LA Galaxy Report: Team earns second place in Western Conference standings

May 5, 2013

Carson, Calif. -- In late April, the Galaxy earned victories on the road and at home to secure a second place spot in the Western Conference with only 8 games played.

First, the Galaxy hosted Sporting KC at the Home Depot Center, where LA had an impressive 2-0 home victory. It was Landon Donovan's first starting appearance before the home crowd since the MLS Cup, and the Galaxy fed off that energy as they began the game with numerous attacks on offense.

In the 11th minute, Mike Magee volleyed a hard driven shot from just inside the 18 yard box, but KC goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen made the save.  Magee's effort was followed by chances from Jack McBean and Sean Franklin in the later minutes. Still, Sporting KC was up for the game too, and in the 20th minute, Graham Zusi hit the crossbar on a great free-kick attempt.

Following Robbie Keane's near score from a Donovan pass in the 25th minute, Donovan got loose on a breakaway and made a pass across goal to Marcelo Sarvas in the 27th minute.  Sarvas tapped the ball into goal and gave the Galaxy a 1-0 lead that they would not relinquish.

In the second half, the game became more physical and a yellow card was finally given in the 64th minute.  However, the Galaxy would extend the lead to 2-0 in the 74th minute when Keane completely faked out the KC defense and had a sprinting breakaway. As Nielsen and the KC defender finally got close to Keane, Keane unselfishly left a pass off for the trailing Donovan who easily slotted home the shot for the 2-0 win.

Next the Galaxy traveled to Real Salt Lake for an early season clash with a Western Conference rival.  The Galaxy again got an outstanding effort from their defense, with Brian Rowe earning a shutout in his pro debut.  LA won 2-0 once more with scores from Mike Magee and rookie Charlie Rugg, who scored his first MLS goal.

After two exciting, quality victories, the Galaxy returned home Sunday for an MLS Cup rematch with Houston.  Unfortunately, LA could not replicate their success from previous games or from last season's MLS Cup, as the Dynamo came in hungry. 

In the 8th minute, Magee almost scored the game's first goal, but his long-range effort was just wide of the top corner.  In the 15th minute, Houston nearly scored as well, as Bobby Boswell's header from the corner-kick did not miss by much.

In the 24th minute, it seemed as if the Galaxy were going to take the first lead of the game when Jose Villareal earned LA a penalty kick after being fouled while dribbling in the box.  Donovan took the penalty, but keeper Tally Hall chose wisely and was able to easily block Donovan's shot.

In the 56th minute, Houston took the lead when Andrew Driver fired a shot from 20 yards out with his left foot, beating Carlo Cudicini to the near post for a 1-0 lead.

The Galaxy had plenty of offensive attacks in the second half, but could not find the back of the net on this night, as Houston earned the 1-0 road victory.

LA will now hit the road as they play Vancouver, Philadelphia, and New York in 3 consecutive away games in May in an attempt to maintain their second place position in the West.

By Brian Kowalski
Staff Reporter for The Daily Sports Herald

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