CARSON, Calif. – To solve his club’s defensive concerns after a jarring 4-0 defeat to the Seattle Sounders a week earlier, LA Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena turned to an old staple to provide stability in the back four in Sunday’s SuperClásico.
HIGHLIGHTS: CHV 0, LA 4
To shut down the Chivas USA attack, Arena called upon the back four of Sean Franklin, A.J. DeLaGarza, Omar Gonzalez and Todd Dunivant, a quartet that started 17 games together in 2011 while helping the Galaxy win the 2011 MLS Cup. And shut them down they did.
Displaying the organization and cohesiveness in the back that helped the Galaxy win the MLS Cup a year earlier, the Galaxy defense suffocated the Chivas’ attackers, preventing the Rojiblancos from generating much—if any—offense through 90 minutes.
“It felt great to have the old backline and you could just tell we were playing with confidence,” Gonzalez told reporters after the match. “Everyone was just on and it finally felt like last year where everyone was playing, from the goalkeeper up to the forwards, everyone was on. It was a great game for us.”
Postgame Interview: Omar Gonzalez
In particular, the center back pairing of DeLaGarza and Gonzalez was incredibly effective in shutting down Chivas forwards Juan Agudelo and Juan Pablo Angel. Unable to resume their partnership at the start of the season due to Gonzalez’s offseason knee surgery, once reunited, the pair did not miss a beat.
Displaying chemistry forged after years of playing alongside one another, the two Galaxy center backs’ limited Chivas’ scoring opportunities throughout the match, ultimately holding the Rojiblancos to just three shots on goal. Following a difficult performance a week earlier in Seattle, Gonzalez admitted that he felt right at home alongside his old college teammate.
“It was just back to normal. We didn’t have to talk too much, it was nice. We were just in the right position the whole game,” said Gonzalez. “All I had to do say his name once and he knew were to be and he would do the same to me. It was just really nice.”
Their first appearance together in the books, Arena could not help but crack a smile when asked about the length it time it took to get his first choice group together.
“It’s good to have them back,” said Arena. “It only took us, what, 26 games? That’s life.”
Adam Serrano is the LA Galaxy Insider. Read his blog at LAGalaxy.com/Insider