The LA Galaxy continued their inconsistent 2017 season as they fell well short of competitive for most of the match, in a 3-2 loss to the San Jose Earthquakes in the quarterfinals of the US Open Cup. Although, with an own goal from the Earthquakes in the 84th-minute, it did get more interesting than it probably should have been.
The Galaxy were without Designated Player and leading scorer Romain Alessandrini (minor injury), and midfielder João Pedro (minor injury). But Giovani dos Santos returned to the lineup after spending more than a month away on international duty with the Mexican National Team.
Everything started out on the right foot for the visitors as Jelle Van Damme was able to bury a poorly marked corner kick from Dos Santos in the third minute of the game. It was during the first 10-15 minutes of the game, where the Galaxy looked quicker and more engaged that the home team.
But Earthquakes legend, Chris Wondolowski, found the back of the net twice to bring them back from the early deficit.
Wondo scored his first goal in the 16th-minute as Tommy Thompson cut a ball back to the top of the box. Galaxy midfielder Rafa Garcia allowed too much space just steps outside the penalty area, and the shot may have deflected, catching Galaxy goalkeeper, Brian Rowe, flat-footed. There was no save attempt and the ‘Quakes were level.
In the second half, it was more from the Earthquakes as San Jose continued to apply the pressure.
The 51st-minute found Wondolowski open in goal again, this time because of poor marking and horrible anticipation from Galaxy right back, Bradley Diallo. Diallo was caught behind his attacker and never made any real attempt to get on the ball. Wondo headed it past Rowe – who was also lost in space somewhere between the ball and the goal.
San Jose would make it 3 to 1 when the ‘Quakes’ Danny Hoesen scored thanks to a gifted counter attack from Garcia who was attempting to play the ball to Dos Santos. The break down the middle was completely preventable had the pass not been forced anywhere near Dos Santos to begin with. And it was one of many times that the midfield tandem of Garcia and Jaime Villarreal failed to keep the ball from an eager-to-counter, Quakes team.
The breakaway would end in Rowe getting beat and San Jose building what should have been a very comfortable lead in the 62nd minute.
But the Galaxy would get a momentary burst of positivity as a spell of possession in the 84th-minute saw a pinball-like shot finally find the back of the net. It was second-half sub Ariel Lassiter who would send it towards goal, but ‘Quakes midfielder, Jackson Yueill would stop the rocket with his face.
Unfortunately for Yueill, the ball bounced off the back of goalkeeper Andrew Tarbell and into the net.
This allowed the Galaxy to find some hope in the waning minutes, but Emmanuel Boateng, who had one of the better showings for the club on the night, missed an off-balance header from about eight yards outside the box in stoppage time. That goal might have pushed the Galaxy to extra time, but instead, they were eliminated by the first MLS club they faced in the tournament.
For the Galaxy, they continue to be open to attack on the counter. And having to play from behind on an almost weekly basis isn’t helping that. Defenders get pushed forward in order to account for the anemic offense and quick counters find those lines pushed forward to the point they’re unable to recover.
It might be seen as a minor miracle the Galaxy were able to score twice without Alessandrini on the field. But the goals have been coming from the defense, as of late, and that should continue to worry a Galaxy front office that may be uninterested in signing a DP caliber striker – something the Galaxy truly need – as they weigh long-term flexibility instead of short team need.
To date, only Jack McBean’s two goals scored against Colorado, count as striker goal from the run of play. And McBean, on the night, was played into no dangerous spots and found no options when he did have the ball. His night was frustration personified and his yellow card and reckless tackles forced an early retirement.
Jack McInerney was no better. Almost drawing a foul at the top of the box that would’ve put the Galaxy in a dangerous position, but instead, he fell down grasping at the ball. An easy handball, according to referee Allan Chapman and a squandered chance.
And as much as the Galaxy would like to hang their hat on a solid performance from Bradford Jamieson, he too was guilty of giving the ball away in dangerous positions.
The Galaxy midfield the biggest loser on the night without any shadow of a doubt.
ONALFO HOT SEAT
This certainly ratchets up the heat on the Galaxy’s front office team, and Curt Onalfo will again come under fire. But to this point, the leadership at both the Galaxy – Pete Vagenas and Chris Klein – as well as the leadership at AEG – Dan Beckerman – seem content to see their plan through without any drastic changes. A bold move with LAFC currently picking up steam towards their 2018 inaugural season.
It seems the Galaxy are pushing the patience and the kindness of their fan base. In the evergreen hope that the limit does not exist. Or at least doesn’t exist midway through the season.
Next up for the Galaxy, they’ll prepare for a midseason friendly against English Premier League giants, Manchester United on Saturday at StubHub Center – a game the Galaxy would most likely avoid at all costs if it were up to them.
Corner of the Galaxy is told that Alessandrini and Pedro will likely continue to get a rest through this game with a focus on the Galaxy’s next league game against Vancouver on Wednesday, July 19th.
That’s when the Galaxy could get Jermaine Jones, Pedro, Alessandrini, and possibly even Daniel Steres back from injury. Thus flooding the field with rested and healthy players. Or at least that’s the plan.
But if we’ve learned anything from this 2017 season so far, it’s that few things have gone according to plan. And fans probably see no reason why it should start now.
LA GALAXY SCORING SUMMARY:
LA – Jelle Van Damme (Assisted by Giovani dos Santos) 3’
SJ – Chris Wondolowski (Assisted by Tommy Thompson) 16’
SJ – Chris Wondolowski (Assisted by Tommy Thompson) 51’