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Jun 182012

What takes 1,260 minutes? Well, how about the LA Galaxy’s first shutout in 2012 for starters.

Josh+Saunders+Portland+Timbers+v+Los+Angeles+CERn9MS3Migl Saunders Return Spurs Galaxy to First Shutout
In his return to the LA Galaxy, GK Josh Saunders denies Portland’s Kris Boyd.  (Victor Decolongon/Getty Images North America)

First-choice goalkeeper Josh Saunders returned to the Galaxy starting XI and defender Todd Dunivant scored against the Portland Timbers to give LA their first shutout of the season and snap a 7-game winless streak. The shutout comes in LA’s 14th game of the season.

The match initally started with both teams close to finding the net. Sean Franklin picked out Galaxy midfielder Marcelo Sarvas with a cross in the game’s first five minutes, but the Brazilian’s header was saved pointblank by Timber goalkeeper Troy Perkins. Moments later, Portland thought they also had a sure goal, after Saunders denied forward Kris Boyd with a save off his face from inside the Galaxy area. 

While the Galaxy had the other best chance of the half via captain Landon Donovan’s thunderous strike hitting the right post from 20 yards out, it was the great play of Saunders in his return that buoyed LA throughout much of the match. 

Speaking of Saunders after the match, head Coach Bruce Arena had this to say, “He was really happy to get back. Having an experienced goalkeeper in the goal, definitely helps. [He made] a couple saves in the first half that were big. Just having his experience helps the entire group.”

Returning from the half scoreless, the Galaxy would find their way by the Timbers through the unlikely finish of Dunivant in the match’s 61st minute.

Holding his ground through a sea of bodies in the Timbers’ box, Dunivant was picked out by a David Beckham corner, which the defender lowered his head to place just inside the far post of Perkins’ net. The goal would stand as the lone striker for both teams and was Dunivant’s first since May 8, 2010.

“David [Beckham] obviously serves an incredible set piece and he put the ball in the back post. We kind of talked about it at half time that we had a few in the front post and I said to try the back post and found a little space back there and I was able to net it home,” said Dunivant of his goal.

The win allowed LA to climb out of the Western Conference basement, raising two spots past FC Dallas and the Timbers. 

The first of 3 matches this week, Beckham has this to say after the win Sunday, “We just have to build on it, it’s as simple as that. Last season we played a lot of games like this where we won 1-0 and we kept the other team shutout. We need more performances like this and we’re capable of it. Hopefully this will be our springboard.”

The Galaxy travel to take on Salt Lake City to take on league leaders Real Salt Lake on Wednesday before returning home to face the Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday. 

Posted by: Vincent La Rosa, GFT/LA Galaxy writer

Jun 152012
itsnotornever dl Now or Never... Part Two: Galaxy Face Tough Task of Turning Season Around(Again)

The mini-vacation afforded to MLS sides as a result of the international break is coming to a close this weekend, and the LA Galaxy will play their first match since May 26 when they square off against the Portland Timbers at home on Sunday. As the Galaxy players come together for training leading up to a match once again and continue to spout the same tired mantra we’ve heard a large part of the season – “got to start getting wins and not drop anymore points” – another sporting cliche comes to mind leading up to Sunday: It’s now or never.

Mired in a stretch of seven games without a win, including losing five of those seven, LA and coach Bruce Arena have had three weeks to assess their recent shortcomings and make good on their promise to “get wins.” And while you’d hope the time off might be just what the doctor ordered for a team suffering from one of the worst cases of championship hangover ever seen, the last time the Galaxy had an extended break between games and the opportunity to atone for past disappointments, they played one of their poorest matches at home losing 3-1 to the New England Revolution.

So what’s it going to be for the Galaxy in the sequel to “now or never”: déjà vu or redemption?

