In a season of embarrassment, the LA Galaxy (seem to be dedicated to making the next game worse. And that was again the case in their 4-0 loss to Atlanta United in the first-ever meeting between the two teams at newly opened Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
Coming off a 4-0 loss to Toronto FC and post-game meeting that was intended to shake up the locker room, this was the exact opposite of the response that was needed at the end of a very poor season.
The Galaxy have now tied their 21-year old franchise record for losses in a season, 16 (1997 – a season where they also had 16 wins; shootout era), and will most certainly set a new mark for fewest points per game where they sit with a franchise-low 0.93 PPG (Previous low was 2008 at 1.10 PPG).
And realistically, even with as bad as they’ve played throughout this season, it should’ve been a better showing.
The Galaxy, while dealing with the likely season-ending injury to Daniel Steres, did get Romain Alessandrini and Jermaine Jones back into the lineup after both were suspended for yellow card accumulation.
But Jones would have a short stay on the field. He’d be sent off in the 39th-minute when he kicked-out at an Atlanta player after being taken down. The Galaxy, at this point, were already down by three goals, but it showed how poor the decision-making was from the club’s captain and why his time with the Galaxy may and should be limited to the end of the season.
Jelle Van Damme also made similar mistakes throughout the season and finding a reliable captain to wear the armband seems to be near impossible for the Galaxy.
Atlanta, to their credit, were exhilarating to watch and clinical in taking advantage of turnovers by the Galaxy in the first half.
While Josef Martinez scored the first goal in the 13th-minute with a great pull back run off of Dave Romney’s shoulder, it was a horrible pass from Gyasi Zardes, in the general vicinity of Jonathan dos Santos, that turned a promising attack into a dangerous counter-attack and a goal.
With great team passing, Yamil Asad was easily able to put Atlanta’s second and third goals (16′, 20′) into the back of the net. Both Ashley Cole and Emmanuel Boateng easy victims for the quick and darting passes that simply tore the defense apart. And Jon Kempin, despite a big save on the first Asad goal, couldn’t keep it out of the back of the net.
Michael Ciani – making just his second start for the Galaxy – is still a work in progress. Looking more in preseason form than a man capable of holding down a defense that is pieced together with string and medical training tape.
But again, in the 43rd-minute, the Galaxy can point to a key turnover from Jonathan dos Santos that sprung Atlanta into attack mode and ended with a Miguel Almiron goal.
The red card to Jones had little effect on the final result and the game was already decided before he left.
In fact, the Game was never close. This, despite the fact that the Galaxy were the more dangerous team for the first 13-minutes of the game, and that Atlanta took their foot off the pedal in the second half.
The final 45-minutes can’t be presented as a positive for the Galaxy – even though they technically kept them off the board – when it was all about Atlanta not being interested in scoring anymore.
Even an 82nd-minute Red Card to 18-year old Brandon Vazquez – just three minutes after coming into the game – wasn’t anywhere near enough to push the Galaxy across the line in this game. They lacked the mental fortitude to rebound after giving up a goal which is the same recipe that spelled disaster against Toronto last week.
And while the defense is fragile – the injury to Bradley Diallo (Hamstring), Pele Van Anholt(Torn ACL and MCL), and Robbie Rogers (Ankle Surgery Nerve Damage) once again forced midfielder Rafael Garcia into a right-back role he’s been ill-suited for – and they’ve allowed eight goals in past two games, the offense hasn’t been bothered with helping the Galaxy out either.
Since Sigi Schmid took over for the ousted Curt Onalfo – a total of nine games – the Galaxy have scored just five goals – three of them in a shutout win over Colorado – while allowing 19. They’ve also been shutout six times during those nine games and in the past two matches have only recorded a single shot on goal.
There’s a talent issue on the field and Atlanta may have been the perfect mirror in which the Galaxy could measure themselves in.
This season is and has been a disaster. And anyone with their fingerprints on this result, or the previous 27 results, needs to be worried about the length of time they have remaining with the Galaxy.