, and it hopefully gives us the confidence to continue to move forward and try to be a better team as we get into postseason play.”
On the decision to bring Beckham into the game:
“This was probably the best case scenario. Winning 3-0 or losing 3-0 was probably the best kind of situation to put him in. I am happy it was 3-0 in our favor.”
On Juninho’s return:
“He’s an excellent player. We really missed him. It has been unfortunate that we have lost him for personal reasons for a number of games this year, and we have missed his presence in the center of midfield. Tonight he played well, and obviously it’s great to get him back.”
On the play of Dema Kovalenko:
“He played quite well. The goal surprised all because that is not usually Dema’s forte. He played a very good overall game. His intensity in the midfield and his work ethic is important. This is a physical league and we’ve missed some physical dimensions at times, and Dema brings that.”
On the decision to play Jovan Kirovski up front:
“Jovan is a very good player, and wherever we play Jovan he brings us experience and a brain on the field. My analysis of our team is that we have needed to have some smarter players on the field and Jovan brings that. He is a very experienced player, technically he is quite good. To have another smart player on the field who understands what needs to be done each and every minute is important and Jovan brings that. He has been a class act for our team on the field and off, and I am happy for his goal tonight and happy for his performance.”
On the health of Edson Buddle:
“He’ll be fine. We were just being safe taking him off the field at half time. There were some questions whether we were going to play him tonight. He passed the fitness test and he was ready to go. We just wanted to be smart so we don’t have any issues for the rest of the season. He is ready to go and will be fine.”
On David Beckham’s effect on the team:
“David’s presence helps our team in the locker room, on the training field and on game day. It is remarkable that he is back on the field in this short period of time. September 15th is six months, and at his age, to put in the kind of effort to come back and for the players to see that is inspirational to the team.”
On the play of Landon Donovan:
“Wherever Landon Donovan plays, we should have an advantage in that area. I have made that clear to him. I think in every game, Landon needs to win the matchup and dominate that territory and he did that tonight.”
LA Galaxy Forward Landon Donovan
On tonight’s result:
“It was very important for us. The result was important clearly, but the last few weeks we have not been competitive. Tonight, we were very competitive. Most of the 50-50 plays, we came out on top of. We had more desire than they id, and that makes a difference. We have enough quality players to make plays. We just have to compete better.”
On the return of Dema Kovalenko and Juninho:
“Dema has added some competitive fire and when he does that, we all pick up on it. Juninho as well. He is so good on the ball and he makes us a better team. When he is in there, we move the ball better, we actively take more chances because we know he is going to do a good job on the ball. He really helped us tonight.”
On winning tonight:
“It was more of a statement for us in (the locker room). We have not played well lately and we wanted to first and foremost put in the right energy and effort. And if things don’t go your way, they don’t go your way. But more often than not, when you put in that kind of effort like we did tonight, then you are going to win.”
On getting David Beckham back:
“I think we all believe that getting (David) back is going to be the best addition any team can make. At this point, if we play well, we are going to have a lot of players fighting for positions and it is nice to have a guy like him, not only on the field. But having another guy with his leadership helps a lot.”
On his play tonight:
“Bruce talked to me a lot this week about winning my matchup and being the best player in my part of the field. I need to be the best player on the field every night when I play and that is my objective. Tonight I felt I did that. That needs to be the sort of effort I put out, and if I do that, we are going to win a lot of games.”
On scoring first:
“This year, I think when we have scored first, we have not lost. When we give up the first goal, we haven’t done well. It is a pretty basic strategy. I think we put a lot in to the first part of the game, and we fully deserved to score.”
LA Galaxy midfielder Dema Kovalenko:
On the win:
“It is a good win for us. I am so happy for the guys. We beat a good team tonight. We should be proud of ourselves. We had a couple a couple of mistakes that shouldn’t have happened, but it happens in soccer. It is still three points and that is the way we should come out every game.”