Coming to the Home Depot Center oddly enough is the team LA recorded their last home win against. When the Portland Timbers visited LA on April 14, the Galaxy were still reeling from the home loss to the Revolution followed by a disappointing showing away to then league-leading Sporting KC. In response, the team played one of their better matches of the season downing the Timbers by a scoreline of 3-1. Sadly, it has now been over two months since that last time the Galaxy earned all three points at home.

Another bright note for the Galaxy will be the return of their captain, Landon Donovan, after taking part in three friendlies and two World Cup qualifiers with the U.S. national team. Donovan silenced many of his doubters in his first match back with the national team but proved less effective as his recent stint of international duty carried on. Having played big minutes in the five matches with Jürgen Klinsmann’s side, Arena will have to weigh the benefits of fielding a tired Donovan in his return to Galaxy action. But with the situation his team finds themselves in, including added pressure being heaped upon Arena himself, it would be surprising for Donovan to not take part in Sunday’s match from the start.

11154661 large Now or Never... Part Two: Galaxy Face Tough Task of Turning Season Around(Again)
Danny Mwanga #10 in training with his new team (Motoya Nakamura/ The Oregonian)

On the Timbers’ side, Portland comes into the match having made a big trade during the break to boost what has been a disappointing attack to start the season. With only 12 goals in as many matches, a swap was made for promising Philadelphia forward, and former Oregon St. player, Danny Mwanga. Having a disappointing season to date, the Timbers are hopeful a return to Pacific Northwest will rejuvenate the former Beavers striker, and he could start against a Galaxy backline still seeking their first shutout of the season.

After 13 games last season, the Galaxy were in the beginning stages of a 14-game unbeaten run. The team that put an end to that streak was the Timbers with a 3-0 victory in Portland. With LA now in the midst of a very different streak, can the Galaxy reverse another extended run of results against the Timbers?

Whatever happens, team’s rarely get a second shot to restart the season like the Galaxy do this Sunday. If LA can’t get the needed result, don’t expect a “now or never” part three to come around this season.

Posted by: Vincent La Rosa, GFT/LA Galaxy writer

Jun 052012
landon donovan 1 If Donovan Isnt Motivated Now, When Will He Be?
Does Donovan still have a thirst to quench in LA?

I actually really like Landon Donovan… as a player. In person? Well, he isn’t the most cheerful to be around, even when the Galaxy are winning.

Sarcastic, short, and almost surgical are Donovan’s responses to most post-game questions. You don’t sense he takes much joy in the time he has to spend with us. But in the short time I have had a chance to cover Donovan and speak with him after games and practices, regardless of how trite his answers to questions have been, he has always come off as being very honest.

So, when Donovan tells a group of reporters before the recent U.S. men’s national team friendlies that he’d lost some of the passion and hunger he once had for the game, I believe him.

But with the news coming down today that the Galaxy forward Edson Buddle is to be sidelined 3-6 weeks due to knee surgery, it might be time Donovan regains some of that hunger, and fast.

Mired in a seven-game winless streak, the LA Galaxy are at the bottom of MLS’ Western Conference with 11 points and a minus-6 goal difference. And now with Buddle out, and Robbie Keane away at Euro2012, injury has been added to insult. The Galaxy aren’t just hemorrhaging goals and late game leads anymore, they’re losing players, too. 

While he is likely to play big minutes in the national team’s opening two qualifiers Friday(6/9) and next Tuesday(6/12), Donovan would presumably be available to play for the Galaxy when it returns to action on June 17.  Whether he will play though – Donovan has had niggling problems much of the season and with all the recent injuries, Galaxy Head Coach Bruce Arena may not risk his captain – is probably up for debate. But in light of LA’s poor form, does Donovan need anymore motivation than his side’s record to hurry back to the aid of his team?

In his return to the national team, and after his comments regarding his loss of motivation, many were questioning Donovan’s hunger for the sport. Those doubters were silenced after a MOTM performance and hat trick in his return against Scotland left Donovan just one goal short of 50 for his career with the national team. It’s that kind of fire the Galaxy could seriously use to break from their current winless slide.

