Bruce Arena got the LA Galaxy past their winless streak with a 2-1 victory over FC Dallas. Playing in their first home fixture in over a month, the LA Galaxy got their first multi-goal match in about as long. The match also saw the Galaxy abandon the midfield diamond with Juninho now free to push forward and get more involved with the attack.
The Brazilian midfielder made an absolutely brilliant cross that found Gyasi Zardes completely unmarked in the penalty area. It was a ball that Zardes had to barely move to gently put past the Dallas keeper. It was Juninho's first assist since the sixth of April.
"Juninho had a really good game," said Bruce Arena. "He's arguably our best player the first nine games of the season. He's been very consistent and had another good night tonight."
Robbie Keane and Juninho are the only LA Galaxy players which have started every match so far, with Juninho playing in all but three minutes of the LA season. Since the season opener (the only match he's been subbed out of) he's been good for six recoveries a match, a big part of giving the Galaxy second chance attacking opportunities. Juninho has only gone two matches out of nine without a key pass.
Reverting back to the 4-4-2, Juninho split attacking and defensive responsibilities with Kenney Walker; a new partnership in the central midfield for the LA Galaxy. With Marcelo Sarvas injured and Baggio Husidic showing signs of fatigue in Houston, Walker got his second ever MLS start and performed admirably next to Juninho. Last night Walker chimed in with five recoveries of his own, letting Juninho feel comfortable going forward.
"[Juninho and I] just play off each other," said Kenney Walker. "If one goes the other one stays. It's more of a 4-4-2 rather than a diamond that we have been playing, so it's just sharing responsibilities in attacking and defending. I am not going to hold him back from going forward. I just sit in the front and pass the ball around."
Going forward also let Juninho take some shots on goal. The midfielder took two strikes from well aside the penalty area, with one of them ending up on target (he slipped on the other attempt). He was terribly accurate in his passing, only missing on two pass attempts.
It's taken for granted at this point, but Juninho continues to be the battery that powers the entire Galaxy attack.