Photo by ISIPhotos.com
By KAYLA KNAPP
CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy bounced back from their 4-0 loss to the Seattle Sounders in a big way on Sunday night. LA scored four goals of their own against Chivas USA, with Landon Donovan assisting all of them, tying the MLS record for assists in a single game, as the Galaxy downed their Home Depot Center neighbors, 4-0.
Chivas USA goalkeeper Dan Kennedy made some jaw-dropping saves early in the match, but even he couldn't stop a Galaxy attack that was firing on all cylinders, with Donovan setting up all four goals. He set up a Robbie Keane goal before delivering assists on a pair of Juninho goals. Donovan capped his amazing evening with a corner kick assist on an Omar Gonzalez header goal.
That assist moved Donovan into 4th place all-time in MLS, with a total of 105, passing Jaime Moreno. It was also a single-game career high for the Galaxy captain, who has a league-leading 11 assists in 2012.
“In my opinion, he’s the best player that has played in this league,” Donovan said of Moreno. “I’m honored to be mentioned in that company and I’m just doing my job and if I can get more then that’s great.”
Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena was full of praise for Donovan’s performance on Sunday, placing him on the same level as Moreno, both on and off the field.
“Jaime was one of the great players in the history of this league,” Arena said. “And a great person and I’d say the same with Landon. Landon really was focused on playing well tonight, and when he wants, he’s as good as any player in this league.”
Sunday's win also marked the first time the Galaxy's starting back four from last season played together in 2012. The combination of Todd Dunivant, AJ DeLaGarza, Omar Gonzalez and Sean Franklin quickly found their chemistry, looking like the Galaxy defense that carried the reigning MLS Champions last season.
“It felt great to have the old back line and you could just tell that we all played with confidence,” Gonzalez said after the match. “Everyone was just on and it finally felt like last year, where everyone was playing from the goalkeeper up to the forward, everyone was on and it was just a great game for us.”
The blowout loss put a dent in Chivas USA's hopes of closing the gap on the playoff spots in the Western Conference, and the Galaxy's blowout victory raised some questions about the Goats and their chances of fighting their way back into the race.
“That’s embarrassing for the magnitude of this game to have the result fall the way it did is certainly not good enough,” Chivas USA head coach Robin Fraser said post-game.
The Galaxy must know turn their sights to Wednesday’s game against the Columbus Crew. They will have to do so without Donovan, who has been called up to play for the US men’s national team in a friendly against Mexico.
They will, however, have David Beckham back. He was absent from Sunday’s match because of duties overseas at the Olympic closing ceremonies.
Chivas have a week to figure things out, and find a way to get points on Saturday against the Colorado Rapids.