Steven Gerrard and Giovani dos Santos starred in the Galaxy’s 4-1 win over Houston on Friday. Photo by Steve McCrank // Daily Breeze
Giovani dos Santos and Steven Gerrard led the L.A. Galaxy to a dominant 4-1 road victory over Houston on Friday with dos Santos notching a brace and Gerrard adding an assist in his first action since injuring his calf almost a month ago. The win is the first in Houston for the Galaxy since 2010.
With forward and captain Robbie Keane still sidelined due to recent knee surgery, the Galaxy lacked a good finishing touch. L.A. created several chances, but needed an opponent to find the back of the net for them. The Galaxy outshot Portland 13-4 (4-2 in shots on goal).
Galaxy midfielder Nigel de Jong was the center of a yellow card controversy after he injured Portland’s Darlington Nagbe on a tackle. Nagbe left the field in a wheelchair with an apparent lower leg injury. De Jong said he did not meant to harm Nagbe and that he was only going for a “50-50 ball.”
Galaxy injury report:
Robbie Rogers left the game early with a hip contusion. He said it “locked up” after he was hit in the side. After the game, he was unsure of his timetable to return, but didn’t suspect it to be serious.
A.J. DeLaGarza sat out with a left foot injury that has been bothering him lately. He said this week he tweaked it during preseason, was playing through it, then re-aggravated it during practice recently. It is the same foot that he injured last year.
Robbie Keane — knee surgery, out for at least three more weeks. Keane was originally scheduled to return in four to six weeks. Bruce Arena seemed optimistic about the captain’s rehab though, and said this week that Keane was ahead of schedule.
Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder Nigel de Jong, left, crashes into Portland Timbers midfielder Darlington Nagbe during the second half of an MLS soccer game in Carson, Calif., Sunday April 10, 2016. The game ended in a 1-1 draw. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)
Galaxy midfielder Nigel de Jong was issued a yellow card for a tackle that resulted in Portland’s Darlington Nagbe getting wheelchaired off the pitch after the teams played to a 1-1 draw on Sunday at StubHub Center.
Portland head coach Caleb Porter did not have a definitive update on Nagbe’s injury, saying the team was still evaluating it. De Jong spoke to Nagbe after the game to say he did not mean to harm the Portland midfielder.
“I went for the ball and I caught the ball a little bit, and caught most of his ankle,” de Jong said. “It’s just a pity. It was never my intention to hurt him. He’s a good kid as well. I said that after the game as well. It’s a pity, but that’s football as well. When the ball comes in that situation, you always go for it 100 percent, but unfortunately, I caught him.” Continue reading →
Giovani dos Santos (right) is expected to return from a left quad strain while Steven Gerrard (left) will be out with a left calf strain.
Kickoff: 6:30 p.m. at StubHub Center
TV/Radio: Fox Sports 1, Fox Sports Deportes/LAGalaxy.com, ESPN Deportes
The Galaxy host the Portland for the first time since the Timbers got a 5-2 win over L.A. last October in Carson that propelled them to their first MLS Cup in franchise history. On Oct. 18 the Timbers poured five goals in during the second half to hand L.A. just its second home loss of the year. Portland went undefeated in its next seven games (five wins and two draws) and hoisted the MLS Cup at the end of the year.
“We owe them,” forward Alan Gordon said. “We let them in and they took advantage and won a championship off this game.”
While Portland turned its season around for a win, Gordon lamented that the Galaxy’s season went the other way. L.A. lost the next two MLS games including the knockout round loss to Seattle.
But not everyone on the team shares Gordon’s desire for revenge. Head coach Bruce Arena said he hasn’t watched tape of the last game and doesn’t plan to talk about the game with his players.
“The game’s over,” forward Gyasi Zardes said. “All that’s on my mind is we’ve got a game Sunday.”
Forward Giovani dos Santos will likely play for the first time since he suffered a muscle strain in his left quad in the season opener. Midfielder Steven Gerrard is out with a left calf strain, and forward Robbie Keane is still out after knee surgery last week. Midfielder Jeff Larentowicz and goalkeeper Dan Kennedy are working their ways back on the field after both started in Friday’s Galaxy II game.
The L.A. Galaxy played a man up for 62 minutes against Vancouver on Saturday at BC Place, but failed to generate any goals in a 0-0 draw while all three of their designated players stayed in Los Angeles.
Vancouver’s Matias Laba was sent off in the 28th minute after a studs up tackle on Galaxy midfielder Mike Magee. It was the second straight game in which the Galaxy played significant time a man up after a red card sent an opponent off.
L.A., which will be without the services of forward Robbie Keane for four to six weeks after the captain underwent arthroscopic knee surgery earlier this week, outshot Vancouver 15-5, but only got four shots on goal.
“We were very poor on our crossing,” Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena told reporters. “We’ve got to do a better job getting players in front of the goal and in dangerous positions. … We’re looking for the last pass, to walk the ball in the goal, but we need to shoot more from distance, we’ve got to deliver balls in front of the goal a lot earlier and just be better.”
Keane’s injury was the latest in a string for the Galaxy. The team was without all three of its DPs, as midfielder Giovani dos Santos did not travel due to lack of fitness stemming from his muscle strain suffered in the season opener and midfielder Steven Gerrard was sidelined with a left calf strain.
Keane’s absence opened the field for 21-year-old Ariel Lassiter, who made his MLS debut and got the start at forward next to Sebastian Lletget. Lassiter played 67 minutes before getting subbed off for Alan Gordon.
“Ari was great,” Magee said. “He hustled, he ran. I don’t think we played to his strengths, but he did good. The kid’s got an incredibly bright future.”
Midfielder Emmanuel Boateng earned his first MLS start, while Baggio Husidic started in Gerrard’s place in the midfield.
Galaxy forward Robbie Keane, pictured in a match against San Jose in 2015, has scored twice in the first three games of the 2016 season, but only on penalty kicks. (Marcio Jose Sanchez/The Associated Press)
Although the Galaxy outshot San Jose 17-6, including a 7-1 advantage in the first half when the sides where an even 11 vs. 11 on the field, during Saturdays’ 3-1 victory, captain Robbie Keane was not impressed.
“I wouldn’t say it was a great day for us, apart from the win,” Keane told Time Warner Cable after the game.
In a tactical change from previous games, Sebastian Lletget played up top next to Keane with Mike Magee sliding back into the right midfield. The Earthquakes were very compact during the first half before Simon Dawkins got sent off with a red card, limiting the Galaxy’s looks at goal, but there was good passing between Magee, Lletget and Gyasi Zardes.
Yet Robbie Keane, the King himself, has yet to score a goal within the run of play this year. The forward has two goals in the first three games of the season, with both coming on penalty kicks. He has five combined shots in the first three games of 2016 when last year, he averaged three shots a game.
“Create more chances, keep the ball,” Keane said of what the offense needs to do to improve. “That’s two games that I haven’t touched the ball very often … so changing the system or something because when you play the front on your own, naturally you don’t get many touches as a number nine. But what you should be doing is getting some chances in and I haven’t gotten any chances in the last few games so that’s a bit disappointing. So hopefully that will change in the next few weeks.” Continue reading →