Postgame Notes & Quotes: LA Galaxy vs Colorado Rapids

LA shut out Colorado 2-0 to climb Western Conference standings

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Photo Credit: 
Robert Mora / LA Galaxy

LA Galaxy 2, Colorado Rapids 0
Friday, September 14, 2012

The Home Depot Center – Carson, Calif.

Scoring Summary:
LA – Robbie Keane 12 (Landon Donovan 12, Marcelo Sarvas 1) 15’
LA – Christian Wilhelmsson 1 (Marcelo Sarvas 2) 58’

Misconduct Summary:
LA – A.J. DeLaGarza (Yellow Card) 77’

Lineups:

LA Galaxy: Josh Saunders; Sean Franklin, Omar Gonzalez, A.J. DeLaGarza, Todd Dunivant; Christian Wilhelmsson (Hector Jimenez 60’), Juninho, Marcelo Sarvas (Michael Stephens 83’), Mike Magee; Landon Donovan© (Edson Buddle 78’), Robbie Keane.

Subs Not Used: Brian Perk, Tommy Meyer, Bryan Gaul, Jose Villarreal.

Colorado Rapids: Matt Pickens; Drew Moor©, Marvell Wynne, Tyrone Marshall, Luis Zapata; Jeff Larentowicz (Brian Mullan 74’), Hendry Thomas, Jaime Castrillon, Tony Cascio (Omar Cummings 41’), Martin Rivero; Andre Akpan (Conor Casey 64’).

Subs Not Used: Steward Ceus, Scott Palguta, Joseph Nane, Kamani Hill.

Referee: Ismail Elfath

Referee’s Assistants: Frank Anderson and Baboucarr Jallow

4th Official: Ramon Hernandez

Notes:

