Cobi Jones has nothing left to prove as a soccer player, so there can be only one reason why the Galaxy's U.S. national team winger has started the season at such a red-hot pace.
He's enjoying himself.
Goals by Jones in the 70th and 79th minutes in front of a shivering Rose Bowl crowd of 11,921 earned Los Angeles a 3-2 victory over the New York/New Jersey MetroStars Saturday night.
The victory improved Los Angeles' record to 2-0 and put it in first place in Major League Soccer's Western Conference, with road games at Denver, New York and Kansas City next.
Jones, who had three assists in the Galaxy season opener last week, this time found the net himself. Using his speed to crack a tiring MetroStar defense and his right foot to blast the ball past his former U.S. teammate, Tony Meola, in the New York/New Jersey net, Jones turned a 2-1 Galaxy deficit into a victory.
His first goal came when Guatemalan midfielder Martin Machon, inside the Galaxy half, hit a long ball that dropped behind the MetroStar defense. Jones got to it first and, ignoring the defenders closing in one him, struck a low shot that gave Meola no chance.
Nine minutes later, Guillermo Jara, who had come on as a substitute in the 63rd minute, spotted Jones again ready to exploit the MetroStar defense and delivered the perfect pass.
Jones glanced up and pulled the trigger, this time flashing a shot into the bottom left corner of the net and leaving Meola sitting on the ground and staring at his defense in disbelief.
Meola's only consolation for the night was the superb save he had made a few minutes earlier, flinging himself to his left to stop a rocket-like, long-range shot from Greg Vanney.
Six goals in two games indicates that the Galaxy offense is in good shape. Giving up five goals means the same is not true of the defense.
After scoring three goals in what eventually became a shootout victory over the San Jose a week earlier, the Galaxy took less than three minutes to score against the MetroStars.
A combination of passes involving Clint Mathis, Jones, Machon and Eduardo Hurtado resulted in Hurtado chipping a pass into the goal area intended for Machon.
Colombian defender Jose Palacios got to it first but headed it directly into the path of the onrushing Welton, who powered a shot past Meola for his second goal of the season.
Palacios' header was not powerful enough to go safely out of bounds, as it should have done, and fell into an area that former Galaxy player Mark Semioli should have been covering, but wasn't.
Saturday's game was the MetroStars' season opener and the kinks still have to be worked out under new Coach Alfonso Mondelo.
The Galaxy was 14-3 last season when it scored first and 9-2 in games in which the Brazilian scored, so, having taken the lead with Welton's third-minute goal, the omens appeared good.
An equally telling statistic, however, is that Los Angeles was 3-7 a year ago without playmaker Mauricio Cienfuegos. The Salvadoran midfielder sat out the game because of a sore back.
First-round draft choice Mathis started in Cienfuegos' place. The only other change Coach Octavio Zambrano made was to bring Steve Jolley in at right back in place of Paul Caligiuri.
The Galaxy came within inches of making it 2-0 with 15 minutes left in the first half when Danny Pena looped a header just over the crossbar, with Meola relieved to see it narrowly off target.
But with 7:13 to play the MetroStars tied it up. Giovanni Savarese and Paul Dougherty broke through the Galaxy defense on the right, the cross came to Jim Rooney and the midfielder from the Bronx beat Galaxy goalkeeper Kevin Hartman from close range.
Rooney had only been signed by the MetroStars on Friday night as a "discovery player" from the Long Island Rough Riders.
When Hartman botched a save off a Dougherty header in the 58th minute, Savarese was on hand to tap the loose ball into the net from a yard out and make it 2-1 in New York's favor.
Things did not look good for the Galaxy, but then Jones took command and restored the proper order of things.