No Donovan. No Buddle. No Beckham. No problem.
The L.A. Galaxy continued their astounding early season form this evening with a 4-1 bulldozing of the Houston Dynamo this evening at the Home Depot Center. The Galaxy continued their absolutely torrid pace and are still undefeated with 10 wins and 2 draws for 2010. In the past three weeks, they have lost MLS’s leading scorer (Edson Buddle) and leader in assists (Landon Donovan) to National Team duty and have not slowed up by any measurable amount.
In Houston’s favor, they did manage to do something that no other team had done in a little more than a month – they scored a goal against the Galaxy. That being said, it was clear that the goal scorer – Cam Weaver – knew little about it. Weaver was rushing towards the goal with the ball in front of him, but Galaxy keeper Donovan Ricketts got their first and cleared the ball solidly into Weaver’s thigh where it rebounded and gently rolled into the goal. Weaver caught Ricketts’ boot straight in the chest and was probably not aware that he had scored for some time.
That goal was only the third the Galaxy has surrendered all season. Although Ricketts and the rest of the back line have been like a wall in front of the net, the Galaxy are proving the soccer adage that you cannot shoot what you do not possess. Although the possession stats are not posted on the MLS website, I have to believe that the Galaxy have possessed the ball for 70% of their combined games. The Galaxy midfield pressures, challenges, tackles, and passes with a fluidity rarely seen in this league.
That type of movement was on full display for the Galaxy’s second Jovan Kirovski goal. Before Kirovski took his shot at goal, there was a 13 pass build-up. The ball moved from the right to the left side of the pitch and went forward and backwards several times before Sean Franklin got free going down his right on the overlap, completely cut open the Dynamo’s defense and found Kirovski unmarked at the penalty spot. From the time the Galaxy got possession during that long, complex sequence the only Dynamo to touch the ball was Pat Onstad when he picked it out of the back of his net. It was as if Barcelona had relocated to Carson.
Some other notable facts about the Galaxy so far:
- Last season the Galaxy won the Western Conference with 12 wins. We have just said hello to June and the Galaxy already have 10 wins in the bank.
- The absent Landon Donovan leads the league with 9 assists. In third place with 6 assists is Galaxy Rookie of the Year contender Michael Stephens.
- Stephens main competitor for Rookie of the Year? It could be Galaxy’s Tristan Bowen who has scored in the last two Galaxy games (three if you count the friendly against Boca Juniors).
- Buddle may be the Galaxy name on everyone’s lips, but 11 different players have scored for the Galaxy so far this year, and 11 different players have collected assists.
- Of the Galaxy’s league-leading 22 goals, none of them have come from the penalty spot.
- The Galaxy have had 22 different starters this season.
Of course, this run the Galaxy are on cannot continue forever. Two of the toughest road-games left on their schedule – trips to Salt Lake and Toronto – are coming next week and then after the bye week. Those are challenging games, and Real Salt Lake is one of the few teams that seem intent on trying to match the Galaxy’s work rate. That being said, it has been a long time since MLS has had a dominant team, and the Galaxy seem driven to become that intimidating force.