  • With the win, the Galaxy are now 14-11-4 on the season for 46 points. They are now in third place in the Western Conference, tied with Real Salt Lake on points but ahead of them on goals scored.
  • LA are now one point behind second-place Seattle Sounders FC, who are in action on Saturday against the Portland Timbers. LA are nine points ahead of fifth place Vancouver.
  • The Galaxy and Colorado will meet again on September 30 when LA travels to Dick’s Sporting Goods Park for the third and final meeting of the season. LA have won each of the first two meetings between the two sides, having also won 2-1 on April 21 at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.
  • The Galaxy are now 31-21-6 all-time against Colorado including a 21-6-2 record at home against the Rapids.
  • Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena made two changes to the starting lineup that beat Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2-0 on September 1 at The Home Depot Center in the club’s last regular season game. Landon Donovan returned to the starting lineup, playing up front alongside Robbie Keane while Christian Wilhelmsson made his MLS debut, starying on the right side of midfield. They replaced David Beckham and Hector Jimenez. Jimenez began the game on the bench while Beckham did not dress because of a left ankle sprain.
  • This was the first time that Donovan had played for the Galaxy since the win over Chivas USA on August 12. Donovan missed LA’s road match against Columbus on August 15th because of international duty where he picked up a hamstring injury in the United States’ 1-0 victory over Mexico, an injury that forced him to miss each of the last four games before tonight.
  • Wilhelmsson came straight into the Galaxy starting lineup after being officially added to the club’s roster on Thursday afternoon. The Swedish winger started on the right-side of the LA midfield and went 61 minutes, before being substituted for Hector Jimenez.
  • Beckham did not dress for the game because of a left ankle sprain that he suffered against Vancouver on September 1. In addition to Beckham, the Galaxy were once again without Leonardo, David Junior Lopes and Kyle Nakazawa, who all missed the game with injuries.
  • Robbie Keane put LA ahead, 1-0, in the 15th minute with a left-footed shot past Matt Pickens to the far post. The goal was Keane’s team-leading 12th of the season in the league, moving him into fifth on the MLS goal-scoring list.
  • Keane retuned to Southern California earlier this week after helping the Republic of Ireland claim a 2-1 win over Kazakhstan in their first World Cup Qualifier on September 7. He drew and converted an 89th minute penalty in that game.
  • Keane now has a goal or an assist in five straight games dating back to August 12 and has nine goals and six assists in 14 games since returning from the European Championships in late June.
  • Donovan and Marcelo Sarvas were each credited with assists on the opening goal. For Donovan it was his team-high 12th assist of the season and for Sarvas it was his first of the season. Donovan’s 12 assists put him in a tie for second in MLS.
  • For Sarvas, not only was it his first assist of the season, it was the first of his MLS career.
  • Keane’s 15th minute goal was the fourth time this season that LA has scored in the first 15 minutes of a regular season game. LA are now 2-2-0 when scoring inside the opening 15 minutes.
  • The Galaxy took the 1-0 lead to halftime and are now 9-2-0 when leading at the break and 11-3-0 when scoring the first goal of the game.
  • The Galaxy took a 2-0 lead in the 58th minute when new signing Christian Wilhelmsson scored the first goal of his Galaxy and MLS career.
  • Wilhelmsson is the first Galaxy player to score in his debut since Jack McBean on October 11, 2011 against the Houston Dynamo. Wilhelmsson is also the first Galaxy player to score in his debut this season after two did it in 2011.
  • This is the first time that Galaxy have had two players wearing the same jersey number score a goal for the club. Wilhelmsson is the second #9 to score for LA this season, following Chad Barrett, who scored in the #9 shirt on July 4. In 2010, Alan Gordon and Dema Kovalenko each scored goals while wearing the #21 shirt for the club.
  • Sarvas was credited with his second assist of the game on the goal, making it the first multi-assist game of the Brazilian’s MLS career.
  • Sarvas joins David Beckham, Landon Donovan and Sean Franklin as the only Galaxy players with multi-assist games this season.
  • Keane’s opening goal ended up as the game-winner, meaning that the Irish forward is now in a tie for third-most game-winning goals in MLS with five on the season.
  • The Galaxy started the back four of (from left to right) Todd Dunivant, A.J. DeLaGarza, Omar Gonzalez and Sean Franklin in front of goalkeeper Josh Saunders for the fifth straight league game. In those five matches, LA have four shutouts and have allowed just one goal.
  • Josh Saunders only had to make one save to earn his eighth clean sheet of the season. He is now 11-3-2 since re-joining the squad in June.
  • He has shutouts in each of his last three game, though he has only had to make one save in each of the last two
  • Colorado outshot LA 19-14, but the Galaxy had eight shots on goal compared to just one for Colorado.
  • This is the first time this season that LA have recorded four consecutive clean sheets in all competitions.
  • A.J. DeLaGarza was shown a second half yellow card, giving him four bookings on the season. If he gets booked in any of his next three games, he will be forced to serve a one-game suspension. If DeLaGarza is not booked in any of his next three games, he will have one card removed from his record.
  • This was the first time in his MLS career that he has tallied four or more yellow cards in a season.
  • For the second straight game, Marcelo Sarvas was not booked in the win. If he does not receive a yellow card in his next game, he will have one caution removed from his record and be two away from a suspension.
  • The attendance for today’s game was 20,204 at The Home Depot Center.
  • The Galaxy will travel to Puerto Rico on Monday for their CONCACAF Champions League encounter with the Puerto Rico Islanders. That game, which will be played at Juan Ramon Loubriel Stadium, kicks off at 5 p.m. (PT) and will be shown live on FOX Soccer.
  • They will return to league action when they host Toronto FC at The Home Depot Center on Saturday, September 22. That game, which is presented by Time Warner Cable SportsNet, kicks off at 7:30 p.m. and can be seen live on KDOC and KWHY.
  • This will be the only regular season game of the year between the two sides, though they met twice in March during the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals, with TFC eliminating the Galaxy 4-3 on aggregate, including at 2-1 win at The Home Depot Center.
  • That game will also be LA’s fourth straight home game in the league, a stretch that followed four straight road games in MLS play.

Quotes:

LA Galaxy Head Coach Bruce Arena

Overall thoughts on the game:

“Wasn’t our best game, you know, our first half I thought we were very sloppy. It was an inconsistent half after we scored our goal. I think we took our foot off the pedal a little bit and got sloppy, and Colorado came after us. We turned the ball over too much. The second half was a much more consistent 45 minutes than the first half. I think the layoff maybe hurt us a little bit and it was warm out there tonight, surprisingly, and that took its toll as well.”

On Christian Wilhelmsson’s debut:

“I think he played well, you know, we went into the game hoping we’d get 60 minutes out of him and we managed that. Obviously the goal was an important goal; probably not the best goal of his career, but we’re going to take it. It was an important goal for our team tonight, but I think he’s going to be a good addition to our team. He showed his experience on the field, excellent first touch, understands how to play on both sides of the ball, so I think he’s going to be a player that is certainly going to help us in the stretch run.”

