Kansas City, KS – The LA Galaxy hit the road this weekend for a truly exciting battle in Kansas City! Before this game started the home team had won the last five meetings between the two and the LA Galaxy had not won at Sporting Park since 2007.
The game started out with Sporting KC really leveraging their attack for the first quarter of the game. They kept pushing forward but were very wasteful with their finishing touches. Sporting KC finished the night with 16 shots total but only one shot on goal. They also failed to convert off of six corner.
At the 30-minute mark Brad Davis scored a wonder goal off a Graham Zusi headed-pass leaving Emmanuel Boateng and and Jelle Van Damme chasing the play. Davis cut back to his favored left foot and curled it around Brian Rowe. The goal was never going to be saved as it landed in the top corner.
The goal seemed to wake up LA as the best scoring chance of the night came just minutes afterward with Giovani Dos Santos being called offside on a very close call. The counter-attack that tied the game up came from a wonder pass by Gyasi Zardes after running 30 yards around the midfield. Zardes freed himself up just enough to send a beautifully weighted pass that caught Dos Santos in stride. Gio gave the ball a nice one-touch and then calmly chipped the ‘keeper who came out to stop him.
The second half kicked off with no changes player wise and saw the LA Galaxy come out with some good possession and decent attacking runs that just didn’t get put together. Van Damme just seemed to be clearing balls and in the correct position all day to help thwart Sporting KC attacks. Better news for LA Galaxy is that he avoided receiving a yellow card in this physical game that means he will not be suspended based on yellow card accumulation for this game.
However, a poor defensive showing and overall performance from Boateng, after coming off a MLS Player of the Week award, didn’t keep the home team away from goal for long. Zusi really tested him for the complete 90 minutes. While Boateng clearly had Zusi beat on speed, he was more than hesitant to run through him or around him most of the time he had the ball.
Perhaps the final nail in the coffin of the LA Galaxy’s hopes of bring back 3 points came when Ashley Cole was time wasting on a throw-in and was called for a yellow card. Normally just a throwaway caution. However, Within 60 seconds of the first yellow, Ashley Cole went in on a tackle (gets ball) and then finds the ankle of a Sporting player. Not sure what he could do about it in the follow through of a slide. A poor ruling, but it probably follows the letter of the law in the rulebook for a yellow card – which was issued. The blame really falls on Ashley Cole for the time wasting yellow he received a minute earlier. Ashley Cole will also be absent for the next game against New England Revolution on May 8th.
“I think our guys did a great job, even when going down to ten men. Some days are going to look like this, but the grind up to get a point here is important. We are pleased with that. I don’t think we played well today. We had a lot of issues with this game today. It’s a point. We are going home. We are not looking back.” Bruce Arena, LA Galaxy Head Coach
Another player who struggled was Mike Magee. Magee was playing out of position in the middle of the field and could not keep the Sporting midfield in check. He was subbed off in the 71st minute for Robbie Rodgers.
The LA Galaxy held it together with 10 men on the field and Sporting KC never had a great scoring chance. LA stayed compact on defense and Brian Rowe was outstanding in goal. Smothering crosses and limiting rebounds.
“Those are the games that we usually gave up a late goal, especially being a man down. Everyone on the field was fighting because we wanted that point. We know how crucial it is, especially this early in a place like Kansas City. It’s a hard-earned point.” AJ DeLaGarza, LA Galaxy Defender
Sporting KC put on a great fight and really came at the Galaxy for the full 90. In looking back out how LA played, they should be very happy bringing back a point. Road points don’t happen often with the Galaxy and the fact the team was down to 10 men makes it even more important. The midfield might have been better served by missing the flight to Kansas City all together. They were the glaring issue with the team for this game but were also missing two starters. This was the first game that Nigel De Jong was really missed (he was serving the last game of his 3 game suspension) and Steve Gerrard was also notable in his absence (Groin Injury). The defense was solid and Rowe was great in his performance.
If you go back and watch the video of the goal you will notice the goal was scored with Zardes taking the ball from the defensive end, dribbling into the midfield, and then blasting the ball to Gio Do Santos to put him in on goal. The whole play basically skipped the midfield all together. The good news for LA is that Nigel DeJong will return against New England and Jermaine Jones now plays for the Colorado Rapids. The Mother’s Day game at StubHub Center this Sunday should be a great game for LA Galaxy to continue its run. They currently stand at a 6 game unbeaten streak.