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Postgame Notes & Quotes: Chicago Fire vs LA Galaxy

LA Galaxy 2, Chicago Fire 0
Sunday, July 8, 2012

Toyota Park – Bridgeview, Ill.

Scoring Summary:
LA – Robbie Keane 5 (Penalty Kick) 24’
LA – Robbie Keane 6 (Landon Donovan 5) 78’

Misconduct Summary:
LA – David Junior Lopes (Yellow Card) 14’
LA – Juninho (Yellow Card) 14’
CHI – Marco Pappa (Yellow Card) 69’


LA Galaxy: Josh Saunders; Sean Franklin, A.J. DeLaGarza, David Junior Lopes, Todd Dunivant; Hector Jimenez (Bryan Jordan 60’), Juninho (Bryan Gaul 73’), Marcelo Sarvas, Michael Stephens; Robbie Keane©, Chad Barrett (Landon Donovan 65’).

Subs Not Used: Brian Perk, Tommy Meyer, Omar Gonzalez, Mike Magee.

Chicago Fire: Sean Johnson; Jalil Anibaba, Arne Friedrich, Austin Berry, Gonzalo Segares; Pavel Pardo, Logan Pause© (Alex 46’), Patrick Nyarko, Chris Rolfe (Orr Barrouch 79’), Marco Pappa; Dominic Oduro (Rafael Robayo 67’).

Subs Not Used: Jay Nolly, Dan Gargan, Hunter Jumper, Daniel Paladini.

Referee: Jair Marrufo

Referee’s Assistants: Eric Borja and Adam Garner

4th Official: Fotis Bazakos


  • With the win, the Galaxy are now 7-10-2 on the season for 23 points. That moves them to fifth place in the Western Conference, ahead of both Colorado and Chivas USA, who entered the game ahead of LA in the standings.
  • The win snapped LA’s two-game losing streak and was their first road win of the year against an Eastern Conference opponent.
  • After losing each of their first four meetings at Toyota Park in all competitions, LA are now unbeaten in their last four visits to the Bridgeview, Ill. Stadium, going 3-0-1 in those four games.
  • Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena made three changes to the team that lost 2-1 at home to Philadelphia on July 4. Sean Franklin, Michael Stephens and Chad Barrett each returned to the starting lineup in place of Omar Gonzalez, Mike Magee and Landon Donovan, all of who started the game on the bench.
  • The Galaxy named the same 18-man squad as they had against the Union.
  • They were once again without David Beckham, who missed his second straight game because of a suspension. After missing Wednesday’s loss because of yellow card accumulation, he missed today’s game after the MLS Disciplinary Committee gave him a one-game ban for his confrontational and provocative behavior during and immediately following the Galaxy’s 4-3 loss at San Jose on June 30.
  • In addition to Beckham, the Galaxy were also without Andrew Boyens, Edson Buddle, Dan Keat, Leonardo, Kyle Nakazawa and Pat Noonan, who all missed the game because of injuries.
  • Robbie Keane gave the Galaxy a 1-0 in the 24th minute, converting a penalty kick after a handball from Jalil Anibaba inside the box.
  • That goal was his fifth of the season in all competitions, surpassing his total of four last year.
  • It was his first successful penalty conversion in an MLS game, after having missed his only other attempt at home against FC Dallas on April 28.
  • Keane doubled the LA lead in the 78th minute with his second goal of the game off a feed from Landon Donovan.
  • Keane and Donovan are now tied for the team lead with six goals in MLS play this season.
  • This was Keane’s second multi-goal game of the season, with the first coming in the 3-1 home win over D.C. United on March 18.
  • He now has 10 goals in all competitions since joining the Galaxy.
  • Landon Donovan was credited with his fifth assist of the season on Keane’s second goal. He is now tied with David Beckham for the team lead in assists.
  • That assist was the 99th of his MLS career and the 70th of his Galaxy career. Only Cobi Jones and Mauricio Cienfuegos have more assists in a Galaxy uniform.
  • Donovan entered the game in the 65th minute, replacing Chad Barrett. That was his first appearance of the season as a substitute.
  • LA have now scored two or more goals in each of their last three road games, dating back to a 3-2 win over Real Salt Lake on June 20. They are 2-1-0 in those three games.
  • The Galaxy led 1-0 at the halftime. This was the first half of soccer in which they did not concede a goal since the second half of the 3-0 win over Vancouver on June 23.
  • Josh Saunders finished the game with three saves for his third clean sheet of the season. All three of his saves were in the second half , with two coming when the score was still 1-0.
  • This was LA’s first shutout away from home this year.
  • Juninho was shown a yellow card in the 14th minute of today’s game. That is his fifth yellow card of the season, meaning that he will have to serve a one-game suspension at Portland next weekend.
  • David Junior Lopes was also booked, giving him three yellow cards on the season and leaving him two cards away from a one-game ban.
  • The attendance for today’s game was a sellout 20,563. The Galaxy have now played in front of a sellout crowd for all nine of their away games this season, while also seeing capacity crowds in their road games at Toronto FC in the CONCACAF Champions League and against the Carolina RailHawks in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.
  • At halftime of the game, Major League Soccer announced that both David Beckham and Landon Donovan were named in the MLS All-Star First XI. This is the MLS record 12th All-Star selection for Donovan and the third for Beckham.
  • The Galaxy will be back in action on Saturday, July 14 when they travel north to Portland to face the Portland Timbers at JELD-WEN Field. That game will kick off at 8 p.m. and can be seen live on the NBC Sports Network.


