The LA Galaxy defeated the Montreal Impact Wednesday night 1-0 on Kofi Opare's first MLS goal in his fourth appearance. The defender simply cleaned up a ball left sitting in the penalty area, but Montreal being unable to clear the ball put LA in reach of securing a playoff spot this weekend. LA got a huge boost from Robbie Keane, after playing 90 minutes for the Irish team yesterday, coming in and playing thirty minutes of high energy soccer.
Leonardo made a headed attempt on Juninho's cross which was saved by Montreal's Evan Bush. Juninho attempted a shot that got deflected back by Gyasi Zardes and Opare was there to push the ball in. Zardes was credited with an assist, but really it was a mad scramble.
Evan Bush, a veteran with little MLS experience, got the start tonight and was called on to make seven saves. With two more shots hitting the crossbar, the Galaxy clearly were fine creating chances though finishing could have gone better.
Jack McBean and Jose Villarreal were called on to start in place of an injured Landon Donovan and a fatigued Robbie Keane. They took five shots before Keane came into the match with Zardes contributing three more. The offensive trio was productive but not efficient going up against a Montreal central defense that is also not the first choice.
Defensively LA performed well despite a new center back pairing in Kofi Opare and Leonaro pulling off the offside trap successfully (six on the day for Montreal). They kept Montreal's pass accuracy down and allowed the Galaxy's to control possession in their own half.
Bruce Arena said after the match that he expects both Landon Donovan and Omar Gonzalez to be available for selection Sunday, when there will be all to play for. Depending on what happens in the match between Portland and Real Salt Lake, LA can move into second or even a tie for first.
As it is, LA spent their match in hand to pull level with Seattle, whom they have the goals for tiebreaker over. The Galaxy can clinch a playoff spot by earning any points over San Jose Sunday. However, with first place in sight, it's time for some timely soccer.