By Brian Kowalski
Carson, Calif. -- The Los Angeles Galaxy earned a much-needed victory Friday night at StubHub Center, as they defeated the Montreal Impact, 2-0, behind goals from Romain Alessandrini and Jermaine Jones.
"We played well and we fought for every ball," said the Galaxy's Jelle Van Damme. "We were winning our 1v1s, our second balls. We were dangerous, we were pressing them and we kept the ball as well. We had a pretty good direction compared to the game last week.”
Last weekend the Galaxy traveled to Vancouver for a match against the Whitecaps. In that game, LA was able to get in front of Vancouver with a 2-1 lead at intermission, but the home team rallied with three goals in the second half to win. The loss left LA near the bottom of the Western Conference with a 1-3 record to start the season.
But with a week of training following the loss, and the return of Gyasi Zardes back into the starting lineup, LA had renewed confidence heading into its home game against Montreal.
In the early minutes, Giovani dos Santos passed wide to Emmanuel Boateng, who passed back to Joao Pedro. Pedro one-timed a shot at goal, but it wasn’t hit hard enough and keeper Evan Bush made the save.
In the 15th minute, Boateng got the ball wide again, and in a similar play to the one just minutes before, passed back to the middle. This time, the pass went to Romain Alessandrini, who hit the same shot as Pedro had, but with more force and accuracy, finding the back of the net to give LA a 1-0 lead.
“Alessandrini is exactly what we thought he would be," said Galaxy coach Curt Onalfo. "He’s a great player. He can beat you on the dribble, he can play-make, he can score, he can create goals. But he’s just going to keep getting better; he’s just quality. And his work ethic on top of it just makes him an exciting player to watch and a great asset for a coach.”
The rest of the first half would feature some physical play, as Hassoun Camara suffered what seemed to be a concussion following a fight for the ball with Gyasi Zardes, causing Kyle Fisher to replace him in the 35th minute.
In the 44th minute, Jermaine Jones and Marco Donadel battled for the ball, and Donadel was given a straight red card for apparently elbowing Jones in the head, leaving the Impact with ten men for the rest of the game.
"The only thing that’s clear, the news today, is that Jermaine Jones, coming here to Los Angeles, is going to be very good to watch," said Impact midfielder Marco Donadel of the controversial play. "Hollywood is here close by. He is training in the morning and in the afternoon he is going to Hollywood to act. I think that in another month he will be ready for any kind of [acting] part. He’s only unlucky because two months before, he could have run for the Oscars, but that’s a good story. Maybe next February.”
Following a halftime ceremony honoring Galaxy legends Landon Donovan, Cobi Jones, Clint Mathis, and Carlos Ruiz, the second half started with both teams fighting for the next goal. Montreal nearly tied it up in the 53rd minute when Matteo Mancosu hit a right-footed shot from the 18-yard box that missed the far post by inches.
In the 72nd minute, LA almost made it a two-goal lead when the ball was crossed into the box and Jelle Van Damme headed the ball at goal, and an immediate Daniel Steres follow-up was saved by Bush.
However, the Galaxy put the game on ice in the 74th minute when Jones got the ball at midfield and sped past the defenders, taking a shot with only Bush to defend. The shot went underneath the Impact’s goalkeeper and made it a commanding 2-0 lead for LA with just fifteen minutes left in the match.
"We were dictating, we were growing as a team and it’s disappointing that a red card like that ruins a good game," said Impact coach Mauro Biello, arguing the legitimacy of the first half red card and its effect on the game. "To me it was a good game and in the end, I just reviewed it right now quickly, and there was no contact. It was more simulation than anything.”
The Galaxy secured the 2-0 win and were positive about getting back to their past winning ways.
“I thought we worked extremely hard, I thought we moved the ball well," said Onalfo. "I thought we were dangerous the entire game and that’s two games in a row where I feel like we were dangerous going forward. Those are positive signs. Nothing comes easy, and we just have to keep improving and keep getting better and keep building on this and the momentum that we just gained from this win.”
The LA Galaxy travel to Orlando for a matchup next weekend.