Galaxy inch closer to playoffs with Montreal win
CARSON, CA (BDCi TV) – – The Los Angeles Galaxy moved one step closer to securing a playoff spot with a uniquely dominant 1-0 victory over east conference playoff contender Montreal in front of 13,320 at the Stub Hub Center Wednesday night.
The lone goal was made by rookie defender Kofi Opare who started in place of the injured AJ DeLaGarza. In only the 4th start of his MLS career, Opare found himself the lucky winner of a scramble inside the Montreal penalty area in the 68th minute.
The play started with a corner kick from Juninho that found the head of Leonardo whose volley hit far post, dropped to sub Laurent Courtois who passed it out to Jose Villareal whose shot deflected off of starting midfielder Gyasi Zardes and into the vicinity of Opare. The Canadian turned and flicked it past Evan Bush the Impact’s keeper. Then in celebration, Opare pulled off his jersey to reveal an RIP message to a friend who was tragically killed earlier in the day near his home town of Niagara Falls, Ontario.
The Opare goal may not have happened had it not been for Robbie Keane. Due to world cup qualifying, the Irish superstar was a surprise last minute addition to the bench, and his entry into the game as a sub in the 60th minute seemed to infuse energy into the Galaxy attack.
“He played 90 minutes last night in Dublin. I didn’t think we could get 90 minutes out of him tonight. I would have liked to have not played him. His presence was spectacular. He gave the team confidence, energy,” said Galaxy Coach Bruce Arena in the post game conference.
With the win the Galaxy (15-11-6) have 51 points which ties them with Seattle. However due to L.A.’s superior goal differential, the club actually vaulted themselves into 3rd place alone. They only look up a couple points to the conference leader Portland who has 53 points, followed by Real Salt Lake who has 52 points.
Los Angeles plays their last home game of the season Sunday in the California Clasico, the name of the rivalry they enjoy with the San Jose Earthquakes. Coach Arena told reporters after the game to expect both Landon Donovan and Omar Gonzalez to suit up for that game which holds a tremendous amount of importance in terms of the playoff picture.