The LA Galaxy swept their Independence Weekend home stand tonight, beating FC Dallas 2-0 and this time notching goals from the run of play. Hector Jimenez and Marcelo Sarvas notched goals, but everyone played up to a level tonight that LA hasn't shown for some weeks.
They key tonight was reversing the disturbing creeping trend of poor finishing. LA were strong finishers tonight with an eight percent conversion rate. That might not sound all that impressive, but getting a goal every ten attempts is about where teams want to be. Couple that with the fact that twenty attempts came from the run of play, and it's clear distribution was great for LA tonight as well.
Both goals came from run of play distribution, passing chains that saw both goals come with two assists attached. On the first, in the 65' Omar Gonzalez chipped the ball from behind the midfield line up to Robbie Keane on the left flank. Keane dribbled into the box, took on a defender and then chipped the ball in front of the face of goal where Marcelo Sarvas was able to get a head on it. Sarvas had run into the box from the middle of the pitch, giving LA an extra target. When he saw Keane beat his marker he made a beeline for the back post. Great vision and hard work pay off.
A long pass sequence and an inability by Dallas to clear the ball gave LA their second goal. Keane recovered Matt Hedges' failed clearance and passed the ball to Robbie Rogers on the wing. Rogers sent the ball behind the defensive line where Hector Jimenez was waiting all alone inside the eighteen yard box.
Passing combinations and successful high percentage shots from inside the penalty box are a great sign. As expected the Galaxy had a large amount of possession in Dallas' half with 36% of the action happening in the away third. The middle third only saw 41%.
That both goals came from the flanks is also significant as is Robbie Rogers getting his first assist. Distribution from the flank is the reason Rogers was brought in, and being able to beat Dallas there is a positive step forward. 61% of the 23 shot attempts by LA came from inside the eighteen yard box with another 4% inside the six yard box. 70% of the shots came from the middle. That's what happens when good flank play stretches a defense out. The middle opens up.
This is what LA has needed. There's still much to work on, struggling players like Gyasi Zardes and Robbie Rogers took too many obstructed shots (Zardes had three of seven blocked, Rogers four of six). However, creating two big chances and finishing them both is nothing to complain about.
Things are improving for LA. Now they get to pack it up and see if they can do it on the road. Dangerous Portland Timbers are next.