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Galaxy Outplays Fire With Convincing 2-0 Win

BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. – Mike Magee and Landon Donovan tallied goals for the Los Angeles Galaxy to give the club a 2-0 win over the Chicago Fire. The Galaxy dominated in their performance, not allowing the Fire to register a single shot on goal.

Los Angeles improved to 8-4-10 (34 points) on the season and jumped into second place in the West. Chicago fell to 9-5-8 (35 points), but remain in second place in the East.

First Half

Even without David Beckham, who was serving a red-card suspention, the Galaxy showed their willingness to come out and make a game of it. Mike Magee challenged Fire goalkeeper Jon Busch in the seventh minute. However, Busch jumped up and tackled the ball before it became dangerous. Five minutes later, Magee shot a low ball toward goal. Busch grabbed it for the save.

The third time was a charm for Magee. In the 23rd minute, Jovan Kirovski crossed the ball to Magee, who dodged Fire defender Dasan Robinson, cutting the ball back excellently. With the open space he created, Magee then struck the ball into the lower right corner of the net, for a 1-0 Galaxy lead.

Chicago had its best opportunity of he first half five minutes later, when John Thorrington broke away from the pack. Thorrington raced toward goal, passing the ball to Patrick Nyarko on the right side of the box. Nyarko crossed it into the box, where Cuauhtemoc Blanco sent it over the bar.

In the 34th minute, Landon Donovan made a run. Fire defender Wilman Conde took the ball away before Donovan got a clear look at goal. On the counterattack, Thorrington was fouled for a Chicago freekick. Galaxy defender Omar Gonzalez knocked the ball out of harm’s way.

A Kirvoski dive in the 43rd minute didn’t receive a call. But as the Fire raced down the pitch, Stefani Miglioranzi took down Blanco, earning a yellow card. Wilman Conde headed the ball just over the bar in first-half stoppage time, keeping the Galaxy’s 1-0 advantage alive going into half-time.

Second Half

Los Angeles replaced midfielder Dema Kovalenko, who was bothered by a heel injury, with veteran Chris Klein at the start of the second half.

The change didn't adversely affect the California squad. Donovan doubled the lead for Los Angeles in the 55th minute. With most of Chicago's players pushed up in search of an equalizer, Donovan contested for a header in midfield, managing to knock it to Kirovski to start a counterattack. Kirovski knocked the ball wide to Magee, who spotted Donovan off to the races and forwarded the ball to the speedy forward. Donovan outraced the chasing defenders and drilled the ball past Busch with a low shot for a 2-0 lead.

The Galaxy’s Klein headed another opportunity right at Busch in the 58th minute, who blocked the shot.

Chicago’s John Thorrington received a yellow card in the 61st minute and will miss the Fire’s next match due to yellow card accumulation. Three minutes later, Thorrington shot the ball toward goal. It bounced off LA defender AJ de la Garza for a Fire corner kick, but that was cleared away.

Mike Banner entered the match for Brandon Prideaux in the 64th minute, while Justin Mapp came on for Logan Pause. Neither substitute was able to make much of a positive impact for the Fire.

Los Angeles nearly extended their lead when defender Omar Gonzalez headed a Donovan corner attempt wide right in the 70th minute.

Chicago’s Marco Pappa shot the ball wide left in the 78th minute, continuing the futility for the Fire. Chicago then brought on some fresh legs with Stefan Dimitrov entering the match for Chris Rolfe. Dimitrov found some room in the 81st minute, but was ruled offside.

The Galaxy had a scare in the 83rd minute. Galaxy goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts jumped up for a save and collided with Chicago’s Stefan Dimitrov. Both players fell to the pitch. Ricketts was carted off the pitch on a stretcher. Josh Saunders entered the match as his replacement, making his first appearance since July 16th – a 3-1 win over New York.

Saunders managed to hold off the Fire’s weak offense, preserving the Galaxy’s sixth shutout of the season in a match where Donovan tallied his team-leading 10th goal, and Magee added his team-high sixth assist.

Kathryn L. Knapp,

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