On Landon Donovan’s return the lineup:

“Landon hasn’t played in a while, so it was good to get him some minutes tonight, we probably could have let him go 90 minutes—needed to be safe, he was tired and we just got to play him back into form. I would think in a couple of weeks he’s going to be at 100 percent.”

On Marcelo Sarvas’ play:

“Marcelo was excellent tonight and again, we see more of the same with him and Juninho—very good partnership in the midfield, they’ve been outstanding on both sides of the ball, good with their passing, good at winning balls, just invaluable members of our team. They’ve been outstanding. Marcelo, tonight, I guess has two assists, he makes that important block on that mishap we had at the end of the game where Connor Casey had that excellent chance. Marcelo was excellent tonight.”

On Edson Buddle’s appearance:

“He’s coming around; he’s looking like the old Edson now. I think he’s passed the injury, now it’s just a matter of getting him in form, in terms of getting his first touch a little bit better, which I thought he did a good job tonight, holding the ball up. A little bit better on his finishing and getting his fitness right, so he’ll be important for us as well as we close out the regular season.”

On the teams' overall improvement:

“I think if we can be dangerous going forward it takes a little pressure off our back line, but having said that, they’ve done a good job when we’ve turned the ball over in bad spots. I think obviously the back four and Josh [Saunders] are pretty comfortable with each other, it’s just going to take a matter of time. Omar [Gonzalez] still has a little time left to get fit, where we want him to be, and you know, that will come. I think just being comfortable with each other, and Josh Saunders has played well as of late, so it’s good to see.”

On the impact Robbie Keane has on the team:

“Robbie’s been real good. Besides what you see on the field, he’s been a great leader for us, he does a great job with the team and inside the locker room and he’s been outstanding since his return from the European Championships.”

LA Galaxy forward Landon Donovan

Overall thoughts on the game:

“It was maybe not our best game, but an important win and it keeps pressure on the teams ahead of us.”

On the opening goal and its importance:

“It was a great goal. I thought we started the game really well and we had a few good chances early and then it was really important to score a goal early against a team that really came here with no intention of winning the game, so it was important to score early.”

On Christian Wilhelmsson’s first game:

“It was his first game so we’ve got to iron out some kinks with all this, we’ve got to figure out how he wants to play, but he contributed. Not the most beautiful goal, but it counts and I thought he played a really solid 60 minutes.”

On the play of Marcelo Sarvas:

“He was fantastic. Those two play really well together in the middle. Marcelo, probably a couple months ago, got a chance to get in the team and he hasn’t relinquished his spot. He’s made it difficult to bring him out of the lineup and our record with him in there is really good.”

On how his hamstring felt:

“I was very rusty. It’s certainly not my best night, but it was good to get minutes in a victory, it was good to get some fitness. It was tired and sore at the end but it was good to get through it.”

On the team’s mindset as they get closer to the playoffs:

“We’re greedy, we want more. If we’re going to pass Seattle, pass Salt Lake and get near San Jose we’re going to need a little bit of help, but we also play those three teams, all of them, so we want to keep pushing and we’ll see where the chips lie at the end. But we’re going to keep going and keep putting pressure on teams.”

LA Galaxy midfielder Christian Wilhelmsson

On his debut:

“I didn’t think that I would score today and it was a pleasure. I’m just happy that we got the three points and I that got the goal of course is great.”

On how he felt he connected with his new teammates:

“From time to time alright and there was some misunderstanding sometimes, but it’s been two weeks and we’re getting to know each other more and more every day so it will be better absolutely.”

On his goal:

“It was a great feeling, a big relief. Of course a goal in my first game is amazing. I’m just glad that we could get the three points. … A goal is a goal. I have to thank the keeper; he helped me a little bit though.”

LA Galaxy defender Omar Gonzalez

On the performance of the backline and Marcelo Sarvas’ block:

“I think we’ve done really well thus far since having the back line together and tonight we got saved by Marcelo. I made that mistake, but that shows our character of players getting back and getting into the right position and saving the goal. So I’m happy he made that save.”

On how healthy he feels:

“I’m getting closer to 100 percent. I’d say I’m between 95 and 100, so I’m almost there.”

