Since being embarrassed 4-0 with all three designated players on the field and in front of a crowd of 60,000 people in Seattle, the Galaxy have been on fire. And while those three designated players have done their fair share in LA’s recently run of five wins and one draw in their last six games in all competitions, the true protagonist of the Galaxy’s sizzling form has been the play of the midfield maestro that is Juninho. On Saturday night, the Vancouver Whitecaps could do little to cool down the Brazilian or LA.
Juninho – 41′ (assisted by Robbie Keane, Héctor Jiménez)
David Beckham – 79′
Both goals were absolute stunners. Juninho capped off a move that started from the Galaxy backline and included no less than nine pass before the Galaxy midfielder unleashed a corker into the top right corner of the Whitecaps goal from 20 yards out. Having netted six times in his last five matches, Juninho’s play has been heralded by Galaxy Head Coach Bruce Arena and attributed to midfielder’s higher level of fitness over the past month. With his box-to-box play, timely tackles and above-average distribution, the addition of goals to his game has made Juninho a top candidate for the league’s top midfielder of the past month.
The second goal was Beckham being Beckham. A trademark free kick in which the opposing goalkeeper is rooted to his line and has little chance of seeing the ball before it is in the back of his net, let alone saving the thing. Like Juninho, Beckham has tallied a career-high in goals this season with his free kick bringing his total to seven. When the phrase “he’s still got it” comes to mind, Beckham’s free kicks should be associated closely with it.
Since reuniting his “championship” backline of Sean Franklin, Omar Gonzalez, AJ De La Garza and Todd Dunivant for the first time in 2012 on Aug. 12, Arena’s men have recorded four clean sheets in all competitions. To put that into perspective, the team had four clean sheets in five months of play prior.
Feeling Like the Playoffs:
After starting the season poorly on all fronts, LA have slowly climbed up out of the Western Conference’s basement and into a playoff spot. With 43 points from 28 matches, the Galaxy are 4th in the table and only two points behind 2nd placed RSL. The win over Vancouver Saturday put six points between LA and the Caps in the West’s final playoff spot, as well as 10 points clear of the nearest outsider looking in, FC Dallas.