LA Galaxy defeated Armenian club FC Shirak 2-1 in front of 12,447 fans at StubHub Center on Saturday February 8, 2014.

The reigning Armenian league champions took the lead in the 35th minute on a goal from Serge Deble. However, LA pulled level in the 42nd minute when the Brazilian striker Samuel pounced on a loose ball in the box and fired a shot into the back of the net. But it was Zardes’ turn to play the hero in the 75th minute when he launched a confident strike beyond the penalty area that sailed past the Shirak goalkeeper Artur Harutyunyan and into the net.

galaxy-shirak1Shirak controlled the tempo early in what was a back-and-forth first half. Shirak made the Galaxy pay in the 35th minute when Davit Hakobyan played a through-ball to Deble down the right flank. The Ivorian touched the ball past a charging Jaime Penedo and fired a shot into an empty net for the opening goal. Samuel equalized less than 10 minutes later when Landon Donovan fired a free kick that was knocked down by Omar Gonzalez to the foot of the Brazilian who calmly placed a shot by Harutyunyan.

Although Shirak continued to threaten, it was the Galaxy that took the lead in the 75th minute when second half substitute Baggio Hušidić saw his shot blocked by a Shirak defender, which fell perfectly for Zardes, who confidently slotted a shot from 20 yards into the back of the net for the game-winner.

Shirak threw numbers forward in search of a late equalizer, but saw their attempt at a comeback extinguished in the waning moments when a shot from Aram Muradyan was saved by Brian Perk.

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