CARSON, Calif. – The Giovani dos Santos era at the LA Galaxy is just beginning but we’re starting to see consistent flashes of brilliance from the club’s newest Designated Player.
Dos Santos went 90 minutes for the first time in his Galaxy career in Tuesday’s 5-0 CONCACAF Champions League victory over Guatemalan club Comunicaciones. In four competitive matches for the Galaxy so far, the Mexican international has tallied two goals and four assists while helping the Galaxy pick up wins in each of those games.
Against the Guatemalans, Dos Santos was his typically dangerous self in the attack as he helped LA control the tempo against an overmatched Comunicaciones squad.
“He did a little bit of everything tonight," Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena said. "He could’ve had some goals, I think we could have been a little bit cleaner with him and found him a little bit earlier in and around the penalty area. But on the night, his passing was good and his running off the ball was very good. He had a very good night; I thought the effort he put in was tremendous.”
In three of the Galaxy’s five goals on the night, Dos Santos’ impact could be felt.
In the fifth minute, the Mexican international floated a cross into the penalty area that fell perfectly for Mika Vayrynen who blasted it into the back of the net with a gorgeous volley. In the second half, with the Galaxy up 3-0, Dos Santos collected a Rafael Garcia long-ball, causing a two-on-one with the Comunicaciones goalkeeper. Rather than round the ‘keeper, Dos Santos squared the ball to an open Keane for the easy finish.
In LA’s final tally of the night, Dos Santos’ ability to hold off his defender allowed Keane the freedom to fire in the fifth goal of the evening.
Bruce Arena wasn’t the only one singing Dos Santos’ praises after the match as both Robbie Keane and Alan Gordon joined in the chorus.
“My first goal was a tap from Giovani [dos Santos]. That’s what he does; he’s not a selfish player,” said Keane who scored two on the evening. “He’s a team player; he could have easily gone himself and tapped it around the goalkeeper. I think the most important part thing is that the easy option is always the best option.”
Added Gordon, “He could do a lot of things so I’ve got to be on my game to see his movements. I had a lot of fun tonight, he likes to move around, likes to get the ball; I’d like to do it again sometime. He is a good player so he gives us that X-factor. He can do about anything he wants, and it’s only just begun. We struggled for a while without Robbie [Keane] in the beginning of the season. Now we have plenty of guys who can change a game in a single play.”
As successful as Dos Santos has been in limited action—particularly alongside Keane—the Irishman believes that we’re only scratching the surface of the Mexican’s potential impact with the club.
“I think we are always looking for each other and it is only going to get better. It’s like we have been playing together for a long time. We obviously know each other, but it’s certainly getting better. Nearly every day Gio has gotten an assist,” Keane said. “He’s a fantastic player, always a team player, never selfish and always wanting the team to do well. He’s getting more mature now and he knows what he wants and what he has to do. So far he’s been brilliant and is only getting better.”