Carson, CA – The LA Galaxy fell 2-0 to New York City FC in a game that should have found a more positive result. In fact, if it wasn’t for a superb outing from City goalkeeper Sean Johnson, the Galaxy may have found the net enough to allow them to concede twice.
The Galaxy started the game with one of the more solid line-ups in recent history. They started Jonathan dos Santos for the first time since joining the club and were able to get Romain Alessandrini back on the field after he missed their last game in Portland due to knee irritation.
However, just like in previous weeks, the Galaxy take one step forward and at least one step back. Giovani dos Santos was unable to dress tonight as he was suffering from a hamstring issue. The club expects him back before the Galaxy travel to Columbus in 10-days to take on the Crew on Wednesday, August 23rd.
The Galaxy finished the night with 21 shots and placed just five on goal. All five of those were saved by Johnson.
Emmanuel Boateng was able to get a great shot that was headed towards goal in the 30th minute and Pele Van Anholt had the best chance in the opening period when his full volley was rocket over the head of Johnson from just outside the box. But a tip over the bar ensured it would find the back of the net.
But it was the aforementioned Boateng who really drove the Galaxy toward the net on the night. He used his considerable speed advantage and a great partnership with Ashley Cole
“So far this season he’s [Boateng] been one of our bright sparks,” Cole relayed to reporters. “I just want to get the ball as quick as I can to him, and with his pace, just let him go one-on-one with the defenders because they’re scared of him.”
And outside of several dangerous forays into the box from Alessandrini, that’s where most of the chances came for the Galaxy.
Boateng was able to send cross after cross into dangerous areas but was unable to find anyone inside the box to finish the chances.
“I thought I put in about ten to 12 good balls today,” Boateng told reporters after the game. “My job is to get to the line and put the cross in. There are Ten other guys that have to get in the box. So I get there and I put it in.”
But time and time again, Zardes or any other attacking player was unable to link up with Boateng. And Zardes’ absence from the game didn’t go unnoticed by Galaxy Head Coach Sigi Schmid.
“I thought he was anonymous for the first 30 [minutes] for sure,” Schmid said at his postgame press conference. “I think after that he got more involved. He started getting balls in channels and he started to stretch their defense a little bit with his running… I thought his play improved as the game went on but we need more from him. It wasn’t enough.”
It wasn’t close to enough and Zardes is now approaching a year (16 games) without a goal for the Galaxy. His last strike came in a 2-2 draw with the Chicago Fire on August 24, 2016. He’ll next take the field on August 23, 2017.
Going into the summer transfer window the Galaxy had strikers on their list of needs, but they instead went with box-to-box midfielder Jonathan dos Santos. But there was never a clearer indictment of the Galaxy needs than tonight’s game.
Even Schmid couldn’t hold back when asked about what the team needed to convert chances on the night: “A center forward,” he answered bluntly. “That’s probably one – somebody who is very comfortable finishing goals.”
Whether Schmid was calling out Zardes for not being the player he needed on the night or the front office for not plugging a hole they knew existed at striker, we may not know. But the result was the same, regardless. The Galaxy couldn’t convert chances even though they were the better team on the night.
Jack McInerney provided some of the clearest chances from a striker all evening after he subbed on for João Pedro in the 75th-minute. But Johnson came up with the saves.
The Galaxy may have been “unlucky.” But in reality, this game was a microcosm of the entire season.
The club has now only won one of their last 11 games, has the worst home record in the league (1-7-4), and sits in 9th place in the western conference just barely above Colorado and Minnesota.
If you wanted to see one of the worst Galaxy teams in club history, tonight was a great chance to do that. Because even when they’re good, this year at least, they’re still bad.