The LA Galaxy defeated the Columbus Crew 2-1 at StubHub Center on the backs of two Robbie Keane penalty kick goals to come back from a 0-1 deficit. It was the Galaxy's first victory after conceding the first goal this year (1-6-0), but the comeback masked what was another poor performance in the finishing department.
The penalties came at the 85' mark and two minutes into stoppage time, and both had fans on twitter up in arms about the softness of the calls. Jose Villarreal earned the first penalty dragging his foot to make contact while leaping over goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum. Keane put the penalty in the bottom right corner, as he would both penalties.
Keane earned the second penalty all on his own, going down after feeling an extended arm from Bernardo Anor. This call was generally considered softer than the first, though defenders know they're taking a risk putting their arms out like that.
Gyasi Zardes was more selective with his attempts, but he still is having trouble finding ways to beat the keeper. His 67' header hit the side netting causing the crowd to erupt, but it was another big chance created that was flubbed by the Galaxy rookie. This is the third straight week that Zardes has missed a big chance.
Robbie Keane doesn't get off the hook. Despite his perfect placement on two crosses, he could have given LA the win from the run on play. He and Villarreal were part of a fast break started by Juninho. With a two on one with the keeper, Keane's pass to Villarreal was too long. Even still, Villarreal was able to recover and Juninho sent in another ball to Keane trailing the play, and Keane's shot attempt raged against the crossbar.
Folk are going to continue to tear apart the play of Robbie Rogers, but with three key passes tonight he certainly showed improvement. His five unsuccessful crosses, many that would have let to shot attempts, is certainly an area needing work. However, he was in the mix tonight.
With the penalty goals Keane certainly will get man of the match honors, but Todd Dunivant had a points saving clearance off the line after Cudicini failed to corral a ball in the box.
While the counter attack trend is getting statistically whittled away, LA has been getting many chances off set pieces lately. Tonight it was 8 set pieces chances for LA, as they were able to earn ten corners and get a number of foul calls around (and in) the box. Fouls on the match were actually even, but maintaining a large quantity of possession in Columbus' attacking area was effective there.
LA has much to improve on between now and Sunday, which unfortunately isn't a great mountain of time. I say this every time Jimenez starts but he's so much better as a defensive sub than going the full match. Starting Jose Villarreal up top and having Gyasi Zardes start on the flank could see LA with better attacking form. However, when shot selection and distribution have improved and the problem is finishing it's a tougher challenge to meet simply by switching up the personnel.