FOX’s nationally televised match between Orlando City and LA Galaxy pitted Orlando’s third-rated defense in the East, against an LA Galaxy team who have had issues scoring in 2017. In a year of transition for the Galaxy, this could’ve been a good match to build upon. Instead, this game and its result, showed the fans that going from a free-spending club to a no spending club, will affect the quality of play on the field. And could ultimately hurt any chance of a playoff run before it gets started.
And in losing 2-1, on a late goal, the Galaxy will continue to have questions asked about their performance in 2017 (2-4-0, 6 pts, 8th place in the Western Conference) and who is ultimately responsible for this downfall.
In the first half, Orlando spent most of the first twenty minutes taking shooting practice at Clement Diop. In the 9th minute, Will Johnson took a pass from Scott Sutter to put Orlando up 1-0. The Galaxy’s Nathan Smith was pulled prematurely up the field on an attempted clearance. When the ball turned back over, Smith lost Johnson who put in a beautiful strike over the top of Diop and into the back of the net.
The first-half possession was dominated by Orlando City. In fact, in the first thirty minutes of the match, Orlando had 56% of the possession to the Galaxy’s 47%. A stat that probably flatters the Galaxy more than it should. Only being down a single goal was also a reflection of some serious luck as well.
Orlando should’ve been up by more if not for a ball that clanked off both goal posts but somehow was deflected out of play on a goal-line stand from Jelle Van Damme.
The second half was a lot like the first. With Orlando City having most of the possession, passes, and pass completion percentage. Giles Barnes went in with a shot that saw Diop make a big save in the later part of the 50-minute mark. But during the save Barnes and Diop collided and this sent Diop to the ground. He would ultimately stay in the game, but a lower body injury did seem to bother him for the rest of night and ultimately could have led to Orlando’s winning goal.
But not before Romain Alessandrini brought the Galaxy level in the 83rd minute. Off a superb pass from Jermaine Jones, that was taken just inside his own half, Alessandrini gathered the ball near the top of the box. He spun to his left with his back to goal, while three Orlando defenders attempted to close him down, his right-footed strike went past Orlando goalkeeper, Joe Bendik, and into the corner of the net.
For Alessandrini, it was his fourth goal in as many games and he is realistically the only reason the Galaxy are anywhere near competitive this season. But the lead was not to last
But the lead was not to last. And while the Galaxy had held Cyle Larin scoreless for most of the match, they couldn’t continue that trend into stoppage time. Direct from a corner, Larin put a ball past Diop while manhandling Jones to make the match 2-1.
In the end, The Galaxy outshot Orlando 18-12, while also out-possessing Orlando 51-49. The second half, seeing a drastic improvement in the urgency and style of play, still fell woefully short of the road draw that was ultimately within the Galaxy’s grasp.
The Galaxy will look to rebound as they start a string of three home games at StubHub Center this weekend. The first of which will pit them against the defending MLS Cup Champion Seattle Sounders on Sunday, April 23rd at 1:00 PM PST. This game will be nationally televised on ESPN. They’ll then host the Philadelphia Union and the Chicago Fire before once again heading across the country and on the road.
Nathan Smith, Daniel Steres, Jelle Van Damme, Ashley Cole
Romain Alessandrini, Jermaine Jones, João Pedro, Emmanuel Boateng
Giovani dos Santos, Gyasi Zardes
Brian Rowe, Rafael Garcia, Dave Romney, Baggio Husidic, Bradford Jamieson IV, Raul Mendiola, Jack McBean