Galaxy Bounce Back With Win Over Toronto FC

After giving up a record number of goals to FC Dallas, Los Angeles got back on track with a win over TFC.

Eager to atone for giving up the most goals in franchise history in their last match, the Galaxy looked active against Toronto FC in the early going of the game, and rode that good start to a 2-0 result.

Some key changes for the Galaxy included the return of Sean Franklin at right back. The defender returned ahead of schedule partly because AJ De La Garza was still suffering from a knee sprain. Edson Buddle, also back from a recent injury, made his first start in a long stretch, partnering Landon Donovan in the attack. 

For Toronto FC, however, the changes were less numerous, yet in a different way, more drastic, as the Canadian squad debuted their first designated player – Julian DeGuzman. 

In the 6th minute Donovan slipped past the Toronto defense, receiving a ball fed in from David Beckham and fired a shot on goal that rookie goalkeeper Stefan Frei dived to parry wide.

The Galaxy would not be denied, however, notching the opening goal only three minutes later. Beckham interchanged the ball on an attack with Birchall’s return pass catching the Toronto defenders a bit off-guard. Beckham’s first touch split the central duo perfectly, and his second quick touch set up a low shot that slid past Frei. 

After the goal, however, the Galaxy had trouble holding the ball in the center of the field. Toronto’s skilled midfielders, DeWayne DeRosario and Amado Guevara combined well to help control possession for long runs. DeGuzman was also looking lively, adding a surprise element to the TFC attack.

DeGuzman may in fact have been too eager to influence the match. In the 24th minute, Eddie Lewis was running for the ball on a Galaxy counter. He was floored by a sliding tackle from DeGuzman, who was given an immediate yellow. Lewis came up limping on the play and seemed hobbled throughout the half, yet inexplicably, Galaxy coach Bruce Arena did not substitute the winger. 

Despite threats from Toronto, the Galaxy had chances to add to their lead. On one freekick from Beckham, Donovan dummied the ball toward goal. Frei still made the save, but the ball bounced out to Donovan, who put it back in play in the box with an acrobatic bicycle kick.  Omar Gonzalez was able to get a head on the ball, but his attempt went wide. 

The Galaxy’s slim lead was miraculously maintained by goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts in the 32nd minute.  Gerba broke in to the box and forced a remarkable kick save from Ricketts. 

Late in the half, Beckham missed a chance for the brace, as the post rescued Toronto, rebounding back Beckham’s low shot.

Toronto had an early chance for the equalizer, only a couple of minutes after the second half began. TFC’s Chad Barrett picked off a pass intended for Franklin, then fed Ali Gerba into a seam between the Galaxy defense. Gerba’s shot rang off the crossbar. The near-miss kept the Galaxy ahead. 

As the teams traded chances, the tension in the match rose and emotions boiled over in the 65th minute. Guevara turned Beckham on a challenge in midfield and the Galaxy player took offense, chest-bumping Guevara to the ground. Both players were booked with yellows, and exchanged hard words even was the referee was writing thier names down. 

Two minutes later, Nick Garcia was booked for grabbing Buddle for a good five yards to slow down the forward. 

Another goal was waiting to be had in the game and both teams were hungry for it. 

Beckham, who was at the center of a lot of opportunities for LA, missed a good one in the 79th minute. He didn’t put enough on his attempt to really challenge Frei. 

Only a minute later, Beckham had another clear chance, but this time, he put his shot wide. 

Yet the midfielder kept atoning for those lost options by hustling hard to create more. 

Beckham’s challenge on a TFC defender created a turnover in the 83rd minute. He passed perfectly to Donovan in the box, who one-timed a quick pass to Buddle, who was lurking back post. The switch left Frei out of position, and Buddle finished perfectly into the net. 

With the insurance goal in hand, the Galaxy played the final minutes of the half with confidence and calm, burying the ghosts of the Dallas nightmare and moving into second place in the Western Conference. 

The 18,619 fans present gave Beckham a standing ovation when he was substituted at the close of the match, a clear as indication as any that they have returned the midfielder to their good graces despite his extended loan to AC Milan.


~ by footballdirecta on September 21, 2009.

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