Leading 3-0 over Columbus Crew in the final seconds of stoppage time Saturday night at Stubhub Center, it was clear there would be no repeat of the comebacks that recently haunted the Galaxy.
But the Galaxy made sure to punctuate the game in style. Romain Alessandrini put the final touch on the game, scoring from the edge of the box to give coach Sigi Schmid’s team a 4-0 victory.
“Even though the last two games were ties they felt like losses,” Schmid said. “It was good to erase that memory.”
The Crew had more early chances, but the Galaxy’s few first-half looks were a greater threat, including a goal disallowed when Giovani dos Santos was called offside as he headed the ball for Zlatan Ibrahimovic to finish.
Three minutes before halftime, the Galaxy had a goal that counted. Jonathan dos Santos and Ashley Cole exchanged passes before Cole slid a pass to Ola Kamara, who got to the ball just ahead of defender Lalas Abubakar and scored into the open net.
A minute later, Gyasi Zardes’ cross bounced into the net off Dave Romney but a video review showed the ball was out of play before Zardes’ cross.
Eight minutes into the second half, Galaxy fans thought they should have had a penalty, as Chris Pontius’ run into the box was stopped by Ricardo Clark’s shoulder to the back. The referee gave only a goal kick.
But soon, the referee would be pointing at the spot. Cole lobbed a high cross in the direction of Ibrahimovic, who was bundled over by Abubakar in the 56th minute. The Swede took the penalty himself and slotted it off the post and in.
Another error from Abubakar made it 3-0. He failed to control the ball with his chest and lost it to Alessandrini on the edge of the box. Alessandrini took the ball left and scored from an angle.
The Crew had a chance to get back in it when a Federico Higuain pass gave Zardes the ball in front of goal, but David Bingham made a save from close range with his left foot, and the two rebounds that followed were blocked.
“That was the mentality, everyone blocking those second chances, we knew we had to step up,” Bingham said.
In the final minute of stoppage time, Pontius passed to Alessandrini on a counterattack and Alessandrini’s 20-yard shot finished off the Crew.
“It’s extremely important to know they have the realization and the confidence that we can do this,” Schmid said. “The last two games can really eat at your confidence.”