CARSON, Calif. — The LA Galaxy defeated the Columbus Crew 4-0 on Saturday night at the StubHub Center in Carson, Calif., in front of 21,211 fans in attendance. Goals from Ola Kamara and Zlatan Ibrahimovic, plus two from Romain Alessandrini helped the Galaxy overcome a frustrating pattern of draws they’d experienced recently, while earning the team’s fourth clean sheet of the season.
Both Giovani and Jonathan Dos Santos returned to the Galaxy starting lineup, after wrapping up World Cup play with Mexico. Alessandrini began the match from the bench, instead of his usual starting role.
This match also marked the return of former Galaxy player Gyasi Zardes, who played for the team from 2013 until he was traded to Columbus before the start of the 2018 season. Zardes currently leads Columbus in goals, shots and shots on goal.
The flow of the first half heavily leaned in favor of Columbus. In the first half alone, the Crew notched 10 shots, as opposed to the Galaxy’s four. Zardes began the game with high pressure on his former team, and his first opportunity came in the first minute of play. He dribbled through the 18 yard box, only to be managed by Jorgen Skjelvik, the Galaxy centerback.
Kamara answered the increased pressure from Columbus with a clean finish on a cross from Ashley Cole to put the Galaxy ahead in the 42nd minute.
The wind was almost taken out of the Galaxy’s sails in the 43rd minute, as Galaxy defender Dave Romney had a deflection off a Zardes run bounce into the net. The play was reviewed by VAR, however, and the goal was called back. The Crew continued to apply pressure to get a goal before the half, but their attempts were unsuccessful and the half ended with the Galaxy ahead 1-0.
Ibrahimovic doubled the Galaxy’s lead early in the second half. He drew a penalty in the 54th minute against the Crew’s Abubakar, who he’d battled with all game. Ibrahimovic converted the penalty kick with a shot to the lower left corner, just past Columbus goalkeeper Zack Steffen.
Columbus had already used all three of its subs by the 62nd minute, as their head coach, Gregg Berhalter, tried to address his side’s two-goal deficit. To his dismay, Alessandrini, who subbed on for an injured Kamara, scored in the 67th minute to put the Galaxy up by three.
Galaxy head coach Sigi Schmid decided on a defensive substitution in the 71st minute by removing Ibrahimovic from the contest and opting for defender Sheanon Williams. Ibrahimovic had been facing Abubakar throughout the match with increasing animosity, and there was a chance that a yellow card was heading his way.
Midfielder Emmanuel Boateng came into the match in the late stages to provide an additional spark for the Galaxy to close out the match. He replaced Giovani Dos Santos in the 82nd minute.
Alessandrini scored once again from distance in second-half stoppage time to put the Galaxy ahead by four.
In the post game press conference, head coach Sigi Schmid praised his players for management of the game.
“I thought our focus defensively was much better tonight,” Schmid said. “I know we conceded territory a little bit. We conceded possession a little bit, but that was done with a purpose, because we felt we could then have opportunities to counter attack, which we did and obviously did well with those.”
“[David] Bingham came up with a couple of big saves, and the guys were disciplined once we got the lead. We managed the game. We slowed it down at the right times. We went into the corners when we were supposed to, so it was good.”
Looking ahead, the Galaxy will travel to take on the New England Revolution on Saturday at 4:30 p.m. PT at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass.