CARSON, CA. (September 11, 2016) – The LA Galaxy got the emphatic win they’ve needed for almost a month. They defeated Orlando City SC in Landon Donovan‘s return on Sunday night 4-2. Giovani dos Santos had two goals and two assists. Donovan came off the bench in the 83rd minute.
LA Galaxy Rout Orlando City 4-2 In Landon Donovan’s Return
Both managers had their teams in a 4-2-3-1. Bruce Arena had Rafael Garcia and Sebastian Lletget as holding midfielders. Giovani dos Santos started in the No. 10 role with Emmanuel Boateng and Raul Mendiola on his flanks. Jelle Van Damme returned to the side at center back.
Orlando Head Coach Jason Kreis started Cyle Larin up top with Kaka and Kevin Molino in the attacking midfield. Antonio Nocerino and Servando Carrasco started as holding midfielders. David Mateos and Jose Aja started at center back.
The Galaxy came out with some pep in their step. Dos Santos played distributor through the midfield, passing his teammates open. Boateng was very active getting open in wide positions and cutting inside the box.
It was Orlando that struck first blood against the run of play in the 20th minute. Molino scored on a second chance break down inside the box after Luke Boden got in behind the Galaxy back line. Boden looked to be close to off sides on the play. The goal stood.
The Galaxy took some time to recover from the shock of going down a goal despite playing better. They managed a massive recovery, scoring three goals in the final ten minutes of the half.
First the Galaxy scores in ten seconds off a goal kick in the 35th minute. Goalkeeper Brian Rowe found Van Damme who delivered a long pass to Boateng in space. Boateng ran in towards the box and squared the ball to an oncoming Dos Santos. The No. 10 had an easy tap in to tie the match.
Three minutes later Alan Gordon got his first goal of the season deflecting a cross from Van Damme on a second chance ball.
Gordon won a penalty call towards the end of the half on Aja. The Galaxy won a ball in midfield and Dos Santos was off to the races. He set up Gordon to go in on goal, forcing Aja to step in. On replay, the foul appeared to be outside the box however.
Dos Santos stepped up and wrong-footed goalkeeper Joe Bendik to score. The half ended 3-1 to the Galaxy.
The beginning of the second half was more evenly played. Orlando City tried to throw numbers forward down two goals. The Galaxy defense did well to close in on Kaka when he was on the ball. Van Damme and Daniel Steres did well to body up Larin. Molino continued to be a force, creating chances centrally and from out wide.
Robbie Keane returned to the field, coming on as a sub in the 60th minute. The Galaxy looked to counter up two goals. Ten minutes later Keane would get his chance on the run. Lletget got the ball in midfield and delivered a lethal ball into space as Dos Santos and Keane were on the run.
Bendik was forced to come off his line with his center backs trailing the play. Dos Santos tapped the ball past Bendik towards Keane and the Irishman scored on a wide open look.
With the result secured at 4-1, Arena subbed on the prodigal son Landon Donovan for Raul Mendiola in the 83rd minute. Substitute Brek Shea added a goal in garbage time on a second chance in the box. The match ended 4-2.
The Galaxy are looking up with Van Damme and Keane both having good games coming off injury. Dos Santos continued to be the man with the other attacking starts not starting. He has 6 goals and 3 assists in the last 5 games. Boateng had possibly his best game of the season and Mendiola did fine in a rare start.
Donovan did not do much in the minutes he played (not that anything was expected). He’ll look to get his fitness up in the weeks to come and potentially start going forward. We’ll see where he fits in.
The Galaxy travel to Sporting Kansas City next Sunday in league play.