CARSON, CA - MARCH 18: David Beckham #23 of the Los Angeles Galaxy applauds the fans after the Galaxy defeated D.C. United 3-1 in their MLS match at The Home Depot Center on March 18, 2012 in Carson, California. (Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images)
CARSON, Calif -- The LA Galaxy (1-1-0, 3 pts) got their first win of the MLS Season over DC Untied (0-2-0, 0 pts) with the final score 3-1 on Robbie Keane's first MLS brace and Marcelo Sarvas' first goal in MLS. Keane took plenty of chances, and on the day after St. Patrick's Day the Irish captain had a bit of luck. The midfield of Mike Magee, Landon Donovan, and David Beckham each tallied an assist, with only Juninho staying off the scoresheet.
"As a team I think we had an improved performance," said manager Bruce Arena. "Over the past couple of weeks we've been a little incomplete in our performance, both the team and individually. We were a little bit cleaner in the penalty areas today on both sides of the ball and that was the key to the win."
Certainly the Galaxy were cleaner in the offensive penalty area. The team had 21 attempts on goal, with only six shots off target. They finished with 8 on target shots and 7 blocked shots. Robbie Keane had five of those on target shots, two which went in and three which were saved.
On his two goals, Keane showed two different aspect of his game. The first goal was a poacher as Todd Dunivant pulled down a Mike Magee cross with his head, and the ball went right into Keane's path. Keane had been shooting similar opportunities right at the keeper, so it was good to see him get his grove back. In the second half he looked like a confident player, and on his second goal sent a screamer from 16 yards out that beat an outstretched Joe Willis and buried into the far corner.
In the defensive penalty area, the Galaxy switched back to the more experienced Andrew Boyens, and in the first half things were smoother than they were in Toronto. In fact, the Galaxy only made one major defensive mistake, leaving Nick DeLeon completely unmarked late in the game allowing DC United to sully the clean sheet.
With two weeks off on the horizon, Bruce Arena went with a very similar lineup to the one he trotted out the last three games. Arena admitted that he wasn't going to send a B-squad out in the home opener during the post match press conference, though that was the only game he felt where there wasn't enough rest between matched. This echoes Tim Leiweke's comments placing onus on the league for not rearranging the Galaxy's schedule. The party line has moved from blaming themselves to blaming MLS.
Edson Buddle was held out of the lineup, but it was a precautionary measure. Arena said he's had some tightness and some muscle problems, but Buddle did come on and play 22 minutes. The KDOC report that Buddle had undergone an Omegawave test was apparently unrelated to the coach's decision. Chad Barrett looked good in his place, running between the levels in a way that Buddle hasn't shown a desire to do.
Marcelo Sarvas came on to play 14 minutes, and in that time managed to get his first MLS goal. Not only that, but according to Sarvas that was his first ever competitive goal scored with his head. David Beckham whipped in a cross, and Sarvas bent at the waist to get his head on it.
DC was able to put a bit of a damper on things, as Nick DeLeon scored his first MLS goal with the Galaxy up 3-1. The former RSL academy player had a goal similar to Keane's, launching it from the corner of the box to the opposite corner of the goal, though DeLeon's hit the post and went in.
The Galaxy now have two weeks off to recuperate and get some practices in. Their next opponent is the New England Revolution March 31st.