The LA Galaxy handed ten-man Colorado Rapids their seventh consecutive defeat with a ruthless 6-0 home success in Major League Soccer.
Joe Nasco’s 31-second appearance was halted by the earliest red card in the division’s history, and the Galaxy proceeded to win at a canter. Landon Donovan, Baggio Husidic and Gyasi Zardes netted in the first half, before the trio all scored again after the break.
Each goal-scorer dedicated their strikes to the family of teammate AJ DeLaGarza, whose son Luca died this week having been born with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome.
Dominant from the off
While Bruce Arena’s men last tasted defeat at the StubHub Center on the opening weekend of the season, Colorado haven’t won on the road since April and have collected only nine points away from Commerce City all year. Therefore, it was no surprise when Los Angeles managed a first attack with the ticker-tape still falling.
However, few could have predicted that this early foray would see the hosts take the lead and their opponents reduced to ten men. After fumbling Todd Dunivant’s low centre, Nasco failed to recover the ball from Alan Gordon, instead hauling down the giant forward. With the visiting goalkeeper dismissed, Donovan coolly dinked his spot-kick past stand-in stopper Clint Irwin.
The Galaxy immediately set about making the most of their numerical advantage, and following a pair of Irwin saves, Omar Gonzalez battered Donovan’s delivery towards the corner, but found a defender alert on the line. It was only a matter of time before the lead was doubled though, and when Zardes dummied Gordon’s flick, Husidic was able to slot beyond Irwin inside the far post.
LA continued to press, though several unfortunate ricochets meant that they weren't able to threaten the target again until the final minute of the first half. Then, with the Rapids ready to retreat to the sanctuary of their dressing room, Donovan turned Husidic’s pass into Zardes’ path, and the 23-year-old side-footed his 13th of 2014 into the net.
Same story in the second half
And within a minute of the restart, the Californians were awarded another penalty. Having failed to carry the ball clear of danger, Chris Klute clumsily tripped Zardes, presenting Donovan with another chance from 12 yards. He clinically dispatched a finish to Irwin’s right, marking his score-card for a second time.
MLS’ most potent front-line were showing no their guests no mercy, and could have added another when Gordon narrowly missed after reaching Stefan Ishizaki’s wayward hack.
Brian Rowe had been untested up to this point, but superbly beat away Edson Buddle’s powerful drive as the Western Conference strugglers finally came forward for the first time. Though the same man’s close-range lash was then repelled, this spell wasn’t to last long, with Husidic soon rattling the upright with a volley.
Zardes wasn’t finished for the night either, and he nodded in Ishizaki’s cross to rack up a record tally for a Homegrown star. Once Marcelo Sarvas and Chandler Hoffman had both come close, it was Husidic’s turn to double his return. Donovan slipped in the Bosnian, who placed the ball into the corner to wrap up the scoring.
While Colorado’s campaign goes from bad to worse, the Galaxy’s rampant form is a worry for their title rivals, with this their fifth straight victory.