The Galaxy played their final game of the preseason and cruised past their newly-formed junior club, the Galaxy II, 3-0 Saturday night at the Stubhub Center.
The Galaxy II were expected to come in hungry and poised to prove themselves in front of Bruce Arena, but a goal by Robbie Keane in the second minute of play set the tone for a dominating performance by the senior club.
Keane caught goalkeeper Cody Laurendi cheating well off his line and chipped him from 40 yards away to open up the scoring.
Landon Donovan didn’t capitalize on an opportunity to make it 2-0 at the 16th minute after toe-poking a give-and-go from Keane into the hands of Laurendi.
The Galaxy continued their outright domination at the 23rd minute when Donovan was tripped inside the box by Jason Bli after receiving a through pass.
Keane took the kick from the spot and slotted the ball near the right post after patiently waiting for Laurendi to telegraph his move.
An erratic pass at midfield from Keane led to the first opportunity for the Galaxy II on a breakaway by new signee Bradford Jamieson IV, but a strong Omar Gonzalez slide tackle inside the box ended things there.
The game became more stagnant toward the end of the half, as the Galaxy II conjured up some offense and created a few opportunities for Jack McBean and Jamieson IV.
Perhaps the most exciting moment of the half came on a non-scoring play, when McBean took the ball from the Galaxy II’s part of the field, got past Leonardo at midfield, dribbled into the box, hit the right post with a booming right-footed shot, but could only watch the ball roll along the goal line and out of bounds.
The second half began with plenty of substitutions for the Galaxy II.
The changes paid dividends at the 55th minute, when Travis Bowen earned a penalty after a challenge by Galaxy defender James Riley was deemed reckless by referee Ramon Hernandez.
Bowen took the penalty and tried to catch goalkeeper Brian Perk—starting in place of Jaime Penedo—cheating off his line. Perk never flinched, and was able to read Bowen’s intentions on time, keeping the clean sheet before being subbed out in favor of Brian Rowe at the 61st minute.
The Galaxy scored their third goal of the game in the 68th minute on a goal by Samuel via the workmanlike effort of Keane, whose 69 minutes on the pitch marked his longest game since injuring his Achilles in November.
Keane dribbled from near the right touchline and into the box, eluding two defenders, and then dribbled past Laurendi. Had Keane not dribbled his way away from the goal, he would’ve had a hat trick. However, he quickly found an unmarked Donovan on the left side of the box, who then found Samuel inside the six-yard box. Samuel easily put the ball past a vulnerable Laurendi near the left post.
After the game, Galaxy coach Bruce Arena talked about how the team is moving forward prior to the start of the season. “We are moving forward. I think we made good progress in the preseason and hopefully in the next couple of weeks we can get better.”
Arena also talked about the progress Keane has made as he returns from injury by saying, “Robbie Keane needs to work hard in the next couple of weeks to be ready and he is getting there.
“He did a good job tonight. The first goal was unbelievable. I don’t know how he quite saw that, it was ridiculous. That’s why we are paying him the big bucks.”
Keane said he wasn’t surprised by his lengthy appearance and added, “I’ve been away from the football side of things, but I’ve been working very hard ever since I came back to the Galaxy.”
He mentioned that he’d been working out in a pool back in Ireland. He said, “I know that it’s not the same, but I certainly felt very strong and I’m only going to get stronger.”
Galaxy II coach Curt Onalfo shared his overall thoughts on the game. “It was great, awesome fan support, which was really fun to see. I was just disappointed we couldn’t make a goal or two just to make it a little bit more of a closer game…I think it’s a great step in the right direction for our organization and something we are going to look forward to every year.”
Donovan, entering his tenth season with the Galaxy, talked about the upcoming season and how the team is adapting moving forward. “We’re pretty close; Bruce has played a lot of us together a lot of minutes in some of these games so we are starting to get good chemistry.
“We are the same team for the most part, except Gyasi [Zardes] playing wide, and a forward up top. We are getting used to Rob [Friend], we are getting used to Samuel. Gyasi is getting better and better I think every time he plays there, and we are getting more and more comfortable.”
This was the second-ever game for the Galaxy II. Last week they beat the Fresno Fuego 2-1 prior to the Galaxy’s 2-1 win over the San Jose Earthquakes in the inaugural Central California Cup.
Fans filled the entire west end of the stadium, along with a part of the northwest, while the rest of the Stubhub Center was closed off.
The Galaxy will open the 2014 season March 8 against Real Salt Lake at the Stubhub Center. Real Sal Lake eliminated the Galaxy from last season’s Western Conference Playoffs.