Giovani Dos Santos scored in his very first MLS game, as the LA Galaxy triumphed over their rivals, the Seattle Sounders, 3-1 on Sunday afternoon at StubHub Center.
Santos got his first taste of MLS action as the reigning MLS Cup Champions took on the reigning Supporter's Shield holders. The sellout crowd was anxious to see the LA Galaxy's full starting XI (with Dos Santos and Gerrard) on the pitch for the first time, and the All-Star team of soccer's finest did not disappoint.
"It was amazing," Dos Santos said of the rivalry match. "Our fans were great today. This is a great rivalry with Seattle and we are very happy for the win."
Gyasi Zardes scored in the first half, Robbie Keane in the second, and Dos Santos made it three's company with his first ever MLS goal in the 64th minute.
The Sounders struck first just 51 seconds into the match. Chad Barrett got behind Omar Gonzalez in the Galaxy's zone and Erik Friberg sent a lazer into the bottom right corner of the six yard box that landed on Barrett's right foot for the goal.
"We had a lack of concentration," Captain Robbie Keane said of the goal. "It was too easy, it's something we have to look at and make sure that their guy doesn't get on the ball early. You have to defend the post like that."
Ironically, Barrett strained his hamstring while celebrating the goal with his teammates and had to be substituted from the game. The goal was Seattle's first goal in 363 minutes as they have struggled, losing five consecutive games and have one victory in their last nine matches.
Zardes netted the equalizer in the 13th minute off of a great pass by Juninho. The Brazilian midfielder found Zardes at the far post and Zardes wisely sent a left-footed show to the opposite post and past the outstretched arms of Stefan Frei.
Keeping in the theme of scoring quickly, the Galaxy burst out of the gates in the second half with a quick goal in the 47th minute. Precision passing set up Galaxy captain Robbie Keane who scored his 11th goal of the season.
A.J. DeLaGarza sent a cross into the box that Dos Santos got a touch on before Keane burst onto the scene and buried it past Frei into the back of the net.
"A.J. sent a good ball in to Gio. Gio's touch went a bit forward, and I just had a striker's instinct to go to the ball and turn and shoot," Keane continued. "Gio's goal was a great play and he made a fantastic run and made it look easy."
Dos Santos made 3-1 Galaxy when Keane sent a through ball to the Mexican native and the sure-footed striker easily blasted a left footed shot from the left side of the box into the bottom right corner of the net.
"I'm very happy for my goal," Dos Santos added. "We have a great team, with a great attitude, with great players, and hopefully we can get a title."
Dos Santos came off the pitch in the 68th minute for super-sub Alan Gordon who was denied a goal minutes later after his right-footed shot from the bottom right corner of the box hit the woodwork.
Robbie Rogers saved a goal in the 71st minute after Rickets came out of his net to make a save and dropped the ball at the far right post that rolled towards the net. Rogers made a diving save to clear the ball giving Seattle a corner.
The Galaxy juggernaut of a starting XI played a 4-4-2 system for most of the game with Keane and Dos Santos up top and Zardes and Sebastian Lletget on the wings.
"This team is exciting," Steven Gerrard said of the starting XI. "Who knows what the future holds, but the talent and ability is there. We have all the tools and I think opposing teams are going to find it difficult to contain us."
While the LA Galaxy quickly climb the Western Conference table, overtaking FC Dallas for second place in the standings, the Sounders find themselves free falling out of the playoff picture altogether.
Seattle played without Clint Dempsey who served a suspension for ripping up an official's notebook and bumping him earlier in the year, was a late scratch with a hamstring injury suffered in practice. Obaemi Martins did not play in the match as he still recovers from a groin injury and Osvaldo Alonso missed the game with a hamstring injury as well.
Dos Santos added an assist with his goal, giving him two goals and an assist through two games in a Galaxy uniform. Dos Sanots also tallied in his LA Galaxy debut on Thursday night in the CONCACAF Champions League game against Central FC.
The crowd gave Dos Santos a thunderous ovation throughout the match, chanting "Gio-vani! Gio-vani!" repeatedly during the game.
LA Galaxy legend David Beckham and Scottish chef Gordon Ramsay watched the match from a luxury suite and received a rousing applause when showed on the jumbotron.
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