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Galaxy Turns to Donovan Again

Times Staff Writer

Relying heavily on a single player can be part of a recipe for disaster in any sport that stresses team play.

For the Galaxy, it seems to be the ingredient for shaking out of a season-long funk.

Landon Donovan, making his first appearance at home after a disappointing performance at the World Cup in Germany, scored the lone goal in a 1-0 victory over the New York Red Bulls at the Home Depot Center on Tuesday night.

The performance comes on the heels of Donovan’s two-goal effort that vaulted the Galaxy to a victory at Kansas City on Saturday and helped end the team’s 10-game winless streak.

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“We’ve dug ourselves a deep hole, but we are climbing our way out,” Donovan said.

The victory was the Galaxy’s first at home this season. It also moved the Galaxy (4-10-3) out of the Western Conference cellar, a spot now occupied solely by Real Salt Lake.

In the 65th minute, Peter Vagenas wrested a free ball and pushed it ahead to a streaking Donovan. New York defenders Marvell Wynne and Jeff Parke were flanking Donovan, but his shot just outside the penalty box squirted past New York goalie Tony Meola.

Galaxy Coach Frank Yallop said he wasn’t worried about Donovan carrying too much of the offensive load.

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“It’ll change some soon,” the coach said. “Other guys had some opportunities to score tonight.”

New York (2-5-8), with one victory in its last eight matches, is winless in three games under interim Coach Richie Williams. He took over on June 27 for the fired Mo Johnston.

The teams played to a scoreless first half, although both goalkeepers were kept fairly busy, the Galaxy registering six shots and New York four.

The Galaxy’s best opportunity came in the 29th minute when Donovan sent a corner kick into the penalty box. Meola deflected Chris Albright’s header and the rebound was momentarily loose, but a skirmish around the net resulted in a yellow card called on Galaxy defender Ugo Ihemelu.

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The Galaxy achieved its third consecutive shutout on a three-save effort by Kevin Hartman.

“I just think everyone is coming in here with a really positive attitude and working hard for it,” Hartman said. “We realize if we keep a clean sheet we can get wins instead of ties.”


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