CARSON, Calif. – In one of the more impressive Major League Soccer (MLS) debuts in recent memory, Giovani dos Santos had a goal and an assist to lead the Los Angeles Galaxy to a 3-1 victory over the Seattle Sounders Sunday afternoon.
Not only did Dos Santos set up team captain Robbie Keane for the tiebreaking goal in the 47th minute, but he also sealed the deal with his first L.A. Galaxy goal in the 64th minute.
He controlled a beautifully-placed ball by Keane to find the back of the net against Stefan Frei.
Seconds into the match – while the confetti from the player introductions were still floating and settling onto the field – Seattle’s Chad Barrett gave the Sounders an unexpected lead. Soon after in the 13th minute, however, Gyasi Zardes tied the match up at one goal apiece courtesy of a Juninho diagonal.
Sounders had gone scoreless for the previous 362 minutes of action, having been shut out in their last four matches.
Two minutes into the second half, dos Santos’ deceptive back pass led to Keane’s first and only goal of the game, breaking a deadlock after the first half of play. He later struck his first MLS goal (64′) to provide the margin of victory.
“I feel very happy,” dos Santos said after the win. “I think it was a difficult game. We conceded a very early goal in the first half, but I think the team did a great job. I’m happy for my goal and the victory for the team.”
A sellout crowd of 27,000 fans yelled in elation as the Galaxy continue to make strides on a daily basis.
“It is no surprise to me because he is a top player and top players are that quick,” Steven Gerrard said about dos Santos. “He settled in really well, seems at home and happy, and I’m sure there are going to be many more magical moments from Gio, so we are very pleased with him.”
Given dos Santos’ No. 10 jersey number and his ability to play in he midfield, the World Cup performer will have plenty to give to the Galaxy and its fans. Dos Santos spent the last two seasons in La Liga with Villareal.
“When you score a goal and he got that assist as well, what more do you want from him? He’s not 100 percent fit, he’s probably 80 with the conditions as well,” Keane said about dos Santos. “But as you seen, in the first 20 minutes, they got the goal and then we just sat back and made it difficult for us. The last 20 minutes of the first half, you could see signs as we were getting the ball to Gio’s feet quickly and he was causing a few problems. Then in the second half, as soon as we got that early goal, it was game over in the way that we played. Gio got his goal, not an easy finish, it was a good finish.”
Dos Santos became just the fourth L.A. Galaxy player to record a goal and an assist in his MLS debut (Steven Gerrard, Andreas Herzog, Sasha Victorine).
Seattle featured absolutely no designated players after scratching both Clint Dempsey and Obafemi Martins for the marquee matchup against L.A. Dempsey is nursing a strained hamstring; Martins is still recovering from a groin injury.
“Stevie’s been around for a while and you can see his experience, professionalism, and his sheer talent,” coach Bruce Arena said. “I thought in the second half he and Juninho played very well and helped us take control of the game. [Giovani] dos Santos is going to take a little bit of time but I think already the chemistry with his teammates is good. He’s going to be a terrific player and I think the next couple of weeks he is going to get full fitness and really fit in well with our team. I am pleased with the addition of those two players.”
The Galaxy visit FC Dallas on Saturday.
LA Galaxy 3, Seattle Sounders FC 1
Sunday, August 9, 2015
MLS Regular Season
StubHub Center – Carson, California
SEA – Chad Barrett (Assisted By: Erik Friberg) 1′
LA – Gyasi Zardes (Assisted by Juninho) 13’
LA – Robbie Keane (Assisted by Giovani dos Santos, A.J. DeLaGarza) 47’
LA – Giovani dos Santos (Assisted by Robbie Keane, Sebastian Lletget) 64’
SEA – Erik Friberg (caution) 38’
LA – Oniel Fisher (caution) 62’
LA Galaxy: Donovan Ricketts; A.J. DeLaGarza, Leonardo, Omar Gonzalez, Robbie Rogers; Gyasi Zardes (Rafael Garcia 90’+1), Steven Gerrard, Juninho, Sebastian Lletget (Ignacio Maganto. 89’); Giovani dos Santos (Alan Gordon 69’), Robbie Keane ©.
Substitutions not used: Brian Rowe, Tommy Meyer, Dan Gargan, Kenney Walker.
TOTAL SHOTS: 17; SHOTS ON GOAL: 7; FOULS: 12; OFFSIDE: 0; CORNER KICKS: 7; SAVES: 4.
Seattle Sounders FC: Stefan Frei; Zach Scott, Chad Marshall, Tyrone Mears, Dylan Remick (Darwin Jones 77’), Erik Friberg, Thomas (Oniel Fisher 60’), Brad Evans ©, Andy Rose, Lamar Neagle, Chad Barrett (Cristhian Roldan 5’).
Substitutions not used: Victor Mansally, Michael Azira, Troy Perkins, Gonzalo Pineda.
TOTAL SHOTS: 9; SHOTS ON GOAL: 6; FOULS: 5; OFFSIDE: 5; CORNER KICKS: 4; SAVES: 4.
Referee: Jair Marrufo
Referee’s Assistants: Corey Rockwell and Felisha Mariscal
4th Official: Nima Saghafi