Well that was fun.
Though the attack had shown signs of improvement over the past few weeks, yesterday was the first time in a while the Galaxy gave a team a good ol’ fashioned spanking at home, led by Giovani dos Santos and the magisterial play of Jelle Van Damme.
Rafael Garcia: Played the best game of his career. Tasked with guarding Kaka, the LA native relentlessly tormented the frustrated Brazilian all match long, taking him out of the attack completely.
Giovani dos Santos: With 14 successful passes inside the final third, Gio sliced open the Orlando City defense, racking up two goals and two assists. It might not have come together all at once this season, but dos Santos has added a defensive bite, improved fitness and a desire to find the game to his considerable skill-set, and on Sunday it all came together beautifully.
Jelle Van Damme: I’m not sure the Galaxy have ever had a defender so valuable to the attack. Two assists on top of his usually strong defensive effort, all while coming back early from a knee injury have us strongly believing the Belgian center back is this season’s MLS Defender of the Year.
Alan Gordon: After a passive last few appearances, Gordon was immense, scoring his 50th career goal in style and constantly putting himself in dangerous spots.
Emmanuel Boateng: Becoming dangerous on a more consistent basis, though his service was poor until his brilliant counter-attacking run ended with the Ghanian expertly squaring to dos Santos for a tap-in.
Sebastian Lletget: Dos Santos has been on fire lately, but its hard to ignore that the Galaxy’s turnaround his coincided with the former West Ham academy product’s move to the center of the pitch.
Brian Rowe: Reliable Rowe returns after a woeful showing vs. Real Salt Lake.
Ashley Cole: Didn’t provide the greatest service, but Cole’s calming presence on the left is invaluable for Bruce Arena’s side.
Robbie Rogers: With the likes of Kevin Molino and Cyle Larin ready to pounce, Rogers stayed back more than usual to help keep the duo quiet.
Daniel Steres: Another decent showing. Continues to grow as a first-year starter after graduating from Los Dos.
Raul Mendiola: Mendiola’s second league start was a learning experience for the young attacker, who’s bad offsides trap allowed Orlando City to begin the sequence that led to their opening goal. Touch was a little off as well, but showed plenty of defensive grit.
Robbie Keane: Scored a goal off the bench, but Keane’s unusually grumpy demeanor wasn’t a good look. Let’s hope its just temporary.
Landon Donovan: Similar to Beckham’s first appearance for the Galaxy, Donovan’s job was to simply jog on the field. Obviously needs to get fit ASAP.
AJ DeLaGarza: N/A