No Beckham, no Donovan, no problem!
The L.A. Galaxy opened the 2013 season by putting on a clinic with a 4-0 beating of the Chicago Fire on Sunday at the Home Depot Center. Mike Magee, playing up top alongside Robbie Keane, had perhaps his best game as a pro notching a hat trick with a series of impressive finishes while Galaxy captain Robbie Keane added a goal of his own while delivering several tasty passes that kept the helpless Chicago Fire on the defensive all day.
The Galaxy defense was tested only a few times all day and came up big never really giving the Fire a chance. Leonardo came back strong from injury teaming alongside Omar Gonzalez in the middle with Dunivant and De La Garza on the outside. The tandem of Leonardo and Gonzalez was stifling and was amazing to watch. If Leonardo stays healthy and if Gonzalez doesn't get transferred midseason, the Galaxy will be in every game this year because the two together might be the best in MLS. New Gakaxy keeper Carco Cuducini earned a clean sheet in his debut. Although he wasn't tested often, he made an amazing save off a free kick that helped keep the Fire scoreless.
The midfield was a gem with Marcelo Sarvas and Juninho serving up delightful passes all day setting up the attack. The possession was more dilberate and fluid than when Donovan and Beckham were on the pitch the last few seasons. You didn't see the long balls or forced touches by Beckham, rather just simple, crisp, beautiful passes that lead to dangerous chances in the final third.
Robbie Keane was in stunningly good form, attacking the Chicago defense with the skills of an assassin, providing passes where only someone with his skill of vision could. It was nice to see Keane add the fourth goal late as he was a dangerous weapon all day.
With Landon Donovan on "break" and the Beckham era over, there was some concern that there would be a dropoff in 2013 for the defending MLS Cup Champions. Instead what you saw was a team unshackled from expectations, rumors, and drama, playing the game at the purest, highest, level, and making a statement that the L.A. Galaxy will be a force in 2013.
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