Donovan has always been a loyal captain to the Galaxy, and regardless of what is said off the field, his effort on it has never been questioned. But with only two goals and two assist in 10 played this season, some might surmise much of the motivation Donovan lost was actually in playing for the team he led to the MLS Cup just last season. Not necessarily something you want from your captain and team’s best player.

So, now is Donovan’s time to flip the switch, dig deeper, or do whatever it takes to find whatever has been lacking for him and the Galaxy these past three months. If he can’t be motivated by the embarrassment of the team’s league standing, maybe Donovan’s time with LA has run its course and its time for the two sides to move on.

With the summer transfer window around the corner and each dropped point pushing the Galaxy closer and closer to the edge of the abyss, it might be now or never for Donovan and LA.

Posted by: Vincent La Rosa, GFT/LA Galaxy writer

May 252012

Last season’s top 2 meet in very different circumstances.

 MLS Cup 2011 Rematch Sees Former Finalists Closer to the Bottom
(Photo by Paul Duron, Houston Dynamo home at night)

They were the two best teams in MLS last season. This year, their points total combined wouldn’t put them tops of either conference.

The LA Galaxy and Houston Dynamo are far removed from their championship match-up of last season. With LA winless in their last six and Houston only two points better, likely the best thing on display in Saturday’s match will be Houston’s new downtown and soccer-specific BBVA Compass Stadium. Probably not what NBC Sports hoped for when they tapped the match to be part of their schedule last year.

The Galaxy are coming of Wednesday’s heartbreaking loss in which they were ahead after three minutes, down to 10 men but up two goals with 17 minutes to play and still managed to drop all three points at home to the San Jose Earthquakes. They’ll be hoping they can play more like they did in their last match’s first hour, where they looked dynamic on the counter, controlled possession and limited the opposing team’s chances to near zero, than they did in giving up three goals in a 20-minute span. 

But once again, LA will be without two of its biggest talents, as captain Landon Donovan and Robbie Keane remain on international duty. Midfielder Hector Jimenez was a welcome surprise in the SJ match, taking on defenders and injecting some pace into the Galaxy attack in his debut Wednesday, but after his 59th minute red card for a two-footed lunge, he’ll be suspended for the Houston match. Galaxy Head Coach Bruce Arena will once again look to his bench for a spark with Marcelo Sarvas or Kyle Nakazawa both possibilities to take Jimenez’s place.

Houston has played twice in their new digs and with a win and a draw are undefeated. But the team hasn’t looked convincing in either match, and a Galaxy win against their former final’s opponent, along with regrouping after their collapse Wednesday, could be the kick start to the season the team and its supporters have long been praying for.

Kick-off is 11:30 am PST and will be featured on the NBS Sports Network.


May 242012

Hector Jimenez the hero and villain in his first start for LA

1337843206 Alan%20Gordon Galaxy Squander All 3 Points in Dramatic Fashion
Alan Gordon celebrates his last minute winner. (

Photo credit:
Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images)

In their full-team debuts, most MLS youngsters hope to have as much influence on the match’s scoreline as possible. Hector Jimenez probably would have liked to had a little less influence in his team’s stunning 3-2 loss to the San Jose Earthquakes in midweek.

It started out so well for the LA Galaxy midfielder, making his first start for the team that drafted him in the second round in 2010. Just three minutes in, the winger, filling the void on the Galaxy’s right side of midfield left by captain Landon Donovan while away on national team duty, cut inside the SJ box and was found by an incisive square pass from forward Chad Barrett. Taking the shot first time with the instep of his right foot, Jimenez put the Galaxy up 1-0 and netted his first career MLS goal less than five minutes into his first start. 

From there, much of the first half played out well for Jimenez and his Galaxy teammates, as the midfielder provided a bit of confidence and an injection of pace, while the rest of the team remained dangerous on the counterattack. Galaxy midfielder Juninho almost made it 2-0 when his lightning bolt from 35 yards out nearly caught goalkeeper Jon Busch off his line. 

