The LA Galaxy, who moved into the lead in the MLS Supporters' Shield race, got two goals and
two assists from Robbie Keane and a goal and an assist from Gyasi Zardes, Giovani dos
Santos and Sebastian Lletget as it upped its total to 37 goals in its last eight home games, all wins, in all competitions.
Except for the first part of the game, the Galaxy dominated the game, finishing with a 23-13 edge in shots, with a performance that drew rare effusive praise from head coach Bruce Arena, beginning with praise for Keane, who could have easily scored a half a dozen goals.
“He played very well," he said. "I think he and Dos Santos have a great relationship. I think Gyasi had an excellent second half. Lletget continues to play well and the tandem between Juninho and [Steven] Gerrard is spectacular. Our back line was very good. Robbie Rogers played one of his better games of the year. Leonardo continues to do well along with the whole group."
NYCFC was again without Frank Lampard, leaving David Villa,
who scored a late consolation penalty kick, and Andrea Pirlo, who came off after 75 minutes, as its two stars tasked with going up against the Galaxy.
“I think we ran up against the best team in the league," said NYCFC coach Jason Kreis, "and they punished our mistakes pretty severely. We started out the game, I thought, really really well but the first sign of a bad mistake in the back, a giveaway in the back, led to a clear chances for the Galaxy and the momentum completely shifted and I don't think we ever gained it back."
That the Gerrard-Lampard matchup didn't take place did not detract from the atmosphere around the match. Arena said it will eventually become
a norm around MLS.
"If anything, today, I think it tells about the growth of this league and the kind of support we are getting in the market is phenomenal," he said. "I do remember I coached in the opening game of this league in 1996, and we’ve come light years. Today was maybe a bit of recognition of the growth of the league, and certainly we have a long way to go, but we are certainly pleased to have these types of games today and obviously more in the future."
The only downside was the noon kickoff, which snapped NYCFC in the second half.
"We wish it would’ve been 30 degrees cooler," said Arena, "but we don’t control the weather.”