In a game billed as the battle of the stars, it was the club with five stars representing their five league championships that came out on top as the LA Galaxy routed New York City FC, 5-1 at the StubHub Center.

The matchup that featured big names on both sides such as Steven Gerrard, Robbie Keane, Giovani Dos Santos, David Villa, Frank Lampard, and Andrea Pirlo.

But when the whistle blew and the ball was kicked, it was an absolute clinic for the defending champions.

Gyasi Zardes opened the scoring with a header off a cross from Robbie Keane in the 36th minute on quick play that caught NYC’s defense napping, giving Los Angeles the lead heading into halftime.

In the second half, the floodgates opened.

Giovani Dos Santos found Keane on a free run on goal who then chipped former teammate Josh Saunders for a 2-0 lead in the 57th minute.  Ten minutes later, Dos Santos put one home on a breakaway after another New York turnover to make it 3-0.  Sebastian Lleget all but put the game away in the 70th to put LA up 4.

David Villa was able to score a consolation goal for the visitors on a penalty kick in the 80th.  Not a minute later, though, Keane once again scored to put the final touches on a fantastic performance.

It also gave the Galaxy 1000 goals as a club, the first MLS team to accomplish such a feat.

There was some intrigue in the first 15 minutes of this one.  New York manager Jason Kreis, who previously coached Galaxy rivals Real Salt Lake, used his familiarity of LA to his advantage.  To win in Los Angeles, he employed his team to keep possession.  It worked well as David Villa had a few half chances towards goal.

From then on, however, it all started to fall apart.  Bad giveaways in New York’s midfield gave the Galaxy the ball which led to a number of chances in the box.  Lleget attempted a shot from the left side that was saved.  Robbie Keane came close with an attempt that hit the top of the crossbar.  It was only a matter of time before the breakthrough goal arrived.

As I outlined in my preview for this match, both teams are on completely different sides of the coin and it was apparent here.

As a fan, I was hoping for an exciting match.  I knew to expect the usual brilliance from the link up play between Steven Gerrard, Dos Santos, and Keane.

However, I also hoped that somehow, someway, New York City would figure out a solution to the Galaxy puzzle and break through the LA defense.  Andrea Pirlo, Frank Lampard, and Villa would put their heads together and find a way to link up successfully.  It just didn’t happen.

AJ DelaGarza, Leonardo, and Omar Gonzalez defense held Villa down.  Mix Diskerud was ineffective.  Pirlo couldn’t get things going.  Frank Lampard didn’t even play.  Gerrard and Juninho controlled the midfield.  Los Angeles sent numbers forward consistently with Lleget, Zardes, and Robbie Rogers.  The continuity and familiarity that the Galaxy stars had along with their homegrown players was just way too much for the expansion team to overcome.

The LA Galaxy now sit on top of the Western Conference and the Supporters’ Shield race with 46 points.  New York City sits at 7th in the East, tied with the Montreal Impact (6th) and fellow expansion club Orlando City (8th) with 28 points.

About The Author

NBA & MLS writer for Game 7 Network. Former host of The Half Court Heave Podcast, and was a writer for Laker Nation. LA-born, Philippine-raised, Las Vegas-living.

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