The first half would end with LA’s narrow advantage, but with SJ never really troubling the LA goal, the 2011 champs looked to be fully in control. And the second half would start very much the same, until the match’s 59th minute.

Once again, Jimenez was at the center of attention. 

Collecting a short clearance off a David Beckham corner, Jimenez’s touch let him down as he tried to beat his marker. With SJ’s Steve Beitashour rushing onto the loose ball, Jimenez made a rash two-footed lunge, getting the ball but clearing out Beitashour in the process. Match referee Jair Marrufo went immediately to his pocket and produced a red card for the two-footed, studs-up challenge. LA were down to 10 men for the match’s remaining half an hour.

“I put my team into a tough position there at the end with red card,” said a repentant Jimenez outside the locker room after the game.

But down a man, LA showed a bit of resilience and resolve, and even managed to extend their lead in the match’s 73rd minute. Off a counterattack, Beckham found midfielder Mike Magee in space about 35 yards from the SJ goal. Still with a lot to do, Magee rounded his defender and then rounded Busch, finishing his shot into the roof of the net left-footed and from a tight angle. 

Up 2-0 and playing with the confidence and energy that seemed to elude them much of the season, LA looked a sure bet to secure the match’s three points even with 10 men. Then the other shoe dropped.

With the Galaxy supporters barely back in their seats after the Magee goal, the Quakes struck through a Steve Lenhart diving header off a corner to cut LA’s lead in half. And just five minutes later, a contentious handling of the ball by  Beckham in the Galaxy penalty area saw Marrufo award SJ a penalty, which substitute Shari Stephenson coolly finished under goalkeeper Brian Perk in the 82nd minute.

Having seemingly dropped two of the match’s three points, and all but certain to walk away with a disappointing draw after being up 2-0, former Galaxy striker Alan Gordon sent matters from bad to worse for LA when his looping header found the back of the net in the match’s 94th minute. Pouncing on a lofted ball into the Galaxy area, Gordon caught the Galaxy defense napping to score his third goal against the Galaxy with his third different team since being traded by LA in 2010.

After the match, Galaxy Head Coach Bruce Arena had this to say of his team’s disappointing loss.

“We’re up 2-0 with I don’t know how many minutes left to play. Really poor tactical approach on our behalf, you shouldn’t get beat on a restart for a goal. It brings them back in the game… and then defending, playing out the game with 10 players, we can’t lose the ball in our defensive half, we have to play the ball up the field. We have to pool in collectively as a group and defend with our 10 players and play the game out, take our three points and go home,” said Arena. 

“Some young mistakes,” said Area of the loss. “But even our captain tonight, David [Beckham], [with the] handball, which I think is an appropriate call and turning the ball over at the end of the half resulted in another cross.”

The Galaxy are now winless in their last six matches, and face a quick turnaround as they travel to Houston to take on their 2011 MLS Cup opponent, Houston Dynamo. The team will again be without Donovan, as well as Robbie Keane, who also missed the match due an international call-up.

May 222012

No Donovan, Keane or Wondolowski in Wednesday’s match at the HDC
Did you push the panic button after the LA Galaxy’s 1-0 defeat to the Home Depot Center mates Chivas USA Saturday? Or was it a day later when Portland’s 2-1 victory over Chicago dropped the Galaxy to dead last in the Western Conference? Well, either way it might not be getting much better.

Wednesday night the Galaxy are in action once again against a side from California. This time it’s a NorCal vs. SoCal rivalry as the San Jose Earthquakes come to town. And while the second place Quakes will be without their top goalscorer in forward Chris Wondolowski (11 G in 12 GP), LA will have their own absences with captain Landon Donovan and forward Robbie Keane also away on national team duty.

For Galaxy fans, the loss to city rivals, Chivas USA, is just another in a line of disappointments so far this season, made even worse by the fact comes on the heels of the team’s return to MLS Cup glory just six months ago. And oddly enough, many fans having been comparing this Galaxy season to LA’s dismal ’08 campaign when they finished joint bottom of the league with none other than San Jose.

