Galaxy Versus Chivas

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4/26/08

Quite a match this was. I missed the big one earlier today between those two English teams over in the EPL, but this one proved to be exciting and chock full of goals, three of those coming off the foot of Landon Donovan.

The derby, the rivalry, the home sharing battle proved to live up to and exceed its expectations—must be a bit strange to share practice fields and facilities—anyone pulling off pranks or punking the other team. Slashing tires. Taking parking spots. Beckham was already punked once by Rio Ferdinand during his days with Manchester, any Chivas players have the guts to pull something off on Becks again? I doubt it.

You can see the Galaxy starting to take shape now as a club with a new leader at the helm. Ruud Gullit kept getting up off his bench to yell at his team about getting more compact. How amazing is that that he’s coaching in the MLS? What will his impact be on these young players he’s coaching, Brandon McDonald for one? Brandon was strong in the tackle early on, going through players like an EPL player.

However, they’re still giving away sloppy goals. Xavier didn’t clear the ball in one instance, dramatically looking like he was going to kick the ball away, but the ball slipped under him. He seems prone to making these silly mistakes. But collectively the Galaxy are starting to play as a team, they have the right balance of players winning the ball and then the powerful Beckham and Donovan duo.

Joey Franchino, in just his second game for LA after coming over from New England, locked up the center of the midfield, won the ball and played it simply when he got it. In one moment, he played a ball to Beckham who played it back to him and he in return played it back to Joey who again played it to Beckham—that’s all this game requires. Get it and give it. And then, when there’s an opportunity, the ability to dribble at players. And then you have to whip the ball in when you’re crossing the ball. Yeah, so there’s a lot, but if you can start with the simple give and take, you’re well on your way to becoming a good soccer player.

Gordon was the game changer though, scoring two garbage type goals. One where he went up with the keeper and won the battle for the ball, spinning and hitting the ball with the back of his head. The second goal after a nice one two by Beckham and Landon, he cleaned up Landon’s shot that trailed to the far post.

Landon, his confidence running sky high, even tried to pull off a hand of God type goal. Guzman was rushing out to win the ball, a beautiful long ball by Chris Klein, and Donovan nicked the ball with his hand to avoid Guzman. Seemed a bit too cocky, at least from what I saw he might have actually been able to win the ball, although it could have been a bad collision. The thing is, and I’m always saying this, Donovan plays the MLS like it’s a Sunday soccer league, he has his way with it as he wishes—he’s got to go to Europe. He scored three goals in this game in a trot.

Extra: Beckham was sporting a strange sort of beard, hair not growing in some spots, and then some places where he shaved it and others he didn’t, but I couldn’t tell exactly what was going on. Let’s take a look at the man’s looks over the last years—his got more than Madonna.

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