Gyasi Zardes (pictured) scored in the 75th minute to lift the LA Galaxy over Armenia's FC Shirak, 2-1, in a friendly on February 8, 2014 (Photo: German Alegria)
CARSON, California – CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinalist LA Galaxy got goals from Samuel and Gyasi Zardes to rally for a 2-1 win over FC Shirak, champion of Armenia, on Saturday night in a friendly at the StubHub Center.
The visitors enjoyed good support from among those in the crowd of 12,447, many of whom came from Los Angeles’ large Armenian community. Shirak’s effective touch on short passes gave its fans reason to cheer, but never more enthusiastically than when it took a 35th minute lead.
Davit Hakobyan chipped a ball over the Galaxy's offside trap to Serge Deble, who faked goalkeeper Jaime Penedo to the ground and converted from nine yards into an open net.
Brazilian Samuel made it 1-1 in the 43rd minute. Landon Donovan sent a 28-yard free kick that Omar Gonzalez headed to the Fluminenese loanee, who poked it into the net from three yards.
Zardes, a half-time substitute, put the Galaxy ahead for good with 15 minutes remaining in normal time. A Baggio Husidic effort deflected off a Shirak defender for Zardes to strike low from 19-yards out, beating goalkeeper Artur Harutyunyian at the right post.
Shirak's best chance to level came in the final minute as Hryar Mikoyan’s attempt from 27 yards bounced on a long hop into the midsection of reserve goalkeeper Brian Perk.
The Galaxy, which will face Club Tijuana next month in the CCL quarterfinals, will travel to Mexico for a closed-door scrimmage at Liga MX’s Pumas. It will then meet the San Jose Earthquakes – a fellow CCL quarterfinalist -- in the Central California Clásico in Fresno on Saturday.
NOTES: Shirak, which was eliminated from the 2013-14 UEFA Champions League by Partizan on the away goals rule after a 1-1 aggregate score in their second qualifying round series, is in its winter break.