The LA Galaxy got their first come from behind victory of the year, and they did it with aplomb as everything seemed to go right after the club was firing on all cylinders. The goal production was right there with the match in Seattle, but at least to start LA was showing some of the poor finishing that plagued them earlier in the year.
"We fell behind a goal," said Bruce Arena. "It's good for our team to be in a hard game against a good team. We prevailed, obviously. The goal at the end of the first half was big. Second half, they came at us with a little bit more energy and created a couple of chances."
Over the course of the match LA outshot Portland almost 5-1, and that's after Portland tripled their first half production of one shot. Portland weren't able to get one on target in the second half, and even though Portland came out with more fire, they were unable to control possession over any second half five minute interval.
Where the Galaxy really shined was in the final third. Though they started out sloppy, they ended up attempting 176 passes in the final third with a fantastic completion percentage of 81%. Over the entire field their passing accuracy goes up to 87%. Muse on that for a moment. Almost nine out of ten times when a Galaxy player attempted a pass it was accurate. At one point in stoppage time they strung together over thirty passes.
"We were sloppy at times in the first half," said Bruce Arena. "We could have been a little bit cleaner. Technically, in and around the goal area, we could have created another goal or two, but overall it was a good performance. We are on a good run, and hopefully we keep getting better."
There's a great Armchair Analyst writeup of the match, which breaks down how the Galaxy are playing now that they're back to the 4-4-2. The wide midfielders are on a level with each other ahead of Sarvas, with Juninho playing a more defensive role behind the whole thing. Pushing forward it's a Y midfield, that allows Donovan to Drop in and interact with the forwards and Sarvas to sweep around the back of the final third keeping the ball in possession.
Defensively, the Galaxy were on point as they often are when Gonzalez and DeLaGarza start next to each other. The two center backs cover each other's weaknesses, leaving teams few options in the center of the attacking area. It was rare to see Portland make a pass in zone 14 without an Galaxy defender getting a foot on it. They did manage one key pass from Diego Valeri, but the shot was wasted. Just look at LA's successes in front of the penalty area on the left vs. Portland.
"We played well," said Landon Donovan. "Almost the entire day, we gave away one bad pass that led to a questionable foul. Give Diego Valeri credit, he scored a great goal. But, other than that, we were excellent. Fully deserving of the win, another good performance and we are moving forward."
LA are indeed moving forward, no longer hovering around the playoff cutoff line and instead are looking like possible Supporter's Shield contenders.