Thoughts on the match
”It was a good win. Our guys played well, we had a few injuries today, we were short some players but I think we had a good plan coming into the game and we played pretty solid for 90 minutes. It wasn’t our best game but it was good enough for three points. But it was a good effort by the group.”
On the team’s defensive plan
“They have good attacking players and we were certainly aware of their speed. Obviously what you try to do is keep them in front of you as much as you can. I think our back line did a good job for the most part.”
On Landon Donovan coming off the bench
“We’re a little fatigued, he had a little bit of a nick and we just wanted to be smart about that. We have confidence in our other players and I think they did a good job. We made the decision yesterday; he needed  a little bit of a break. He had a great influence on the game. He played quite well for his 30 minutes.”
On keeping Omar Gonzalez out of the match
“Given the conditions, the travel and the heat, we decided to hold him back this game to give him a little bit more time. We just want to be safe with him. He’s getting there. He obviously played the other day but we want to slowly build his minutes and bring him back at the right time. We didn’t feel that today, with the combination of heat and the possibilities of having to make other substitutions that we wanted to start the game with him and ultimately we decided not to use him.
On starting the game on the bench
“I got a little hurt in Wednesday’s game and probably wasn’t going to last too long so we had to be smart about it.”
On his assist to Robbie Keane
”Our guys put in a lot of good work for 90 minutes and my challenge was to come in an hopefully help to seal the game. We picked a ball up in the middle and Robbie made a good run to stay wide. You get the ball to that guy anywhere near the goal, he’s going to score more often than not.”
On the team’s defensive play
“I thought we were great defensively. Chicago has been playing really well and they’re very dangerous, have a lot of dangerous players. And they didn’t have many good opportunities. I thought our defending as a whole was great, our individual defending was great, and the mentality was really good. It was a really good shutout.
On the team’s mentality
“We had three good games in a row and then we had a couple of game where we played well but ended up losing, and that was really frustrating and disappointing. Our mentality was great coming here. A lot of teams might have caved and said, ‘You know what, this is going to be a tough one, we’re going to try to get a point today,’ but we had a good mentality and we defended well. Robbie made a couple of really special plays to win the game.”
Thoughts on the match
“It was a well-fought match for our guys, coming off of two losses which were difficult because we had a chance to win. To come out and grind this one away was great. The guys fought hard, played extremely well, and I didn’t have to do much, which was great, so I commend them for that.”
On positives from the win
“You always take the positives from a win. But I mean, you can take the positives from a loss, which we have in the past, we knew what it takes to win games and grind ‘em out, which we didn’t necessarily do in the last two, so we took the positives from those negatives and turned them into a win here.”
On the training sessions after the loss to San Jose
“You don’t try and change the way you train because we know how to win games. We know how to train and we know how to manage a week. We’ve done well with that over the last four, five years. We try not to change that too much but there was a lot more focus because we know if you’re more focused in training it transfers to the game.”
Thoughts on his second goal
“I think it was important that we got the second goal to try and kill the game off, and lucky enough we did that. I was happy to score and help the team.”
Thoughts on going for the hat trick
“It’s fine. Of course you want to score as many goals as you can but the most important thing is the team and getting points on the board and that was the case today.”
On the team’s performance

“I’m happy enough for the whole team. I think we played well, we didn’t give them too many chances to score, I think they maybe had one chance and Josh pulled off a good save. Apart from that, I don’t think they had too many chances and I think we deserved to win the game.”

