Keane, Zardes guide Galaxy past struggling FC Dallas

Robbie Keane

Photo by Michael Janosz/ISIphotos.com

By MARK EDWARD HORNISH

CARSON, Calif. —  A little home cooking was good for the LA Galaxy on Wednesday night, as they picked up a 2-1 win over FC Dallas in their first game at StubHub Center in more than a month.

Returning from a four-game, five-week road trip in which they managed only two points, the Galaxy put on a possession clinic and dominated FC Dallas before a crowd of 14,615. Robbie Keane and Gyasi Zardes linked up repeatedly on the evening, and both returned to the scoring column with a pair of lovely first-half goals.

Zardes found Keane loose above the box for the first tally in the 24th minute and Keane did the rest. The veteran forward danced through three Dallas defenders before burying a left-footed strike in the upper 90 from the semi-circle. Keane returned the favor just before halftime by bending in a cross to Zardes, who slipped his mark and headed home a looping ball that beat FC Dallas goalkeeper Raul Fernandez.

“Gyasi did really well today,” said Keane. “I said to him before the game, it was important that he have a big game today, and he certainly did. He was a threat. He mixed his game up well tonight, and he got the reward.”

Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena’s experiment last week with Keane in the midfield was short-lived. Keane looked lively all night in his return to the top of the formation, and seemed to enjoy the athleticism of Zardes at his side.

“Two good goals,” said Arena after the match. “Obviously, Keane’s was a spectacular finish, and Gyasi’s in a good spot to put away that goal, and probably had a few opportunities to get a second one. It was a good night for us.”

Perhaps more important than finding their shooting boots, the Galaxy defense managed to avoid the howling errors that have plagued the road-weary side over the past month.

Dallas managed only one handsome stretch of possession early in the second half, which culminated in a Tesho Akindele tap-in goal in the 66th minute. But that would be all for the visitors.

The rest of the night was a refreshingly clean performance for LA’s back line, especially given the fact that designated anchor Omar Gonzalez is with the U.S. Men’s National Team.

“Today we gave up a goal that maybe could’ve, should’ve been called offsides,” said AJ DeLaGarza. “But at the same time, we managed the rest of the game well, and got out of here with three points. It wasn’t pretty, but it was effective.”

For Dallas, its recent woes continue. While looking bright for small stretches, the majority of the match saw FC Dallas on the back foot, chasing the Galaxy and the game.

After a blistering start to the season, Dallas is now winless in six matches, a stretch that dates back to April 19. Things don’t get easier any time soon, as they will travel to Rio Tinto Stadium to take on first place Real Salt Lake on Saturday night.

The Galaxy will get to enjoy their home meals for a while longer. They take on Philadelphia Union at the StubHub Center on Sunday evening, and play two of their next three games at home before heading into the World Cup break.

“It’s been a long few weeks away from home,” said Keane after the match. “It’s certainly nice to be in your back garden. The pitch was playing very, very well. You could see the way we were moving the ball, very quickly. It certainly suited us.”

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8 Responses to Keane, Zardes guide Galaxy past struggling FC Dallas

  1. Ian says:

    This is the team I remember! Aside for some bumpy moments, the Galaxy controlled the game, connected well, and finally finished their chances. Definitely the most gratifying three points we’ve had in ages.

  2. Gary Page says:

    I saw about 80% of the game but managed to miss both Galaxy goals. Darn. The Galaxy looked good and Zardes seemed the best player on the pitch to me. He made a bunch of very nice passes. One, even though it did not result in a goal, was especially lovely. He threaded a long pass (30 to 35 yards I’m guessing) on the ground between two defenders and it had curl on it so that it went around the outside defender and ended up right at the feet of a streaking Keane. Last year Zardes showed that he has the athletic ability to be a top player but his finishing left a lot to be desired. Now he’s showing that he can be an excellent passer. This kid should be on the radar for 2018.

    • Tony in Quakeland says:

      Zardes was a fascinating player to watch last year. He came in thinking he could do it all himself and looked fairly clueless as a result. Early I rated Villareal a lot higher. But Zardes really figured it out and started to provide support for Donovan and Keane. t this point, he looks like he can be really good,

  3. Tony in Quakeland says:

    I have been arguing all season that they need Zardes if for no other reason that he stays wide and opens up space for the others to operate. In so many Galaxy games their attack looks clogged. Donovan, for one, gets pushed further back as the two strikers and the wings all push into thte middle of the field. Zardes at least draws a defender out.

    In fact, what looked like a de facto 4-3-3 last year with a front line of Donovan, Keane and Zardes looked really good last year. I don’t understand why Arena went away from it this year

  4. SoundersFan says:

    I must say that was the Old LA Galaxy, minus Landon pace. But the way they closed down FC Dallas was impressive, it made it very hard on them, they took their chances and one the game.

    I fear this team when Seattle has to play because of the wide open defense we play. (Not good to use words wide open with defense), LA needs to play that way a couple more times against better teams before we can say they are back on track.

    • Ian says:

      “LA needs to play that way a couple more times against better teams before we can say they are back on track.”

      So very true. After four games without a win – and this being their first home game in as many games – it’d be foolish to say “The Galaxy are back!” The good thing, from a fan’s perspective, is that the Gs have another home game this weekend. If they can win again, then maybe we can say they’ve got their home mojo back. They’ve been miserable on the road.

  5. trickhog says:

    One correction — the assist on Zardes’ goal came from Juninho, not Keane…