On the team’s recent defensive performances:

“I think everyone’s stepped up their game since our backline’s been back together. I think that having a confident backline and having a group that plays well together gives the rest of the guys confidence to just worry about playing their game and they don’t have to worry about us letting in goals like we did at the beginning of the year. Everyone’s just a lot more comfortable.”

Colorado Rapids Head Coach Oscar Pareja

On the strength of the Galaxy:

“They have a very good team, and there are certain players that can give you different difficulties. That’s talent, and I have to respect that.”

On where Colorado struggled:

“I don’t think we had a good start in the game, I think the first 15 minutes it was a lack of intensity and that set the tone for part of the half. And when you’re chasing the game, and it happened to us during the season, when you’re chasing the game it’s difficult. But I thought a lack of intensity, I would say, in the first 15 minutes, that set the tone of the game for us. They had a couple chances, so to me, that’s the point for us and that was the start of the game. I didn’t see the urgency and the concentration and the intensity that I used to see with this team. I think we faced a very good team and when you’re giving those lapses of time, they take advantage of it, and that makes it difficult for you.”

On struggling for chances against the Galaxy defense:

“It’s a team where they are always reacting to you, and the difficulties that we have when it’s 1-0 and then we started like ‘right now is the time to go.’ With a team like Galaxy what you’re going to give up is space and time because you get unorganized, and I was disappointed with the start of the game.”

On the Galaxy defense and being shut out:

“It’s a team that has very very good players. Perhaps if we could have been sharper in the box in the second half that couldn’t have happened, because in the second half we had some options and maybe we can balance the game there because we had a couple clear options to score.”

On Conor Casey:

“Conor came in and like Omar I thought he gave us some spark there. You know with Conor that he moves a strong body there, that he gives you a lot of soccer when he receives the ball and he was dangerous in the box. Unfortunately he wasn’t able to score on the option that he had but he and Omar came and created problems for the Galaxy.”

On maybe adding Omar or Conor to starting lineup:

“It has been a roller coaster during the whole season with players and we’re trying to get some consistency there but we’ll see.”

Colorado Midfielder Brian Mullan

On having trouble with the Galaxy defense and adjusting:

“In the beginning of the game they were getting a lot of guys behind the ball, and we weren’t able to find our way through, and then I think when we switched to two forwards it starting freeing our guys up top and we started getting a lot more looks. I don’t think they did anything special to shut us down, but we didn’t get enough chances and when we did we couldn’t put them away.”

On what the team did well tonight:

“We didn’t quit. That’s about it.”

On where Colorado can improve:

“We’re looking to get wins. They’ve been very elusive this year, and it’s very unfortunate, but we’ve been up and haven’t been able to hold a lead so we’ll work on getting some wins.”

Colorado Forward Conor Casey

On his performance tonight:

“It felt okay for the minutes that I played, you know, coming in late, other guys were usually kind of tired but I felt alright for the time that I played.”

On if Colorado did anything well:

“Not especially no, we didn’t quit, we haven’t really all year, but that last pass, that last final shot wasn’t there to get for us.”

On what the Galaxy did well:

“They keep the ball well, they move it quickly, and they keep you on your heels by getting in behind you, so they did a good job in terms of that. Teams usually get better as the season goes on, and it was a while ago since we’ve played them.”

Colorado Defender Drew Moor

On Christian Wilhelmsson:

“He looked dangerous. Obviously he has some good players to play off of, in Landon and Robbie Kean. He got a goal and I thought we could have dealt with it better, but he’s a dangerous player, and somebody that will probably fit in well within their system.”

On trying to defend against the Galaxy:

“Robbie and Landon, they feed off of each other well and they seem to always know what each other are doing, and we need to see it quicker than that. I thought it was a well taken goal, but I think we needed to deal with it better. We just can’t let guys like that get in behind us. That’s what they were looking for. Like I said, it was well taken by them, but we need to deal with that better.”

On what Colorado did well:

“I think there’s always positives to take away from a game, the last 15 minutes of the first half we created some chances. Unfortunately I thought we gave up a soft goal about halfway through the second half that killed our spirits a little but, but we still created chances. Connor got in behind, Omar got in behind a couple times, and those are the little things you have to look for to stay positive off of. We had a couple of corner kicks that we should probably take better advantage of, but in a tough result like this you have to go look for some of those positives.”