Tonight the LA Galaxy defeated CS Cartagines 2-0 in CONCACAF Champions League play on the strength of two Robbie Keane goals and two Landon Donovan assists. The pairing continues to prove to be the most dangerous offensive pairing in MLS.
The Costa Rican runner up did well to keep the Galaxy offense off the board until the sixty first minute, when Landon Donovan was able to find Keane from midfield, when Keane getting enough space in the penalty area to shoot it just to the keeper's left. The just before full time, Donovan again found Keane in similar fashion, this time giving Keane a one on one with Cartagines keeper Wardy Alfaro who essentially went limp knowing there was nothing he could do.
"The team played well tonight," said Bruce Arena. "The second goal will be big in the competition. I think it's a fair result."
This was Cartagines' second match in CCL play, having gone on the first matchday and defeated Isidro Metapan 2-4 on the road. LA has their second CCL match on September 8th hosting Isidro Metapan, and a victory there could see LA with six points and a positive goal differential before heading down to Costa Rica for the return leg against Cartagines.
Roster-wise, the big news was the return and early exit of Robbie Rogers. He started a the left midfielder position and went down with a left hamstring strain just before halftime. The injury will be a setback in Rogers' bid to return to full health. Gyasi Zardes showed well in the midfield in Rogers' place, especially when Donovan came in for Jose Villarreal.
Otherwise, Arena was able to mix in enough depth to give some starters the night off. A.J. DeLaGarza and Juninho were able to stay off the pitch and rest up, with Donovan only had to go thirty minutes. That those thirty minutes contained both of LA's goals is no coincidence.
With a Vancouver road trip this weekend, look for those rested starters to be called on to step up their game and give their counterpart an easier time. Also to look out for is whether Jaime Penedo is now the man at the starting goalkeeper position. By all rights, he should be.