Orlando City will be pleased with their effort. They score a single goal early in the first half and make it standup. The LA Galaxy offense sputters.
CARSON, Calif. — There’s such a thing as being too patient. Especially when the clock is ticking down and you’re down a goal with seven minutes left. But while the LA Galaxy preach cooler heads, the result is the same. It’s a loss. It’s a loss at home.
Orlando City won the day. Make no mistake about it. They scored in the 9th-minute thanks to a goal from Facundo Torres and then kept the LA Galaxy at arm’s length for the rest of the match. The 1-0 victory came in the Pacific Time Zone for the first time since 2015, for the visitors and all 25,174 in attendance got to witness the Galaxy winning almost every conceivable stat, except the final score.
But Saturday afternoon showed that the Galaxy are far from a finished product — as if the loss didn’t. The defense had a pretty spectacular game. They held Orlando to just two shots on goal the entire game, and the one mistake came while the Galaxy pressed forward in the early minutes after nearly taking the lead a couple of times.
Sega Coulibaly backed up his solid game against the Seattle Sounders with an even better outing. Julian Araujo was tough on the ball outside of the one real goal-scroing chance Orlando generated, and Raheem Edwards was his usual relentless-work-rate self.
The offense, however, continues to be a problem. They outshot the visitors by a total of 20 to six but got just three shots on goal the entire 90 minutes. They had 12 corners to Orlando’s two but never really scared anyone. And they made 222 more passes than the visitors, held nearly 63-percent possession, but lost the game by a single goal.
And when the Galaxy looked to Javier Hernandez to spark the offense, the club’s leading goalscorer came up empty. Also empty were fellow designated players Douglas Costa and Kevin Cabral.
At halftime, Costa would be forced from the game – complaining of hamstring tightness in a challenge he made within the first 5 to ten minutes, Galaxy head coach Greg Vanney said afterward to reporters. Efrain Alvarez replaced Costa, and he would also fail to register any dangerous chances.
Cabral is another story. Final stats showed him with an expected goals total of over 1.2. In fact, he led the team in dangerous chances and close calls. But Cabral couldn’t find the finishing touch. And he was in perfect position to do so more than three separate times. Creating chances is important, and Cabral was in the thick of it on Saturday. But without the final product, the zeroes are going to continue to follow him.
Vanney, for his part, preached patience for the 22-year-old Cabral. But he’s seeing much of the same things the outside observers are.
“I think, the obvious things for me, in the final action, Kévin needs to be more consistent, and he needs to be more productive,” he said to reporters. “That’s the first thing.
“The second is,” Vanney continued, “the running that Kévin does and the work that he does. We don’t have anyone on our team who does that. Sam [Grandsir] does a little bit of it, but not the same. It’s the consistency of working behind the backline, running through the backline into the depth. It’s working to add another player in front of goal.
“There’s things that I think we have to be patient with, because he does those things different than anyone else on our team. And that creates opportunity and space, and control for others. So, there’s things that I appreciate about his performances that maybe aren’t’ as clear as goalscoring chances and scoring goals. Those bear out in the numbers that we look at and things that we assess. Having said that, what most everyone else sees is the execution side of things, and for sure that has to take a big step forward because we need more end product.”
Cabral was replaced in the 62nd-minute for Grandsir.
Onlookers will undoubtedly be aware of Cabral’s misfortunes, and they’ll call attention to Nick DePuy, who was inches from intercepting the ball that led to the only goal of the afternoon.
But what sticks out more than anything is that the Galaxy couldn’t generate the offense they needed when Orlando decided to sit behind the ball and dare the Galaxy to beat them.
They were too stagnant when facing the 11 guys behind the ball, and they too often went toward the cross-and-pray stile that was made infamous by the Galaxy over the past couple of seasons.
Crosses were over-cooked, runs were never made, and the Galaxy were very far from looking dangerous no matter what position they were in.
The club will head into the international break with some doubts on their mind. And it will be up to Vanney to go back to the drawing board when trying to generate the offense he needs to see from this team.
“We’re four games into the season,” Vanney said. “We still have a lot of growing to do as a group. But, for sure, one of the things we need to improve on is just the timing and the final action. Not bailing out of attacks for low percentage situations, and work better for high percentage situations.
“But, yeah, some final quality final action stuff. We need to continue to build on every phase of the game. I think we’ve shown a pretty good ability to play out of pressure and to work into the attacking half of the field. But, we’ve got to create more quality chances.”