Three Points: The LA Galaxy defeat Real Salt Lake 1-0

LA Galaxy Insider Adam Serrano’s analysis of the Galaxy’s 1-0 win over RSL

CARSON, Calif. – LA Galaxy Insider Adam Serrano’s Three Points to the club’s 1-0 victory over Real Salt Lake. The Galaxy are now unbeaten in seven consecutive league matches.  

GYASI ZARDES CONTINUES HIS SCORING STREAK

Gyasi Zardes just can’t stop scoring.

The Galaxy’s Homegrown striker scored his fourth goal of the season when he put LA ahead in the 20th minute. The goal was a clinical finish from nearly 18 yards out that sailed past RSL goalkeeper Nick Rimando and was set up by a Marcelo Sarvas pass and a brilliant dummy run by Landon Donovan. The goal is Zardes’ fourth tally in his last six appearances across all competitions.

With the Galaxy starting to get into the thick of their schedule, they’ll need their 22-year-old striker to continue to produce and score goals as they seek to develop that elusive third option in the attack.

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR LANDON DONOVAN?

Gyasi Zardes’ run of form means a fixed place for him in the Galaxy starting XI and a return to midfield duties for Landon Donovan.

Donovan started his fourth consecutive match in midfield as he was entrusted with serving as the creative engine for the Galaxy at the top of LA’s midfield diamond. The 32-year-old provided that in the 20th minute when he caught the RSL defense off guard with a dummy run on a Marcelo Sarvas pass that was smashed into the back of the net by Zardes. That wasn’t his only impact for the attacker, however, as Donovan’s presence—combined with Robbie Keane’s trademark tendency to drop into central midfield —gave LA enough numbers in midfield to overwhelm RSL.

For my money, Donovan’s best place is in the midfield where he can either use his pace and passing ability along the flanks or play chief playmaker for the Galaxy in the center of the park.

DID ARENA GET HIS COMPLETE PERFORMANCE?

LA Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena has been extremely vocal this season about his team’s inability to register a complete showing over the course of 90 minutes, but on Saturday his team took another step toward that showing in their 1-0 victory.  

During the first half, the Galaxy enjoyed plenty of success down the flanks as the two teams clogged the center of the park while in the second half, LA weathered the storm created by the Salt Lake pressure. The Galaxy’s compact defensive play was in stark contrast to the team’s early season form as the center back tandem of A.J. DeLaGarza and Tommy Meyer frustrated RSL’s attack while goalkeeper Jaime Penedo came through in the clutch with five saves. 

The nerviest moments for the Galaxy came in the closing stages of the game when RSL had several opportunities to pull even during a frantic finish. Ned Grabavoy nearly helped LA pull level in the 89TH minute after exploiting a hole in the LA defense, but his shot was fired into the side netting.

Adam Serrano is the LA Galaxy Insider. Read his blog at LAGalaxy.com/Insider and contact him at LAGalaxyInsider@Gmail.com.