On Columbus coach Robert Warzycha saying that he was the difference in the game:
“It is nice to hear, but that’s what I do, that’s why I am here. The coaches have brought me in to disrupt plays. Games like that make you better. My job today was to watch Schelotto a little bit and it made a difference. I challenged him and he said this is not a war, and I said, my friend, it is a war. He is a good player. It was my job to watch him. It is a challenge for me anytime I play against a good player, and I love it.”
On defending Schelotto:
“I frustrated him a little bit. He doesn’t like to get kicked. You can’t give him any room. I was frustrated myself too because a couple of times I didn’t touch him and he went down. It is a game and it happens, but I’m happy that we won.”
LA Galaxy Midfielder David Beckham
On his season debut:
“It’s obviously great. I haven’t been out of the game for such a long time. To get back out there, after just under six months— it has been a quick recovery— I am happy with that. I still have to obviously do a lot of hard work but being out there for 20 minutes felt good.”
On team playing with more confidence with him being available:
“The team obviously set the tone for the game. Tonight was a big game. Columbus is a very good team. They are a tough team to play against. Just being around the guys, being in the training room, and being out there on the field and the training field, I hope it does that to the players and if it played some part in the game tonight with the way we played then that is a positive.”
On being able to play ninety minutes:
“I thought that I was ready to play 90 minutes a few months ago. At the end of the day, I have to take my time being eased into games. I thought that I could have played 90 minutes tonight but after 10 minutes of being on the field I felt like I was dying. I felt good after that, came through it and I finished strong so I was happy with that.”
Los Angeles Galaxy Forward Edson Buddle
On the game:
“It was good to get on the board early and have them pressing and I think that is what opened things up.”
On his goal:
“It was a good ball in from Sean [Franklin}. [Alex] Cazumba went to the near post and I went far post. The ball landed right on my foot and I was able to get solid contact.”
On tonight’s win:
“At the end of the day we want to get the Supporters Shield and win at home. Every game is important. We have to move on we just can’t dwell on this game. We’re definitely starting to go straight but we just want to get things right and hopefully have the same type of game next week.”
On being on top of the league:
“We’ve led the league all year and we wanted to hold on to that. Who knows what the mood would have been like if we would have lost that game and let Columbus take the lead.”
On the Galaxy winning when scoring first:
“The results speak for themselves. When we score first we win and we have to continue that. We have to show some kind of resilience and fight when we are down.”
On having David Beckham back:
“With his experience I think he will do well no matter what situation he is thrown in. He is going to take some time to get match fit but his experience is going to be key going into the playoffs.”
“Juninho is a very good player. I think he contributes and does a lot. He holds onto the ball in tight spaces. He is creative and he helps out a lot in the midfield. With the combination that we have already makes everything a lot more dangerous.”
Columbus Crew Coach Robert Warzycha
On falling behind 1-0:
“We had a decent game I would say, but they were scoring the goals. The first goal obviously was a good cross and we lost our marks in the box and they scored. The second goal was a one-two inside the box, it shouldn’t have happened. I think it was a bit of a soft goal. We gave up the third goal on the set piece which was rare for us. But, I give credit to the Galaxy, they did what they needed to do.”
On the physical play of the game affecting the Crew:
“Especially in the first half, I may have had objections to some of the calls but the referee did what he did. Look at the fouls, they [Galaxy] had 15 fouls and we had 6 and there was only one yellow card. They were stopping every time we had the momentum but they were tactical fouls, and that is part of the game.”
Thoughts on midfield play by both teams:
“Maybe we gave them a little bit more time but, actually, it was too many turnovers on our part. Kovalenko did what he’s known for. He tackled everybody, he grabs everybody and the referee let him do that and that was the difference.”
Columbus Crew Captain Frankie Hejduk
How did the pace of the Galaxy challenge you tonight?
“They just finished their chances to be honest. They did well with their chances and they kept the ball pretty well and knocked the ball around. They were the aggressors tonight and they were the home team and they played well.
