The LA Galaxy are cut to pieces en route to another embarrassing loss to the Portland Timbers.
After a drama-filled El Trafico over the week, the LA Galaxy were looking to bounce back and make a last-ditch effort toward a playoff push. Unfortunately, off the field storylines and on the field disappointment continue to be the norm for the Galaxy.
The morning started with a peculiar Instagram post from Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez where he announced that he would miss the match due to injury. The post only served to fuel a rumor that there was a rift between Hernandez and manager Guillermo Barros Schelotto who had recently left him out of the starting lineup.
The Timbers got off to an excellent start by scoring three goals in the first 30 minutes as Timber Joey found himself more active than the Galaxy offense. The second half saw the Galaxy strike back within 17 seconds with the introduction of two substitutes as they looked to gain some momentum.
After creating some decent chances in hopes of a comeback, the Timbers countered and easily sliced through the Galaxy defense with a demoralizing goal. The Galaxy allowed Portland to add to the goal tally one more time with a world class volley before the Galaxy clawed back a consolation goal to cap a 5-2 blowout.
Let’s take a look at how the players fared on the night.
TOP OF THE CLASS
Cristian Pavon was one of the few bright spots as he was able to add two goals to his season total. Pavon now leads the team with nine goals and remains to be the Galaxy’s most important offensive weapon.
When Pavon is playing well, he has the ability to show why his home club, Boca Juniors, is not willing to budge on their $20 million buyout clause. Pavon had several successful dribbles and found himself in scoring position several times as he was tied for the team lead in total shots, but led the team in shots on target.
The Galaxy’s next three games may be Pavon’s last and hopefully the team can benefit from stellar performances in his farewell tour.
After a few below-average performances, Jonathan Dos Santos started to look like the player who was once believed to be the heartbeat in the midfield. Dos Santos led the team with a 90% pass success rate and looked comfortable in playing a more offensive role, even though it came at the expense of leaving the Galaxy defense exposed.
Dos Santos also led the team in touches as the Galaxy were only slightly edged out in possession by the Timbers. The Galaxy held possession for 49.5% of the match, which was a huge improvement in recent matches and was in large part a result of Dos Santos’ play.
Dos Santos also played his first full 90 minutes since returning from international duty and finally looks to be at full health right in time for a playoff push.
Another notable player to play a full 90 minutes was Yony Gonzalez. This was the first time Gonzalez was able to play a full game in a Galaxy uniform with no injury or discipline issues pushing him to the sidelines this week.
Gonzalez was playing in the lone striker role, but his defensive hustle was noticeable as he led the team in duels won. Gonzalez was also starting to find some chemistry with Cristian Pavon as he tied the Argentine attacker was credit with an assist.
While it was unclear if the assist was a botched pass or an intentional dummy, it is still a positive to see both players making moves in the attacking third of the field.
The last time that the Galaxy faced the Portland Timbers, goalkeeper David Bingham allowed 6 goals in what was his last start before Jonathan Klinsmann stepped into the starting role. This time around, it was Klinsmann who found himself on the wrong side of a Portland goal fest.
Klinsmann only made two saves on the night as he only faced seven shots on goal. While he did well to guess correctly on the Valeri penalty kick, he wasn’t able to keep the ball out.
Klinsmann passes the eye test of being the goalkeeper of the future for the Galaxy, but the goals against average mimics Bingham enough to give credence to the argument that the goalkeeper may not the problem. The Galaxy defense continues to leave their goalkeepers exposed as other teams get plenty of opportunities to find the back of the net.
Nick DePuy was thrust into a starting role due to team injuries as the start of the season and went on to look like the Galaxy’s best defender at times. Unfortunately, DePuy has been on the field for some of the Galaxy’s most lopsided losses making it hard to advocate for keeping him in the lineup.
DePuy’s low point in the match came as his handball in the box led to a Portland penalty kick, which eventually proved to be the game winning goal. DePuy’s slide to block a Yimmi Chara cross left his arm in a pretty clear unnatural position to give referee Drew Fischer an easy decision to give a penalty.
In a 5-2 loss, it is expected that defenders will find themselves on the “Needs Improvement” section and Dan Steres is no exception to this rule. Steres once again failed to register a single tackle in the match which is not a great sign from a center back who is the last line of defense.
Steres’ failure to commit to a tackle can be connected to being part of the reason for three of the Portland’s goals. On the opening goal, Steres failed to close in on the Jorge Villafana’s cross, who easily whipped in a cross to be headed in by Jaroslaw Niezgoda. While DePuy’s slide would later lead to a penalty, there was at least an effort to make a slide.
Similarly, on Niezgoda’s second goal Steres gave plenty of space to the attacker who easily slotted in his second header of the match. On the Eryk Williamson goal, Steres failed to break up up a pass and dribble and found himself being spun in a circle before Williamson slotted in his shot. The manner in which Steres was spun added to the embarrassment of the scoreline.
Steres seems to lack a bit of nastiness that can be seen in some of the world’s most dominant center backs and I would not be surprised if her was given a rest in some of these games in the final stretch of 2020.
Below you can find all player grades plus their per game average rating.