Friday, February 3, 2012
GALAXY: Galaxy wows in first outing
By Scott French
CARSON -- The Galaxy are through only two weeks of preparations, they're missing their biggest names and haven't had much chance to build chemistry among the returning players and newcomers, so whatever their preseason opener produced doesn't mean a whole lot.
But as first impressions go, their victory Friday morning over the L.A. Blues had definite wow factor.
The Galaxy sent out a virtual starting lineup for the first 45 minutes -- everyone except he four missing stars and injured Omar Gonzalez's replacement -- and dominated the Blues, scoring five goals before halftime in a 7-2 romp on the club's practice field at Home Depot Center.
Marcelo Sarvas enjoyed a wonderful debut, teaming with Michael Stephens in central midfield to orchestrate an attack that moved easily, with interchange worthy of midseason, and passed the ball almost at will in a performance that suggests far more than it should.
The Blues, preparing for their second campaign in the third-tier USL Pro, also is in preseason form and did without a good number of their top players, but they're not an MLS club and couldn't keep up until L.A. coach Bruce Arena brought on a less-experienced cast for the second half.
Adam Cristman scored twice and assisted another, Sarvas converted a penalty kick and set up two goals with defense-splitting passes, and teen phenom Jack McBean scored as nice a goal as he might ever score to highlight a far more even second half.
Sarvas, the Brazilian playmaker brought in from Costa Rican power Alajuelense to replace departed Juninho, made the biggest impression. He's got quick feet, great ideas and vision that is going provide an additional dimension to an L.A. attack that seems to gain more each day.
The Galaxy made it look easy in the first half. Sarvas provided the lead from the penalty spot after a hand ball, Todd Dunivant finished from Sarvas' service about a half-hour in, Cristman tapped home a gift from Paolo Cardozo after a penetrating ball from Stephens, Cardozo scored from Cristman's feed, and Cristman added another after Sarvas played Sean Franklin into the box.
“It was certainly a concern losing Juninho -- he was a great player, and we're going to miss him -- but I think Marcelo is stepping in the role very nicely and is almost very similar in his ball-winning and distribution and chance creation,” Cristman said. “He played a great ball that led to [the last goal of the half], and he does a good job of switching the ball, and I think he combines well with the guys in the middle of the field. I think we had some good combinations in there.
“That was good to see, and good to see him in a real game situation. He's going to be a good fit for us.”
Sarvas said it wasn't quite as easy as it appeared.
“I think we did the things right,” he said. “We keep possession of the ball, we could open the game on the wings. We find the space to create the situations, so we make this easier than it should be.”
Come March, Sarvas figures to be stationed next to David Beckham, who missed the game while in England making promotional appearances for his new underwear line. Landon Donovan, on loan in England, will be to the right. Robbie Keane, on loan in England, and Edson Buddle, due to arrive Friday night, will be the target men. It's downright scary.
Cristman and Noonan were stationed up front Friday, with Stephens in Beckham's slot and rookie Tommy Meyer getting a start next to A.J. DeLaGarza in central defense. The rest of the lineup -- goalkeeper Josh Saunders, DeLaGarza, outside backs Dunivant and Franklin, Sarvas and Mike Magee in midfield -- was first-choice.
“As expected, I think [the game was] sloppy, but for he first time out, it's good to give players an opportunity,” Arena said. “I think we used 24 players today.” (Indeed, you did.) “It's good to get out, and we get to see some players and have a better feel for who they are as we start to finalize our roster in the next couple weeks.”
BIG GOAL: McBean scored a beauty in the 63rd minute, collecting a long ball from rookie Kenney Walker, taking it to the box against veteran Blues backliner Erlys Garcia, then unleashing a rocket into the upper-left corner.
He limped off eight minutes later after reinjuring an ankle when he was tackled in midfield. Magee also left early, departing in the 11th minute after feeling his quadriceps tighten up.
Meyer didn't have much chance to show a lot, but he was twisted around on the Blues' first goal, by South Korean trialist Cho Suhyung.
“We just wanted to give him a little experience,” said Arena, who had Andrew Boyens and rookie Bryan Gaul in central defense for the second half. “I think it was a good day for him. But next week is going to be a little harder, when we play some of the MLS teams in the practice games.”
WORTH NOTING: Panamanian television network TVN reports that the Galaxy has contacted Colombia's Atletico Nacional about Panamanian central defender Roger Torres. ... Kyle Nakazawa played as a withdrawn forward in the second half and scored the final goal on a penalty kick after rookie Stephen Posa was taken down by Blues goalkeeper Amir Abedzadeh. ... Trialists Bill Gaudette, a goalkeeper, and outside back J.T. Murray played in the second half for the Galaxy. ... Ryan Thomas, a reserve-team left back last year, played on the left side of midfield in the second half. ... The Blues' lineup included two former MLS players, former Galaxy forward Israel Sesay and former Chivas USA defender Carlos Borja, and midfielder Edwin Miranda, who was drafted in 2004 by Dallas. ... The Blues in the second half used Korean midfielder Park Jonghoon, who trialed last week with the Seattle Sounders.
Home Depot Center University Field 1 (Carson)
Galaxy 7, L.A. Blues 2 G -- Marcelo Sarvas pen. 12
G -- Todd Dunivant (Marcelo Sarvas) 29
B -- Cho Suhyung (Mike Lopez) 30
G -- Adam Cristman (Paolo Cardozo, Michael Stephens) 36
G -- Paolo Cardozo (Adam Cristman) 42
G -- Adam Cristman (Sean Franklin, Marcelo Sarvas) 45
G -- Jack McBean (Kenney Walker) 63
B -- Matt Fondy (Mike Lopez) 68
G -- Kyle Nakazawa pen. 85
Galaxy: Josh Saunders (Bill Gaudette, 46); Sean Franklin (Bryan Jordan, 46), Tommy Meyer (Andrew Boyens, 46), A.J. DeLaGarza (Bryan Gaul, 46), Todd Dunivant (J.T. Murray, 46); Paolo Cardozo (Ryan Thomas, 46), Michael Stephens (Kenney Walker, 46), Marcelo Sarvas (Dan Keat, 46), Mike Magee (Hector Jimenez, 11; Stephen Posa, 63); Pat Noonan (Kyle Nakazawa, 46), Adam Cristman (Jack McBean, 46; Justin Davies, 71).
Blues: Jose Miranda (Amir Abedzadeh, 46); Devan McKenney (Matt Hall, 46), Erlys Garcia, Nick Hamilton (Casey Codrey, 46), Shay Spitz (Edwin Miranda, 46); Bryan Burke (Park Jonghoon, 46), Carlos Borja, Mike Lopez, Cho Suhyung (Ricardo Balderaz, 46); Luis Gonzalez (Israel Sesay, 46), Alan Russell.
Feb. 7 vs. Portland at Home Depot Center
Feb. 10 vs. Houston at Home Depot Center
Feb. 14 vs. Montreal at Home Depot Center
Feb. 16 vs. Chivas USA at Home Depot Center
Feb. 22 vs. New England at Tucson, Ariz.
Feb. 25 vs. Real Salt Lake at Tucson, Ariz.
Feb. 29 vs. New York at Tucson, Ariz.
March 3 Desert Diamond Cup final/third-place game at Tucson, Ariz.