The LA Galaxy are on the verge of ensuring that this season will be one of their worst, as the club was unable to match the New England Revolution and their four goals on a Saturday night in Foxborough, Massachusetts. The loss broke a four-game slide for the Revs and drove the Galaxy to a five-game losing streak – their worst since 2007 where they lost six games in a row during an eight-game winless streak.
And all of this was despite the fact the Galaxy scored three goals for only the third time this season. But they also allowed four goals for the third time this season. Highlighting a growing concern that tactics and personnel may not be up to the task this year.
Galaxy head coach Curt Onalfo went with a lineup that included starting Jermaine Jones for the first time since he was injured in a 2-2 draw with the Chicago Fire back on May 6, 2017. But Jones’ inclusion was hardly an advantage on the night.
Titulares 🆚 New England: Rowe: Diallo, Steres, Van Damme (c), Cole; Garcia, Jones; Alessandrini, Dos Santos, Boateng; McBean. #NEvLA pic.twitter.com/alKOU0eW9g
— LA Galaxy (@LAGalaxy_Es) July 22, 2017
He looked uncomfortable and tired, but he was probably rushed back into service because João Pedro was out on yellow card accumulation. Leaving the Galaxy with little in the way of options.
“He hasn’t played in a long time, so it’s going to take him time to get back,” Onalfo told reporters following the game. “He looked rusty and you know that’s all part of it. At his age, for that amount of time he’s been out, it’s not going to happen overnight.”
He also moved Ashley Cole back into the left back positions and tucked Dave Romney onto the bench, but only until halftime when Jones was pulled and Romney went into Cole’s position. Cole moved back into the midfield – as he did in the loss to Vancouver.
“You fly all the way across the country, you don’t train, you have the training the next day where you’ve got to flush the legs from the Wednesday game and get ready for a game on Saturday that is on turf. So, there’s an adjustment period. It takes time to adjust.” Curt Onalfo, LA Galaxy Head Coach
But the Galaxy conceded the first goal – a trend that continues to worsen – and have now given up the first goal in 14 of 20 games. Their record, when giving up the first goal, is now at 2-10-2 and any team that constantly is playing from behind will be open to conceding when pressing to get back into the game.
Daniel Steres had himself a night as he scored twice, in the 22nd-minute and the 53rd-minute, for the Galaxy. More than making up for the unfortunate deflection that bounced off him for the Revolutions first goal.
Only Ariel Lassiter’s 79th-minute goal momentarily brought hope back to the Galaxy who had already allowed two Teal Bunbury goals – in the 70th-minute and the 73rd-minute.
- NE – Lee Nguyen (Assisted by Diego Fagundez) 16’
- LA – Daniel Steres (Assisted by Romain Alessandrini, Rafael Garcia) 22’
- NE – Kei Kamara (Assisted by Diego Fagundez) 34’
- LA – Daniel Steres 53’
- NE – Teal Bunbury (Assisted by Kelyn Rowe, Diego Fagundez) 70’
- NE – Teal Bunbury (Assisted by Andrew Farrell, Kei Kamara) 73’
- LA – Ariel Lassiter 79’
But outside of the X’s and O’s the Galaxy were soundly beaten on the night. They were Repeatedly victimized on the counter attack and thoroughly out hustled and outplayed. Lessons that should have been learned over and over again, simply don’t seem to stick.
The team is incapable of getting back to their defensive positions when pressing forward and finds an almost complete lack of creativity on the offensive front outside of moments of brilliance and sheer work rate from Romain Alessandrini.
Jack McBean and Giovani dos Santos have found zero chemistry in the attacking third despite numerous starts together. McBean seems unable to find space, link up with other attackers, and has missed chances when given the opportunity. And Dos Santos certainly isn’t opening any space for him while also dribbling into danger and killing, not creating, chances. On the whole, Dos Santos and the offense, outside of Alessandrini, were mundane, predictable and altogether uninspiring.
And this should be Dos Santos’ offense. He’s the highest paid player on the team – makes more than 83-times what his playing partner McBean does, and routinely disappears while being no more than a timid force on the pitch. He’s supposed to be a leader on a team that is crying out for leadership.
Jelle Van Damme may also fit into that same mold. Demonstrative and angry on the pitch, he has been increasingly unreliable, and quiet in the locker room. He’s made repeated mistakes in marking and has been overzealous in tackles while he leads the league in yellow cards (7). His leadership on the field is dwindling just as his play on the field is.
If anything, the leader in the locker room and on the field over the last couple of weeks has been Cole. And his frustration seems to be growing around swirling reports of a possible transfer to Birmingham City and Harry Redknapp. And at this point, why wouldn’t he go?
“It’s down to the players. We’ve got to get out of this hole we’ve dug ourselves.” Cole commented after the game. “We have to look in the mirror, like we’ve said many times this season, and we have to just get through it.”
The pressure will continue to mount on Curt Onalfo and the front office of Chris Klein and Pete Vagenas. Players are complaining at a fairly regular interval that the team is not prepared and that things need to be fixed. And someone’s job should be on the line if improvement doesn’t start immediately.
It was Dos Santos after the loss to Vancouver – waxing about how the “situation would be managed differently” in other parts of the world.
And Cole, after this loss, was again talking about the Galaxy being unprepared for certain aspects of New England’s game. “They play in a diamond we kind of didn’t expect that, it kind of took us by surprise and, like you said, they came down a lot of times with that counter attack.”
The Galaxy will next face off against the Seattle Sounders on Saturday, July 29th. When they walk out of the tunnel and onto the field it will have been 114 days since the last time they beat a team at home. A number that fans, coaches, and players will all be very well aware of.
But for now, a healthier team will once again try and find a way to get back into a mindset that will allow them to be competitive on the field. If they’re to offer any glimmer of hope, any prospect of a turnaround, things need to go right against the Sounders – careers may depend on it. And the Galaxy are running out of excuses to get things right.