11 February 2014, 19:31
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Galaxy: FC Shirak was 'better than we expected'

The Los Angeles Galaxy defeated FC Shirak 2-1 in front of 12,447 fans -- more than an estimated 75 percent of which were Armenian -- at the StubHub Center in Carson, Calif. on Saturday.

Serge Deble put Shirak ahead in the 35th minute after a through-pass from Davit Harkobyan exposed a helpless Galaxy goalkeeper. But the Galaxy pulled even in the 42nd minute off of Brazilian Samuel's scoring strike.

Shirak, the reigning Armenian league champions, headed into the game with a 6-4-4 record, and appeared to be in midseason from the onset, controlling much of the game's action. The Armenian faithful loudly booed US National Team star Landon Dononvan every time he touched the ball. But Dononvan had the last laugh as his free kick into the box set up Los Angeles' first goal of the night.

The Galaxy netted the game-winner in the 75th when Zardes nailed one from 20 yards out. This came off the heels of a completely different lineup fielded by the four-time MLS Champions to start the second half. 

After the game, Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena said: “I thought it was a good exhibition. I thought FC Shirak played really well, they put a lot of pressure and they tested us. Obviously they looked like a team that was a little more fit than we were. I think it was a good game. They are very well organized, good pace on the counter. They put our guys in some difficult situations, which is good. I think it was a very good exhibition match at this time of the year, obviously there is a lot of things we have to work on.

"A lot of them, (Tigran Davtyan) was good, pace of (Serge Deble), (Kadio Boris) the center back, (Davit Hakobyan), a bunch of good players. It’s an experienced team, played in Champions Cup and Europa Cup."

Forward Rob Friend added: “It was fun, they were better than we expected. Better than we all expected. ... The flow of the game wasn’t perfect, but overall they were a good opponent, a quick technical team. They gave us a good run.”

When asked about Shirak's style of play, midfielder Stefan Ishizaki added: “When they pressured us you had to be a lot quicker on the ball. The game was a lot faster and you had to move the ball a lot quicker than the scrimmages we played. So it was a completely different game.”

The Galaxy were playing their first game of the preseason.

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