CARSON, CA – The LA Galaxy, in an uninspiring performance away to New York City FC, gave up a David Villa goal in the 6th minute that would prove to be the game winner. On the replay, the linesman on the far side missed Villa in a blatant offside position before he collected a deflection off of Galaxy keeper Clement Diop and buried it in the back of the net for the game’s only goal.
After the first 15 minutes, it looked as if LA had found a response to New York’s attack, swapping Dos Santos and Zardes on the wings for most of the remainder of the half. Zardes’s work rate more than filled the gaps and the Eastern Conference leaders were forced to look elsewhere for their shots. The Galaxy did see a few chances in the first half, including a Jelle Van Damme header that went wide in the 19th minute, and a Nigel de Jong bicycle kick at the top of the penalty area that Josh Saunders nudged away from the goal with a fingertip save.
In the second half, the Galaxy initially came out and made a show of being interested in winning the game, maintaining some solid possession and pressuring New York’s defense during the first few minutes, but they generally looked sluggish throughout most of the half. Second half substitutions Sebastian Lletget (Husidic, 63′), Mike Magee (Zardes, 79′), and Emmanuel Boateng (De Jong, 84′) did restore some energy to the LA attack. The two best chances for LA to even the score came late in the half. Keane missed a header in front of an open net in the 71st minute, and left footed shot from Van Damme off of a Gerrard cross in the 82nd.
Bright spots for the Galaxy include the performance of Clement Diop in his 1st MLS appearance and his 4th overall for the first team. He had six saves and demonstrated both courage and quality decision making in his debut. Galaxy fans should feel confident in the team’s goalkeeping situation for the next several years. Gyasi Zardes put in nearly 80 minutes of solid work today, going not just box-to-box but end line to end line and doing his share not only on the attack but on defense as well. Jelle Van Damme
and AJ De La Garza both made forays forward, making some quality overlapping runs to support the attack.
Whether it was the humidity in New York today (68%), the narrow field, or the formation choice, Keane struggled to get his feet on the ball during most of the game as he was isolated and alone up front as the solitary striker. Both his performance and Gio’s might have been improved by pairing De Los Santos up front with Keane, or moving Zardes up front and slotting Dos Santos in behind them. The Galaxy attack didn’t have much energy throughout most of the match, and manager Bruce Arena will need to have a hard look at the tactical situation before the LA’s next match against Chicago on Wednesday.
Los Angeles finished the game out shot by NYCFC 18-11, and with 1 shot on target versus City’s 7. Their away record is now 3-4-5, having scored 14 goals and given up 13, and Bruce Arena still sits one short of the 200-win mark. Today’s loss ends LA’s 9 match unbeaten streak, and their record over the last 10 MLS games stands at 6-1-3. They drop to fifth in the Western Conference and face Chicago this Wednesday at 5:30p PDT.