The LA Galaxy knew it was going to be tough to get a result against a Seattle Sounders team that had run off five wins in a row. Add to it that the Galaxy were missing five starters – their leading goalscorer among them – and it became a simple exercise in not making a big mistake.
All of that went quickly out the window on Saturday afternoon as the Galaxy allowed two early goals in the first half and three more in the second half, eventually losing by a score of 5-0 in Seattle at Century Link Field.
The Galaxy (10-9-7) traveled up to Seattle without the injured Giovani dos Santos, Jonathan dos Santos, Romain Alessandrini, or Michael Ciani. Zlatan Ibrahimovic also declined to make the trip because of the playing surface — artificial turf.
The Sounders (10-9-5) attacked from the opening whistle. With several quick and easy turnovers provided by the Galaxy’s Emmanuel Boateng who started out of position at striker on the afternoon.
A corner kick was eventually handed to the Sounders who played the ball short in the 3-minute. The movement with the ball in the corner allowed Sounders defender Chad Marshall to shake his mark, Galaxy defender Daniel Steres, and head the cross from Nicolás Lodeiro, just inside the right goal post.
15 minutes later it was a poor clearance from Ashley Cole that found a Galaxy defense caught completely off-guard for no reason what so ever. Cole’s ball was picked up in the middle of the field by Harry Ship without a single Galaxy player within 25-yards, and casually ran into the penalty box and pushed the ball past David Bingham for the second goal of the night.
There would be three more goals from the Sounders before the Galaxy would finally see the clock out. With all three coming in the second half — an own goal from midfielder Servando Carrasco after Jorgen Skjelvik fell down in pursuit of a Sounders attacker in the 50-minute, a passing and movement clinic that saw Lodeiro score from inside the box in the 59-minute, and then new Sounders DP Raul Ruidiaz got his first goal at Century Link Field to make it 5-0 in the 67-minute.
It was only the third time in franchise history that the Galaxy had lost by five goals. With the other two times coming in 2002 to New York and in 2013 to New England. In both 2009 and 2017 the Galaxy conceded six goals, but offset the loss by scoring goals. The five goal margin of defeat is tied for the worst loss in franchise history.
The Galaxy played in new-look formation that included five defenders with both Dave Romney and Rolf Feltscher sitting in wing-back positions — capable of getting up the field on offense but trying to remain more defensive on the night.
And in that small experiment, it surely failed.
But Feltscher, who hadn’t started or played in a game since getting injured in training after the Galaxy’s 2-0 loss to Atlanta United on April 21, looked comfortable on the right side. Playing good pressing defense when he got forward, and providing some dangerous crosses that might have been finished on a different day.
The familiarity in the five-back formation shouldn’t be seen as a given. With those five players having never played together in that formation figuring out exactly how it was supposed to work was an ongoing problem.
Striker Ola Kamara also put in another good shift — his energy never seeming to fall off even as those around him struggled to get him the ball.
And for all the talk of the poor Galaxy’s poor defense, the offense also failed to capitalize on a couple clearcut chances. Both Sebastian Lletget and Emmanuel Boateng failed to convert wide-open looks at goal with both missing the frame completely.
But on the night, the Galaxy fell to the same issues they have in previous games — they failed to win the one-on-one battles lost at almost every position. And the team’s frustration was clearly evident on the field as their body language gave plenty of insight into the team’s mentality.
The club has just eight games left with the last of the El Trafico’s coming on Friday at StubHub Center (August 24, 7:30 p.m.; ESPN). The Galaxy are winless in their last four games and will watch as other teams play the games they have in hand. Thereby shuffling the order in the Western Conference.
Schmid claimed he wanted 15 points from the last 10 games. And in that time he’s gotten a single point out of the last two. So the Galaxy will need to win some difficult games down the stretch if they’re to guarantee a playoff spot.
The Galaxy sit in fourth place in the Western Conference with almost all games still to be played this weekend. Meaning they could definitely drop in the table before the weekend is over.