Yet, while no one would have predicted the Galaxy would be sitting in last place at this point in the season, believers in LA’s ability to turn it around and slip in to the MLS playoffs are still abound.

But they’d better hurry.

Landon+Donovan+LA+Galaxy+Press+Conference+F3dTZ4CbL8jl Galaxy and Quakes Face Off Midweek Sans Key Stars
How will LA cope without 2/3 of their Big 3? (December 5, 2011 - Source:  

The Galaxy are going to lose Donovan and Keane for an extended period, as they join their respective national teams. And with it widely believed fellow designated player David Beckham will be spending time away from the team as well when he joins Team Great Britain for the London Olympics, LA find themselves in a very precarious situation and on the bottom of the table looking up. Now, after so much was made of the LA’s Big 3, it will be up to the team’s non-designated players to pull the team out of the hole they’ve dug through the first 11 matches of this season.

For the match Wednesday, expect changes to a Galaxy backline that has been frequently rotated and underwhelming all season. Lopes Junior will serve his suspension for the red card against Chivas Wednesday, but with Leonardo recently activated from a long-term injury layoff and available but not used last match, we could see the Brazilian inserted back into Bruce Arena’s starting XI. And while Beckham started on the bench last match, with Donovan and Keane both gone, LA will need the Englishman’s presence going forward as the team hasn’t scored more than two goals or netted three points in five straight.

Kick-off is 7:30 pm at the HDC on Wednesday.


O, Henry

 Posted by on May 4, 2012 at 11:56 pm  Los Angeles Galaxy, MLS
May 042012

LA return home for “marquee” match-up with Red Bulls sans their French star

In their one and only match this season, the NY Red Bulls and LA Galaxy will clash Saturday night at the Home Depot Center.

With a loss in Seattle, albeit with a mostly reserve side, coming off the heels of a disappointing draw at home against Dallas, many are eager to see if LA really is on the right path or if their previous two wins on the bounce were just a slight rise before a further fall.

The Red Bulls on the other hand…. well, the Red Bulls are the Red Bulls. Up and down all season, coupling stellar performances with a disappointing loss never too far away. However, one constant for NY this season had been the stellar play of their French striker Thierry Henry.

With nine goals in just eight matches, Henry has turned back the clocks to when the former Arsenal star ruled over Highbury and the EPL. But as well as Henry was playing, you just knew the Red Bulls would have to come back to earth sooner or later. Remember, these are the Red Bulls.

Henry pulled up lame last Saturday in a match at home with the New England Revolution, but not before the Frenchman netted the match’s only goal in the 27th minute. Sadly, although he bagged all three points for his team on that day, he also picked a 3 – 4 week layoff for himself due to a hamstring strain.

Catching a break with Henry out, LA should welcome David Beckham and Robbie Keane back to their starting XI and will be out for a result Saturday. The Red Bulls will have to rely on a rejuvenated Kenny Cooper in attack, but without Henry up top, it will be interesting to see how Cooper reacts to more defensive attention.

Kick-off is 5pm PST from Carson and will  be featured on ESPN.

Apr 292012

LA are wasteful in draw with FC Dallas

Substitute Pat Noonan’s goal in the second minute of stoppage time salvaged a point for the LA Galaxy after Brek Shea’s 61st minute penalty gave FC Dallas the lead. Galaxy forward Robbie Keane missed a penalty of his own in the draw.

noonan+goal Point Earned Feels More Like Two Points Lost
Pat Noonan celebrates with Sean Franklin after his goal against FC Dallas. Courtesy of Yahoo Sports

Following a first half in which he’d failed to convert two gilt-edged opportunities, Galaxy captain Landon Donovan burst into the FC Dallas penalty area just minutes into the second half of Saturday’s 1-1 match at the Home Depot Center. The midfielder’s penetrating run was brought to a halt from behind by FCD fullback Jair Benitez, resulting in a penalty for the home side in the match’s 48th minute. 

