Los Angeles Galaxy 2-1 FC Dallas: Let’s Hear It For The Boy


May 21, 2014; Carson, CA, USA; Los Angeles Galaxy coach Bruce Arena reacts during the game against FC Dallas at StubHub Center. The Galaxy defeated FC Dallas 2-1. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Young Jacob Trainor, recovering from a three-year leukemia to live out his dream of playing for and training with Bruce Arena’s Los Angeles Galaxy, made a bold prediction ahead of Wednesday’s contest between LA and Oscar Pareja’s FC Dallas. “It’s going to be a close game and hopefully we’ll get a lot of shots and we’ll win,” Trainor told LAGalaxy.com’s Adam Serrano. “I’m very excited and nervous at the same time.”

Turns out, Jake was right. The Galaxy pounced all over Dallas goalkeeper Raul Fernandez and broke a four-game winless streak in their 2-1 win over FC Dallas to get back in the race for the chase in the MLS Western Conference. LA will hope for more of the same this weekend against the Philadelphia Union.

As Deniece Williams would say, “let’s hear it for the boy.” And let’s hear what Bruce himself had to say about this game.

Now that you heard the boss, let’s take a look at six things we learned, follow by player ratings, for the match between the Los Angeles Galaxy and FC Dallas.

1. Robbie Keane, the goal machine, strikes again

This was just a case of Robbie Keane being Robbie Keane, and the ballwatchers on FC Dallas being ballwatchers. Watch the sweet dribble from the Galaxy captain, the Republic of Ireland international, who does this in his sleep. Vintage, don’t you agree?

2. Gyasi Zardes breaks through

And who was the young man that sent that ball to Keano? None other that Gyasi Zardes, who was due for a big game in the midfield. An interesting promotion occured during the game. If Zardes scored, all in attendance get a free oil change. Turns out, that’s what he did. Gyasi got the Galaxy engine running. Maybe he should be called Gyasi Lube. And I say that because, when it comes to getting engines running and rolling, he’s ahead of the curve. Get it?

Actually, a little addendum: it was later revealed to me by a source from BigSoccer that Gyasi needed to score in the second half, not the first. And so, a bold prediction idea is in order.

3. Tesho shows ’em what he’s made of, sho nuff

Rookie Tesho Akindele is a young forward with a bright future. Lined up alongside Fabian Castillo, Akindele made things interesting in the second half. But this was more Jair Benitez using his speed and anticipation to win the ball, and then find Akindele. Now Akindele could have tied this game later on a counterattack, but a swing and a miss proved to be a turning point in the whole affair.

4. The unsung hero is…Kenney Walker

Of course, there are unsung heroes, and one of them is Kenney Walker. With years of game experience paying off, his passing and field savvy evoked the form of a certain household name, according to Keane.

“Kenny was outstanding tonight,” Keane told reporters after the game. “It was very effective the way he played. He talked about simple passing and taking people out of the game and he was talking three to four people out of the game. That’s how you play just like how the best players in the world play. Like Xavi and people play very simple but also very effective. That was the case with him.”

And where did Walker gain his strength and experience? Galaxy II, of course. And the Carolina RailHawks, who the Galaxy first team have yet to beat in the U.S. Open Cup.

“Going to North Carolina last year, and coming back here it seemed like a world of a difference when I got back here,” said Walker. “I felt like I was completely different, just training every day to actually getting in games, and then this year getting four, five, six games before we step on the field ,it’s a fitness level that you can’t achieve at training. And you get that from Galaxy II.”

5. Another unsung hero…Raul Mendiola

With the match hanging on a knife’s edge, Los Angeles needed to get another defender to hold the fort, and that was Raul Mendiola, whose stock is rising like the waves off Malibu. Like Walker, the Galaxy II was just what young Raul ordered. But there’s a long ways yet to go before he is a fixture in the starting XI, according to the Galaxy captain.

“If he keeps working hard like he has been, keeps doing the things that coaches are telling him and players are telling him and helping him with,” Keane said. “He is a good kid and he listens very well. He is always asking questions and he wants to learn you know? That’s the sign of a good player. He wants to always learn and always be better.

“He has been very good in the past few weeks just goes to show you from the Galaxy II if you were doing well. Mendiola is the perfect example of the Galaxy II because he took his opportunity and he took it well and he was moved up to the first team.”

“I have been working hard the past couple of months,” said Mendiola of his form. “It’s paying off but I got to keep going you know. You’ve got to keep the ball happy. Time by time, playing MLS is like an accomplishment for me, so I want to keep working hard.”

6. An even match and a tale of two halves

Take a look at the stats, courtesy of MLSSoccer.com. Both teams won their share of stats. (Galaxy is blue, Dallas is red.) The Galaxy played lights-out in the first half, while Dallas adjusted and cranked up the heat in the second half. However, superior organization defensively along with expert leadership from Keane and a statement performance from Zardes, the MLS Multiplex’s Man of the Match, proved to be the ultimate difference.

“You have to go forward,” Zardes said of the result. “The past is the past, for a reason you learn from it and you go forward and move on from the things you’ve done wrong in the past. I definitely think we’ve learned how to finish our chances and opportunities and just to be an initial threat and get numbers out in the attack.”

Team Statistics

4Shots on Target5
3Shots off Target2
4Blocked Shots5
1Yellow Cards2
0Red Cards0
518Total Passes401
84 %Passing Accuracy78 %
56 %Possession44 %
41Duels Won60
16Tackles Won16

Los Angeles Galaxy Player Ratings

Jaime Penedo 7, A.J. DeLaGarza 7, Tommy Meyer 7, Kofi Opare 6.5, Dan Gargan 6, Gyasi Zardes 10, Juninho 8, Stefan Ishizaki 7, Kenney Walker 7.5, Robbie Keane 9, Samuel 5, Baggio Husidic 5, Raul Mendiola 6

FC Dallas Player Ratings

Raul Fernandez 3, Jair Benitez 7, Zach Loyd 6, Stephen Keel 5, Matt Hedges 5, Andrew Jacobson 1, Fabian Castillo 4, Danny Garcia 4, Je-Vaughn Watson 4.5, Victor Ulloa 5, Tesho Akindele 7.5, Adam Moffat 5, Blas Perez 4, Andres Escobar 5