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LA Galaxy Leave Room for Improvement Following Loss to Atlanta United

Sebastian Lletget of the LA Galaxy tries to drive past Atlanta United defender | Photo by Jorge Galvez for LA Soccer Nation | April 21, 2018

The LA Galaxy now have three losses on the season after their latest defeat to Atlanta United 2-0 at home on Saturday.

But is it time to panic? No. Not even close.

“I think we have to stick together. We are better than that. We have to move forward and we have to give more.” – Romain Alessandrini

The three losses have come against arguably the three best teams in the MLS this season. Sporting Kansas City, NYCFC, and Atlanta United who sit in 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place in the league respectively and those account for all of the LA Galaxy losses this season. After the game, rumors of a head coaching change made its way around, as well as a muted and awkward feeling in the locker room which made me reflect about the season so far.

Yes, it would be nice to see some consistency, however, the LA Galaxy are nowhere near healthy yet and have shown flashes of what this team WILL be before the seasons end.

Offensive Struggles

Ola Kamara who has been struggling because of playing out of position summed up the problem “We always want to go out and create chances and score a lot of goals. That’s something we’ll address this week. We’ll get together because we have to start scoring goals.”

Nailed it.

They have to start scoring goals more consistently. It’s not good enough to get shut out at home like they have been twice. It’s not good enough for the team to have scored one goal in the last three games.

LA Galaxy

LA Galaxy attacker Romain Alessandrini against Atlanta United Darlington Nagbe | Photo by Jorge Galvez for LA Soccer Nation | April 21, 2018

Once again, I needed to reflect and take a look as to why. The following players are not fully fit yet: Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Romain Alessandrini, Jonathan dos Santos, Giovani dos Santos, Sebastian Lletget, and Bradford Jamieson IV. It’s crazy to think that despite all of this, the LA Galaxy have managed to still position themselves in 4th place in the Western Conference.

Midfield Play

The service from the midfield has been lacking in the past three games. In the game against Atlanta, on a scale of 1-10, 10 being the best, the service from the midfield to the forwards was a two. The chart below is the distribution chart for Baggio Husidic and Perry Kitchen; it’s easy to point out the lack of passes from the central midfielders to the forwards, that is a huge problem.

Baggio Husidic and Perry Kitchen pass chart. Courtesy of

Compare this with the amount of passes Atlanta center midfielders Darlington Nagbe and Jeff Larentowicz connected and how many of those passes were in advanced positions.

Darlington Nagbe and Jeff Larentowicz pass chart LA Galaxy vs Atlanta United. Courtesy of

Getting midfielders healthy should help change this disparity. Coach Sigi Schmid echoed this sentiment “It’s not clicking, because the rest of the service isn’t quite there. We haven’t been able to step on the field and have all ten players have a good game at the same time.” The coach, players, and fans can’t wait for this team to get fully healthy to see what they really have.

Playing from Behind

In three of the four home games for the LA Galaxy this season, they have fallen behind first. They have only won one of those games in the memorable epic comeback versus Los Angeles Football Club. Ibrahimovic was quick to point this out “Now we’ve played three games at home and every game we’ve been chasing the game. It’s not easy. The first half wasn’t good. We were disorganized. We made too many simple mistakes. The second was much better, but still we chased the game. It’s different when you chase the goals.”

LA Galaxy

LA Galaxy forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic attempting to provide a service through the Atlanta United defense | Photo by Jorge Galvez for LA Soccer Nation | April 21, 2018

The LA Galaxy have proven that they are good enough to come from behind to get a result, but it would make life so much easier if they nabbed the first goal. All players agreed that they thought they started the game well and then Atlanta shifted into another gear that they couldn’t match. These are growing pains that this new group needs to understand and fix as the season moves on.

So, the formula is that simple? Yes, yes it is. Score first, the LA Galaxy have two wins in two games when they score first.

Next Game

The LA Galaxy next face the New York Red Bulls on Saturday night at home. NYRB is a team that has also struggled to find consistency, but it is excused since they were also competing in the CONCACAF Champions League before falling to Chivas of Liga MX.

With plenty of room for improvement, and a worthy opponent, hopefully the LA Galaxy can jump out of the gates strong again and this time add a goal!

LA Galaxy vs NYRB Saturday, April 28. StubHub Center 7:30pm.

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Gabriel Montoya
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