Having attempted every penalty for the Galaxy since 2007, it was expected Donovan would step up to the spot to finish what he started. Instead, Keane stepped forward, ball in hand and ready to take what would have been the game’s opening goal.

“There was no conversation, I just told Robbie I wanted him to take it. He did everything right, expect he just miss hit it a little bit,” said Donovan after the match, admitting he was trying to get the Irishman’s scoring touch going as the team has created little for their forwards in the past few matches.

Keane’s penalty was steered wide of the goal’s left upright, as FCD back-up goalkeeper Chris Seitz dove to his right. The miss kept the game’s score knotted at 0-0, however the Galaxy would give up a penalty of their own in the 60th minute.

Having a shaky match for much of the first hour, LA’s centerback David Junior Lopes made the mistake of chesting down an FCD cross in his own area with Dallas forward Blas Perez lurking behind him. The Brazilian’s untimely back pass caught Galaxy goalkeeper Bill Gaudette, filling in for starter Josh Saunders while he attended to a personal matter, glued to his line. The back-up keeper’s reckless dive felled Perez in the area and referee Ricardo Salazar pointed directly to the spot.

Unlike Keane, Shea made no mistake with his penalty, finishing to Gaudette’s right in the 61st minute. 

Down in the match’s late stages, Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena rolled the dice adding Noonan at the expense of Lopes and going with a back three for the final 10 minutes. In addition to Noonan, Arena’s two subs of forwards Adam Cristman and Chad Barrett also played a part in the tying goal.

Cristman initiated a scramble in the Dallas box before tipping a pass to Barrett. With his back to goal, the Galaxy forward picked out an unmarked Noonan near the Dallas penalty spot. The veteran coolly deposited his right-footed strike into the goal’s side netting, giving the Indiana University product his first goal as a Galaxy player.

“I was looking at him but he wasn’t looking at me, but he heard me,” said Noonan of Barrett’s late-game assist. “He laid it off perfectly.”

The draw ends the Galaxy’s two-game winning streak, and the team will now have a quick turnaround as they head to Seattle on Wednesday. Midfielder David Beckham felt securing the late point was important despite the countless chances LA missed in the match.

“Losing the game was a real possibility with scoring in injury time,” said Beckham. “It salvages the run that were are on, but we will still think that we’ve lost points.

Keane has LA Back on Track

 Posted by on April 25, 2012 at 5:30 am  Los Angeles Galaxy, MLS
Apr 252012

LA vice-captain has helped Galaxy right their course.

AP120318064306+(1) Keane has LA Back on Track
Los Angeles Galaxy forward Robbie Keane celebrates after scoring against D.C. United during the second half of an MLS soccer match, Sunday, March 18, 2012, in Carson, Calif. (AP Photo/Jonathan Moore)

Four games into the 2012 season, the LA Galaxy resembled a sinking ship more than the supposed “Super Team” many predicted. But after defeating Colorado 2-1 for their first road points and back-to-back wins of the season, for the moment at least, it appears the 2011 MLS Cup champions have found their bearings and are headed towards the better half of the league table.

While much of the credit for LA’s turnaround is being placed squarely on the team’s recent return to form defensively – LA had averaged two goals again in their 1-3 start – the real catalyst for the Galaxy’s return to winning ways has to be the unsung leadership and play of their Irish forward and vice-captain Robbie Keane.

Joining the Galaxy in August of 2011 as the team’s third designated player, Keane was saddled with the burden of providing LA with the consistent forward play the team had missed leading up to the stretch run of the season. And while the former Spurs’ man did not disappoint, scoring twice in four appearances to end the season and setting up the winning goal in the MLS Cup final, he could be found throughout many matches with head shaking and hands on hips as his teammates adapted to the forward’s skills and demands for proper service.

