Opare goal leads Galaxy youngsters past Impact

CollinWarnerMontrealImpact1-LAGalaxy (ImpactdeMontreal)

By MARC SERBER

With a number of starters missing out for both teams, it figures that a rookie would step up to give the Los Angeles Galaxy a crucial late-season victory.

Kofi Opare’s first ever MLS goal was enough to give the Galaxy a 1-0 victory over the Montreal Impact and propel the two-time defending MLS champions into 3rd place in the Western Conference.

The former Michigan Wolverine, playing in place of the injured Omar Gonzalez, tucked the ball home in the 68th minute following a scramble resulting from a Juninho corner. With just two games left, the Galaxy not only strengthened its bid for a fifth consecutive postseason birth, but is just two points behind Portland and New York in the race for the Supporter’s Shield.

Montreal should have opened the scoring in the first minute when Andrew Wenger raced clear of the Galaxy defense only to drag his shot wide. 11 minutes later and Wagner squandered another golden opportunity after missing Marco Di Vio’s well placed cross.

Gyasi Zardes had LA’s best chance of the opening 45 minutes on the stroke of halftime, dicing his way into the box before sending his shot off the outside of the post.

The Galaxy attack came to life in the 60th minute with the introduction of Robbie Keane. The Irishmen had just returned from World Cup Qualifying duty in the afternoon and LA took the lead just eight minutes later.  Keane played an integral part by keeping Juninho’s corner  alive at the far post resulting in the melee from which Opare would eventually stroke home.

Marcelo Sarvas and Keane both hit the crossbar within the final 10 minutes but the night belonged to Opare. The rookie’s goal is just rewards for the job he’s done filling in at center back first for Leonardo and now Gonzalez.

LA needs just a draw when San Jose visits on Sunday to be absolutely sure of a spot in the postseason. Montreal’s position is a bit more precarious. The Impact is in fourth, but tied on points with fifth placed Chicago and sixth placed Philadelphia. New England is also breathing down the Canadians’ neck, just a further point behind.

The Impact face a preverbal six-pointer against the Union before traveling to Toronto FC for an all Canadian battle. Los Angeles will look to wrap up its playoff spot on Sunday at home versus San Jose before turning its attention to the CONCACAF Champions League with a trip to El Salvador to face Isidro Metapan next Thursday.

The Galaxy finish the MLS regular season four days later, heading to the Northwest to face Seattle in what could be a battle for seeding, or depending on other results, possibly the Supporter’s Shield.

Here are the game highlights:

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10 Responses to Opare goal leads Galaxy youngsters past Impact

  1. Gnarls says:

    Remember when Seattle fans were chirping about their precious games in hand? That was cute.

    • James says:

      As Sounders fan I can only say…..deserved.

    • Brain Guy says:

      And remember when Montreal led the Eastern Conference with several games in hand? If they don’t right their respective ships, both Seattle and Montreal could miss the playoffs.

    • Quit whining about soccer in the US says:

      We ARE cute fans, I will give you that.

      This isn’t some joke league, games in hand is great, but man it is tough to win in MLS.

      Go Sounders !

  2. Impartial Observer says:

    Eastern conference standings are ridiculous after this result. A team with 48 pts, three teams with 46 pts, one with 45, three playoff spots left.

  3. Ian says:

    Ugly win for LA, but three points are like gold this time of the season. Still hard to believe not a single Western team has clinched a playoff birth with only two match days left.

  4. Gary Page says:

    Lots of times in the past I have read people who say that MLS should go to a single table with no playoffs. But this year shows why the MLS system is really fabulous. With two games to go, only 3 teams are out of the race for qualifying and no one else in the Western Conference is even guaranteed a playoff spot yet. This makes for a crazy exciting finish. Galaxy should get Donovan back for Sunday vs. San Jose and a draw puts them in. I’m liking their chances.

    • slowleftarm says:

      At what point does parity mean that none of the teams are that good?

      • Quit whining about soccer in the US says:

        At what point ?

        When you are blind and can’t tell good soccer from bad soccer.

      • Ian says:

        At what point? The 60th minute of any CCL match between an MLS club and a LigaMX club. As soon as the first subs come in, that’s when the quality gap becomes blatantly obvious. Parity is MLS’s own worst enemy in continental competition.