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Galaxy reserves show their stuff in 4-0 win

They played in the same stadium as the Galaxy and they wore the same uniforms.

But that’s pretty much the extent of the similarities between Major League Soccer’s defending champion and the 11 impostors who started Wednesday in the CONCACAF Champions League win over the Puerto Rico Islanders at the Home Depot Center.

Landon Donovan and Robbie Keane were there, but they watched the game in street clothes. And although David Beckham put a uniform on, he also was a spectator, marking only the third time in more than a year that all three of the Galaxy’s brightest stars sat out together.

In their place was a lineup that featured 10 Americans, nine of them age 23 or younger.

Not that it mattered much with Tommy Meyer, Jose Villarreal, Jack McBean and Michael Stephens — who have 10 MLS starts among them this season — each scoring to give the Galaxy a 4-0 victory, moving it a big step closer to winning its group and advancing to the knockout round of the 24-team tournament.

And that made it a good night for Galaxy Coach Bruce Arena, who got both an easy win and some needed playing time for reserves.

“Our team’s come a long way. And all these players — the young ones — have really developed well,” he said. “We were very confident in these guys. And that’s the reason they played tonight. Because we thought they could beat this team.

"[But] if you’d asked me before the game would I expect to win 4-0, I would certainly have said no.”

The Galaxy took a 1-0 lead on Meyer’s header in the seventh minute, but it was Villarreal and McBean, a pair of Southern California teenagers whose combined age is two years younger than Beckham’s 37, who put the game away with second-half goals.

Stephens closed out the scoring with eight minutes left in regulation time. By then Arena had even found a way to get Edson Buddle, sidelined since May by minor surgery on his right knee, on the field.

kevin.baxter@latimes.com


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