As the cliche goes, “winning heals all wounds,” and while Keane’s frustrations on the field were obvious, the raising of the MLS Cup glossed over the concerns regarding the striker’s on-field attitude as the MLS off-season commenced.

Then, the Premier League came calling.

With English side Aston Villa experiencing a similar lack of goals, the Villans turned to the Galaxy striker for a two month loan stint. Back in the UK, the Irishman thrived, scoring three goals in seven appearances, and looking cozy again in arguably Europe’s top competition. Subsequently, rumors began that Keane would extend his stay in England, and even after his return from loan, many of Keane’s comments seemed to signal the striker’s intention to leave if he did not feel wanted in LA. Fans and pundits alike feared for the worst from a player that is no stranger to uprooting himself, having played for no less than 10 teams in his professional career.

But with three goals this season, Keane has been the Galaxy’s best player so far in an up-and-down season. While he was wasteful in LA’s season opening loss with Real Salt Lake, Keane followed up with a match-winning brace versus DC United, in a game that in hindsight would prove to be more the eye of the Galaxy’s early season storm than a turning point. He then scored in the team’s next match with the New England Revolution, and while the goal was little more than consolation in the team’s dismal 3-1 loss, Keane’s effort while wearing the captain’s armband in Donovan’s absence during the low point of the season of  LA’s went a long way to quash any doubts he wanted to be with the team.

Recently, Keane has been goalless in the Galaxy’s two-game turnaround, but has been no less influential. Assisting on goals by Donovan against Portland and Colorado, Keane’s link-up play with the Galaxy captain has been sublime. And though he has yet to form a fruitful partnership with fellow striking partner Edson Buddle, the two have been showing signs of a growing understanding in recent weeks.

While the recent acquisition of David Junior Lopes in the center of defense and Donovan’s goals have reflected more on the score sheet by way of an improved goal differential for LA in recent matches, Keane’s contributions in both the good and bad times of the season can’t be underestimated.

You’ll still see the striker hands raised, strolling back to midfield after the occasional errant pass by teammates from time to time in matches but for the time being at least, it’s clear the Irishman knows where he’s wanted and is committed to the Galaxy through thick and thin.

Posted by: Vincent La Rosa, GFT/LA Galaxy writer

Saunders Saves Galaxy

 Posted by on April 23, 2012 at 3:47 pm  Los Angeles Galaxy, MLS
Apr 232012

The goalkeeper’s late penalty save steals three points in Colorado

The LA Galaxy defeated the Rapids in Colorado Saturday night thanks to goalkeeper Josh Saunders’ stoppage time heroics.

The Galaxy jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first half off via a Marvell Wynne own goal from a well worked David Beckham set piece and a 39th minute strike by Landon Donovan off the Galaxy counterattack. Despite being out possessed and out passed the entire match, LA held on to their two goal advantage clear until the middle of the match’s second half.

Colorado finally managed to pry open the Galaxy defense when forward Omar Cummings went on brilliant solo run in the 63rd minute. Holding off LA centerback David Junior Lopes, Cummings capped his 40-yard run with a bullet strike into the upper corner of the Galaxy goal.

For all their possession and pressure, it looked as though the Rapids would fall just short of their comeback until the first minute of stoppage time. Colorado substitute Andre Akpan tussled with Lopes in the Galaxy box, with the Rapids player going down. Much to the surprise of even Akpan, match referee Ramon Hernandez awarded a penalty to the home side with just minutes to spare in stoppage time.

It appeared the Rapids would indeed steal a point from the match with Cummings stepping up in pursuit of his second of the match. However, LA’s Saunders was in a stealing mood of his own, guessing correctly to rob Cummings of his brace and sealing LA’s 2-1 victory.

A vital three points for LA, the team has pulled themselves clear from the bottom of the Western Conference and could be near the top half of the table come the end of April with a game in hand on many team’s in the conference. The Galaxy now head back home for a match-up with FC Dallas, a team just one point ahead of the Galaxy in the table with 10 points from seven matches. LA sit sixth in the table with nine points from six.