Comments on the match...
It is disappointing for us to be at home with a great atmosphere and to lose a game. It’s one game. We didn’t lose anything right now. There’s a lot of games to be played and you have to move on. Obviously, there wasn’t anything created from either side in the first half and a penalty gave them the opportunity to go ahead. It’s one game, we have to move on and regroup.
On the lack of opportunities...
LA did a good job getting behind the ball and they stayed pretty compact. We could have been better with ball movement. I felt that our movement and being dynamic and being off the ball wasn’t as sharp today. You have to move on and there will be setbacks. It’s how we react to them. Looking forward to the next match.
On Alex...
I think his ability when he gets the ball to beat players is good. We went down a goal and needed to push the game. We knew that the wind would be with us and we didn’t feel that there was a threat with the players they had to get behind us. We were trying to get a little bit better going forward knowing that they would sit back. We needed more guys that would break them down.  He’s coming along.
On missing Grazzini...
Why wouldn’t we miss him the last two games? Of course, the team loses and the questions come. I think that Sebastian Grazzini’s ability to pass in previous games you’ve seen Chris Rolfe and Alex do that. Today we were a step behind in everything. They were fresher and sharper. We talked about it at halftime, how we were at home and needed to push more. You’re going to have games like this throughout the season. It wasn’t just one or two players, and we have to move on. In the end, it is important to be where we set our eyes in the beginning. This is a strong group. We need to get ready for the next match.
On reorganizing the team due to missing Grazzini...
No. We’ve played the same way with Chris Rolfe and Alex. We have Rafael Robayo, who is good with the ball. We have players that can create. Everyone is a little bit different. Everybody has different characteristics. I feel very good with the group that we have.
On someone emerging as the playmaker...
I think Rolfe can do a good job. I think Robayo can do a good job. I think Alex can do a good job. It just depends on what we need. Those guys have those qualities. I think we have players that can do that. With Alex, he’s getting fitter and sharper with the games he’s played. A number of games in a short time, and that takes its toll. It’s definitely not an excuse. You could see today that we weren’t as sharp and we gave up that goal and then it is difficult chasing from behind.
On the forward formations...
We’ve played with two. When we started the game, Rolfe starts underneath and he can connect with the forward so we are a little more solid in the middle. In the second half, we brought in Alex. Logan [Pause] works his butt off to make sure that he can win a lot of balls. We brought Alex in and pushed Rolfe higher to push the game because we didn’t feel a threat of them to get behind. Once Donovan came in and we were pushing the game, we got stretched. They are good in transition when Landon is there with his pace. Sometimes you take risks, and we did and we couldn’t come up with the goals today.
Comments on the match...
We don’t have any excuses. We were pretty lazy today on the pitch. We didn’t have any movement. No one was 100% today. In my eyes, we didn’t have the effort like we have to show. There are no excuses, we deserved to lose today. Today was a small step back. It happens. The last games we did pretty good. No excuses. We have to stand up and we will. We will prepare this week for Vancouver. 
On Grazzini’s absence affecting the result...
No. No way. Grazzini didn’t play the last couple games as well and we did very good. The mentality today was not how it has to be. It was a step back, and it happens sometimes in the season. We will do better next week.
On if it is harder to focus during the transfer window...
No. This is not our job to think about that. We have to do our job on the pitch. We didn’t do it today like we have to. It was just a lazy job from us today. We should adjust. Next week will show another face I hope.
On recovering from his injury...
Today I played 90 minutes and it felt good. No pain anymore. Now I have to work on rhythm and speed. Today I am sad because of the loss.
Comments on the match...
We knew that it was going to be a great crowd. LA’s a great team, you have to give them credit. I don’t think that their record is indicative of how they are as a group. They are defending champions and have an experienced group. It’s disappointing to play in front of a sellout crowd and drop points.
On being surprised by Landon Donovan not starting....
Of course. Whether he picked up a nagging problem at training, or what not. We prepare whether he is there or not. Obviously, he came in and made a big impact. He’s a fantastic player. Disappointed that we dropped points.
Comments on the match...
I think that there was a couple factors, but most of all I think LA did great and we had a bad day.
On something missing in the offense...
Not really, I think it’s just a tired turn. I’m not going to make an excuse for this game. The last couple games have been at tough places. This game, I think we had a game plan to get goals from the onset. The field didn’t help us with our ball movement. That’s not the main reason-LA played on it too. They came with a great plan that took us out of our element by stepping high and tried to win every ball played into the middle. They did a great job of that. We just couldn’t get going after they surprised us with that kind of play.
On getting used to playing without Grazzini...
Obviously, it’s been a year playing with him and you know what he can do. We got used to it. Notwithstanding, Alex is that kind of player. With more time to settle in, he will bring back that special ability.