CARSON, Calif -- A night that was supposed to be an easy victory for the Galaxy turned out to be an incredible struggle to comeback from behind and win.
“We had to fight and scrap,” confessed Coach Bruce Arena. “And that’s one of the few times this year we’ve been in that kind of position and came out with the three points so that in itself is very pleasing and a credit to our team - - getting three points tonight.”
Sloppy passing and poor finishes plagued the game for the home team and as a result of not knowing there was a game going on, they surrendered a goal to DC’s teenager Andy Najar in the 60th minute.
Fortunately for the Galaxy, that woke them up – well, just one person, Landon Donovan. The superstar bobbed and weaved past the DC keeper and sent it home in the 81st and headed it in on the 86th minute to win the game.
“I kind of feel the game out and see what the game needs,” said Donovan. “Last week we had the quality we needed, we had the guys in front of the goal that made plays. Tonight we were lacking that, and so when that happens I take it upon myself to be more aggressive in that way, and that was what the game needed tonight and I wanted to do it.”
With the brace, Donovan surpassed Galaxy legend Cobi Jones as the all-time goal score for the Los Angeles Galaxy.
The 20,000 + fans in attendance also got see David Beckham play in his second game since coming back from injury. In last week’s victory over the Columbus Crew, the midfielder played 20 minutes. This time around, he clocked in at 40.
“It felt great to be part of that (a comeback victory) because I know we haven’t done it this season, stated Beckham. “It is important to do that because we can’t expect to win every game easily.”
“I don’t think our passing was great. Our final ball wasn’t right and when you do that during games you are going to struggle. We kept it going. The character came through at the end and we have to prove that we got that character. We know it within the locker room but we have to prove it to people.”
The three points placed LA back in first place and secured them a play-off berth. With five games left LA stands on top with 50 points surpassing their season total from last year at 49.
Players and coaches may be elated receiving the three points, but that does not mask their overall performance on the pitch. All the coach emphasized on in the press conference was the fact that the Galaxy still need to get better.
“I think the story tonight is that we didn’t deliver the last pass well. We had a lot of opportunities at the start of this game. When we got behind them in good spots in the final third of the field we really didn’t deliver a good pass… Again, I’ll make it clear we have to get better. We know that.”
Landon Donovan shared the same basic views with his head coach, but offered one final touch.
“Our effort was ok. Our quality was just not good. Everything could have been sharper and better. That being said, good teams find ways to win.”