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LA Galaxy Stumble In Home Opener

LA Galaxy Jermaine Jones Curt Onalfo
Jermaine Jones and Curt Onalfo after the LA Galaxy match on March 4, 2017 | Photo by Jorge Galvez of LA Soccer Nation

The LA Galaxy were lucky enough to get their first game of the 2017 MLS season at home. Unfortunately it happened to be against FC Dallas, the best team during the regular season last year in the MLS. But that didn’t stop the fans from showing their love and support!

Despite already having one of the best teams in the MLS, Dallas added 13 new players to their roster and still boast the youngest team in the league. Dallas is expected to once again be at the top of the league despite their star man Mauro Diaz still being out from his achilles surgery.

FC Dallas team photo on March 4, 2017 | Photo by Jorge Galvez at LA Soccer Nation

The Galaxy on the other hand are still a conundrum and a work in progress. With so many new pieces, moving parts, and injuries, this years version of the Galaxy are not expected to hit the ground running. This team has plenty of room to grow which is encouraging, but they may be too far behind in the standings by the time they make their run and figure it out.

LA Galaxy team photo on March 4, 2017 | Photo by Jorge Galvez for LA Soccer Nation

Positive Reaction

From the LA Galaxy’s perspective it wasn’t the worst performance or result despite it being a loss at home. They went toe to toe with arguably what’s going to be the best team in the MLS this season. They were not outplayed in the game as a whole, Galaxy head coach Curt Onalfo agreed,

“I thought we played well enough to get points out of the game.”

The partnership between Jermaine Jones and João Pedro will only get better as will integrating Romain Alessandrini into the attack. Captain Jelle Van Damme showed his mettle winning multiple vital tackles throughout the game and marauding forward when necessary to spark the attack.

Jermaine Jones of the LA Galaxy vs FC Dallas March 4, 2017 | Photo by Jorge Galvez at LA Soccer Nation

From the FC Dallas perspective, coach Oscar Pareja couldn’t have asked for a better performance, “I like the three points obviously. Just starting off on the right foot with such a great performance”. StubHub Center is never an easy place to play for opposing teams but Dallas has enough quality in their side to go on the road and cause problems to any team in the MLS.

The way Dallas took initiative in this game was excellent and seeing Maximiliano Urruti and Kellyn Acosta get on the score sheet in the first game of the season is a welcomed sign. Hernán Grana may have given up the penalty kick (which replays showed it was not a PK), but his work rate offensively and defensively was outstanding.

Roland Lamah showed that he is not afraid to take players off the dribble on the wings and in open space. Walker Zimmerman and Matt Hedges continue to make the argument for the best center-back tandem in the league. With Diaz coming back to the team around mid season, Dallas looks to be a monster this season.

Negative Reaction

I’ll start with Dallas since the list is shorter. Cristian Colmán wasted a couple of early attacks for Dallas. His poor touch let him down on a 1-on-1 with Los Angeles goalkeeper Brian Rowe, and he wrongly chose to go for a chip shot after Dallas won the ball in a very dangerous area. However, I’m nitpicking here as the truth was FC Dallas was really fantastic on the day.

Los Angeles had a bunch of minor things that need to be fixed moving forward. I cannot stress enough that the Galaxy are a team that is growing and aren’t anywhere near their peak potential yet.

Romain Alessandrini of the LA Galaxy vs FC Dallas on March 4, 2017 | Photo by Jorge Galvez for LA Soccer Nation

  1. Defenders for the Galaxy were making a lot of last ditch tackles which tells me that the midfield was getting played through too easily, especially in the first half.
  2. Offensive efficiency in the final third needs to be worked on. Every possession in that area needs to end in a cross or a shot. Too many times the Galaxy get it into that area and then pass the ball backwards and end up losing the ball somewhere in the build up.
  3. João and Jones were booked early in the first half. Both midfielders needed to be more disciplined with their tackles so that they can play more physical if necessary in the second half of games.
  4. Rafael Garcia needs to work on his 1 on 1 defending from the 18-yard box down on the wings. He was continually beaten against the Portland Timbers last week and Michael Barrios beat him with ease in their encounter in this game.
  5. Giovani dos Santos needs to be more consistent. There are large periods of the game where you forget that Gio is even on the field. He had one shot that had to be saved by Chris Seitz, but other than that he rarely threatened the Dallas defense. Coach Onalfo has to figure out a way to put Gio in more dangerous areas of the attack.
  6. More crosses into the box. It is a simple concept; get the ball out wide, and swing in crosses. However, the Galaxy failed to do this consistently. They started big target forward Jack McBean, so it is confusing to me as to why that he was not more integrated into the game plan. Playing pretty build up is great, but with the talent the Galaxy has on the wings, they should try spreading teams out first and then trying to play through the middle after they’ve established a wide game.
  7. Stop the Sebastian Lletget at right back experiment right now! Lletget’s best qualities are his ability to get into dangerous areas on the wings in the offensive third and to beat players 1-on-1. As the outside fullback he does not have the opportunity to do that and instead just collects lay-offs and swings in crosses. Coach Onalfo needs to work on going to some sort of 3-4-3 variation when chasing a game while the Galaxy continue to wait for players to come back from injury.

Giovani dos Santos during LA Galaxy vs FC Dallas on March 4, 2017 | Photo by Jorge Galvez for LA Soccer Nation

The Galaxy will be looking to turn it around next week against a very talented Timbers team who thrashed Minnesota United 5-1 to open the season on Friday.

LA Galaxy vs Portland Timbers. Sunday March 12, at 4:00 p.m. at StubHub Center.

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Gabriel Montoya
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