In any soccer club around the world it is important that two things happen each season:
- You win a trophy.
- You beat your rivals.
The LA Galaxy have done one of the two with the other still TBD. With the 1-1 tie against rivals LAFC, the season series finishes with LAFC failing to beat the Galaxy. The Galaxy beat LAFC in their first ever meeting 4-3 and tied the next time they met at the Banc of California stadium 2-2.
It is not overly ambitious to strive to do both of these achievements every year if you are either of these clubs. LAFC have shown that they have tremendous quality and a front office that is very aggressive in signing top talent and being progressive in their marketing campaigns. The LA Galaxy are the flagship of the MLS for now and have won five MLS Cups and are expected to compete for trophies every year while signing the biggest stars.
You would be hard pressed to find a more gritty performance by this LA Galaxy side this season. After calling themselves “soft” and not deserving of making the playoffs in the past week, there needed to be a response. And respond they did. The Galaxy were without all three of their designated players which put them at a huge disadvantage. However, Sebastian Lletget and Chris Pontius put in workmanlike performances that nearly allowed the Galaxy to hold on to a clean sheet.
Ultimately undone from a play where Ashley Cole gave away possession cheaply followed by an ill advised tackle by Perry Kitchen in the box, the only goal conceded was the penalty by Carlos Vela. David Bingham came up with a huge save on a play where Benny Feilhaber looked to have him beat before Bingham got his fingertips on the ball to tip it away just in time.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic could have had a hat-trick but was stonewalled twice by Tyler Miller in goal for LAFC. However, Zlatan did get the only goal for the LA Galaxy poking it past Miller. The referee needed to go to V.A.R. to determine that it was in fact over the line.
All in all it was a good performance for the LA Galaxy to hold serve at home.
Sigi Schmid. It’s not about getting his subs right or wrong this time, it’s more about his demeanor on the sidelines. During the second half there was a large period of the game where the game hung in the balance and either team could snatch the game. The LA Galaxy were playing sloppy and committing too many unforced turnovers. I would have liked to see Schmid getting on his players during those moments and telling them to play smart and moving pieces around on the field.
Then there was the last 10 minutes of the game where we kept over-committing bodies forward. It nearly cost us the game as LAFC looked like they had numbers up and were going to score on every counter attack. Why Schmid didn’t get on Cole to stop going forward is beyond me! At that point with limited time remaining was a time to be more practical and preserve the point you already had. Once again, no instructions being yelled from the sideline.
Building on This
What a difference a defender makes. Rolf Feltscher, now back off a long injury layoff was solid in the back. He set the tone early on a hard tackle on Diego Rossi. Feltscher picked up a yellow card but it was an early warning that LA Galaxy were taking no prisoners. The Galaxy ended up with five yellow cards in total which was a welcomed sight for this team labeled “soft” by their own teammates.
The defense played hard, but with more communication they could have played even better. They were fortunate that LAFC weren’t sharp in the final third. The same could be said about the LAFC defense but I’m not here to analyze them. I am hopeful that we bring that type of intensity every time we step on the field!
Offensively, the Galaxy players must understand that if they have a chance to finish, they must take it. At times in the final third they were more interested in setting up Zlatan than they were taking the shot themselves. The more they are contributing, the more Zlatan will be open, and we all know what he can do when he’s open.
Saturday September, 1, 7:00 p.m. vs Real Salt Lake, Rio Tinto Stadium.
Real Salt Lake are tied on points with LA Galaxy but have a game in hand. This is a HUGE game and could potentially be a six point swing.
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