On June 17, the Los Angeles Galaxy posted a 1-0 win over the Portland Timbers. The win allowed us to climb out of the last place position in the West. In addition, it put a stop to our seven-game winless streak. Here are my thoughts on the match.
A Shutout, Finally
Before the game, we were the only team in the league who hadn't earned a shutout. Picking up the first clean sheet of the season was one of the Galaxy's main objectives for the match. Our defense had their best performance of the season. More importantly, we didn't squander our lead.
In the 61st minute, Todd Dunivant scored his first goal of the season. David Beckham whipped in a corner and Dunivant headed it home. The goal, however, was tinged with controversy. As the ball came into the box, Landon Donovan got in the way of Timbers' keeper Troy Perkins. Whether or not Donovan was trying to "obstruct" the keeper is debatable.
Saunders is Back
In his first game back with the Galaxy, Saunders had a strong performance. He had two saves in the first half that prevented the Timbers from getting on the board. The most notable was his one handed save against Kris Boyd's long range rocket in the 26th minute. In the ninth minute, our keeper also blocked Boyd's close range attempt with his face. Saunders' intensity seemed to be contagious and lifted the defense's level of play. Overall, he had four saves for Los Angeles.
Reserve Players Shine
Without Robbie Keane, Edson Buddle and Mike Magee, Bruce Arena put some of our "reserve" players into the lineup. Marcelo Sarvas had his finest performance of the season. The Brazilian, who has only played the full 90 in two other games this season, got his fifth start in the midfield. Sarvas had two shots including a close-range header that Perkins blocked. David Junior Lopes, who had made some costly defensive errors in prior games, was solid in the back. Bryan Jordan played for 80 minutes. Finally, Jack McBean and Kyle Nakazawa also made it into the last part of the game. In 2011, the depth of our roster allowed us to be victorious even when our players were injured or suspended. This time, everyone seemed to be in it to win it.
Moving On Up
It's so great that we are out of the cellar. With the win, we have 14 points and are in 7th place in the Western Conference. Both the Timbers and FC Dallas have 13 points. With 15 points, Chivas USA is only one notch ahead of us. However, the standings can quickly change. In the next week, we will face Real Salt Lake and the Vancouver Whitecaps. Both of these teams will be tough competitors. If we want to make it to the playoffs, we are going to have to beat the top ranked teams too.
Way to go Galaxy!
Melissa Matters is a long time Los Angeles resident and devoted Los Angeles Galaxy fan.
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