With Landon Donovan and Edson Buddle, the LA Galaxy concentrate on defending and timely goals. Without the two US internationals, the focus apparently doesn't change much.
In their first game since Donovan and Buddle left the team for World Cup training camp, the Galaxy scored an early goal and made it stand as LA beat FC Dallas 1-0 at Pizza Hut Park on Thursday.
Watch: FULL MATCH HIGHLIGHTS
Mike Magee scored the lone goal of the match as the Galaxy improved their league-best record to 8-0-2. And even though the match doesn't necessarily mean the Galaxy won't have any issues without Donovan and Buddle, it’s still a great way for the club to start off this stretch.
“It's not like one game is going to make a difference, you know," Magee told MLSsoccer.com over the phone after the match. "We've still got more games without those guys, but every other question was about those guys. Getting this first win out of the way it gives us confidence and speaks volumes for what Bruce [Arena] and the coaching staff has done and the guys they brought in.”
Before the match, the question facing the Galaxy was whether the club would face problems offensively with their dynamic duo gone. Instead, LA were able to not only score first but were able to stave off FC Dallas’ attack.
Magee and Tristan Bowen started up front, and while Magee said there’s no comparison between the absent players and Thursday’s starters, the team played strong up top regardless.
“Those are big shoes to fill," he said. "Me and Tristan Bowen starting for Landon Donovan, it's not a fair trade off but we realize that we have to form a partnership and we've got to find a way to create chances. Even though we only scored one goal, we felt like we had some opportunities.”
On the play that led to the goal, Chris Klein took a ball from the back and played it up to Bowen, who did well to find Magee inside the box.
“Tristan and Chris did pretty much everything,” Magee said. “The timing of the ball was perfect and then Tristan picked his head up and most guys, even a lot of older guys, would have blasted that. He had the ability to see me running and it was just a tap in.”
Magee’s goal helped the Galaxy take the lead and the team’s depth made up for it.
“You play a game with Jovan Kirovski, Clint Mathis and Sean Franklin coming off the bench and when you’re missing a bunch of guys with injury and national team duty,” said Magee, “you know you're in good shape."