Did the physical play affect your game tonight?
“No, not at all. We like grinding, fighting and scrapping, that’s kind of the way we play. Tonight was their night and they were the better team. We battled and tried to make it a game but we missed two really good chances and that was the difference.
What are your thoughts about tonight’s game?
“This was a tough game. LA is a solid team and there’s a reason why they’ve been in first place all year. That’s not to say anything bad about us. I thought we battled, but tonight they were definitely the better team.”
• With the win, the Galaxy improve to 14-5-5 on the season and are now in sole possession on first place in the Western Conference with 47 points. They are now three points ahead of Real Salt Lake for first place in the Western Conference and three points ahead of Columbus for the best record in MLS, with six games left in the season.
• The win snapped the Galaxy’s two game home losing streak and was their first regular season win at The Home Depot Center since a 3-1 win over Seattle. That was also the last time the Galaxy scored more than two goals in a game before tonight.
• Bruce Arena made one change to the team that draw 1-1 at Chicago last weekend, bringing Juninho back into the team in place of Tristan Bowen, who returned to the bench.
• Joining Bowen on the bench was midfielder David Beckham, who was in the Galaxy’s 18-man squad for the first time this season after being removed from the Disabled List on Thursday. Beckham had been out the entire season after tearing his left Achilles tendon while on loan at AC Milan in March.
• Beckham entered the game in the 70th minute, replacing Juninho. He was booked just four minutes after entering for a foul on Emmanuel Ekpo.
• The Galaxy were once again without defender Gregg Berhalter, who missed his fourth straight game through injury.
• Edson Buddle scored his MLS-best 14th goal of the season in the 13th minute, giving LA a 1-0 lead. That goal was his first since August 14, and his first at home since July 22.
• Sean Franklin and Landon Donovan each assisted on the goal. For Franklin it was his career-best fifth assist, while Donovan tied a career-high with his 13th.
• Dema Kovalenko doubled the LA lead in the 35th minute, scoring the first goal of his Galaxy career, making the score 2-0. Prior to the goal, Kovalenko’s last regular season goal was on May 31, 2008 as a member of Real Salt Lake.
• Kovalenko is the 13th different player to score for the Galaxy in the regular season this year.
• Donovan set a new career-high by assisting on the goal, collecting his league-best 14th assist of the year.
• This is his third multi-assist game of the season, and his first since May 8 at Seattle.
• Jovan Kirovski also assisted on the goal, collecting his second of the season.
• Kirovski then scored LA’s third goal, heading home an Alex Cazumba freekick. The goal was Kirovski’s fourth of the season and first since June 5. The four goals for Kirovski are his most in a season since 2007, when he was a member of the Colorado Rapids.
• The assist was Cazumba’s first as a member of the Galaxy.
• Edson Buddle left the game at halftime as a precautionary measure because of cramping in his leg. He was replaced by Chris Birchall, who was back in the team after missing last week’s game in Chicago through suspension.
• LA is now a perfect 14-0-0 when scoring the game’s first goal, compared to 0-5-2 when allowing the game’s opening goal. LA is one of just two MLS teams to win every game in which they scored the game’s first goal this season.
• LA has now scored three or more goals five times this season, going 5-0-0 in those contests, with four of them coming at The Home Depot Center.
• This was the final game of the season between the Galaxy and Crew, with LA sweeping the season series.
• Neither Omar Gonzalez nor Juninho were booked in the game, meaning that each are eligible to play next weekend against D.C. United. Both players are one game away from a mandatory one game suspension for yellow card accumulation.
• The attendance for today’s game was 19,482.
• The Galaxy are back in action next Saturday, September 18 when they host the four-time MLS Cup champion D.C. United at The Home Depot Center. That game kicks off at 7:30 p.m. (PT) and can be seen live on Fox Soccer Channel and Fox Sports en Espanol.