US Open Cup: Gyasi Zardes, Los Angeles Galaxy Edge Arizona United


May 17, 2014; Houston, TX, USA; Los Angeles Galaxy forward Gyasi Zardes (11) controls the ball during the second half against the Houston Dynamo at BBVA Compass Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Down a goal at halftime to a team formed just 100 days ago, Los Angeles Galaxy manager Bruce Arena ripped into them at the break. When the second half started, the Galaxy responded and dominated that half to defeat Michael Dellorusso’s Arizona United, 2-1 in the fourth round of the 2014 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup at the Peoria Sports Complex in Peoria, Ariz.

With the win, the Galaxy get a chance to finally cast off the team that has ended their Open Cup runs the past two campaigns in the Carolina RailHawks. Here are six things we learned from this U.S. Open Cup match between Arizona United and the Los Angeles Galaxy.

1. Defenses hold firm early

Early on in the first half, both teams were feeling each other out to try and find an opening. A corner in the fourth minute was headed wide right by Arizona’s Kedeem Dacres. Galaxy forward Gyasi Zardes had a chance in the sixth minute sail wide right. A long volley by Arizona defender Scott Morrison did not find anyone in white in the eighth minute. In the 11th minute, Morrison’s volley was collected by Jaime Penedo. A corner by Stefan Ishizaki was cleared. Arizona United goalkeeper Evan Newton delivered the first big save of the night in the 12th minute.

2. More misses from both teams

Gyasi Zardes was having a rough go with his touch and passing, despite the Galaxy dominating the first half early. Ishizaki was denied by Newton in the 19th minute. The ensuing corner was punched aside. Robbie Rogers was cautioned for a foul on Bradlee Baladez in the 20th minute of play. A.J. DeLaGarza denied a dangerous sequence in the 21st minute. Arizona were forced to weather an onslaught of set pieces but were bailed out by match referee Alejandro Mariscal. A dangerous corner in the 29th minute was headed over the bar by the aformentioned Baladez.

3. Gyasi Zardes continues to struggle as Arizona lead

Another dangerous corner by Arizona in the 31st minute went astray. Zardes’s cold night continued in the 33rd minute with a shot missing wide right. Zardes missed a header opportunity in the 35th minute. In the 34th minute, Matt Kassel scored on a breakway to make it 1-0 Arizona. Juninho missed his marker on the Kassel goal. A 40th minute free kick from Ishizaki was saved. Zardes headed another chance wide left in the 44th minute.

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4. Zardes turns back the tide

Early on in the second half, Newton made another save in the 46th minute. In the 51st minute, Robbie Rogers found Zardes, who finally got one to go through to put the scores all level. In the 53rd minute, Zardes got another header in and it was Ishizaki that did the providing. Within the span of three minutes, the Galaxy were making this a wide-open match, leading 2-1.

5. Ishizaki presses the issue

The match settled down after the Zardes brace, with Arizona being forced to chase the game. Another chance for Dacres was collected by Penedo in the 60th minute. In the 61st minute, a shot from Ishizaki was saved by Newton and the post. Ishizaki was continuing to test Newton’s resolve with a number of corners, but they were all misguided. A chance for Chandler Hoffman in the 70th minute missed the mark. Arizona United substitute John Okafor was cautioned in the 74th minute.

6. Penedo stands tall to ice the match

London Woodberry prevented a big counterattack from the Galaxy in the 76th minute. The aformentioned Okafor missed wide left of the mark in the 80th minute of play. Marcelo Sarvas came in to relieve Zardes, who took a knock, in the 83rd minute of play. Dan Gargan was cautioned for persistent infringement in the 84th minute. The ensuing header by Kassel off the set piece went over the bar. Penedo made another big save, this time on Okafor, in the 88th minute. That save right there pretty much summed up the story of the match for Arizona United.

Arizona United Player Ratings

Evan Newton 7, London Woodberry 5, Scott Morrison 6, Tyler Ruthven 6, Winder Saint Cyr 7, Daniel Antunez 5, Kedeem Dacres 5, Matt Kassel 8, Paolo DelPiccolo 5, Benji Lopez 4, Bradlee Baladez 5, Jonathan Okafor 4.5, Brad Stisser NR

Los Angeles Galaxy Player Ratings

Jaime Penedo 7, A.J. DeLaGarza 7, Dan Gargan 6, Robbie Rogers 8.5, Tommy Meyer 7, Baggio Husidic 6, Juninho 5, Stefan Ishizaki 9, Chandler Hoffman 5, Gyasi Zardes 10, Rob Friend 6, Kenney Walker 4, Samuel 3, Marcelo Sarvas NR