CoG takes a look at who impressed against Toronto in a new feature we’re calling ‘Grading the Galaxy.’
CARSON, Calif. — The LA Galaxy lost their first official preseason match against 2019 MLS Cup finalists, Toronto FC, on Saturday. And after receiving his P-1 visa, Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez made his official debut at Dignity Health Sports Park.
While the Galaxy battled hard for the entire match, a red card and late penalty decision proved to be too much to overcome as they fell 2-1.
Below, you can find how I graded some of the key players from today’s match:
TOP OF THE CLASS
Pavon had himself a day and was the clear man-of-the-match. Shortly after the Galaxy were left playing with ten men, Pavon proceeded to tear apart the Toronto FC defense, dribbling past three defenders before sending a beautiful shot from distance past Toronto goalkeeper Quentin Westberg.
If there is one critique of Pavon, it is that he may be trying to do too much on his own without involving his teammates.
The other side of the coin is that he looks more than capable of being the type of designated player that can put this team on his back and lead them to victory.
It isn’t very easy to accurately assess the performance of Hernandez as he only participated in two official training sessions with the team before playing in his first game. All things considered, I liked what I saw from Chicharito as you could see his desire to contribute.
Hernandez could be seen tracking back on defense and fighting to dispossess the opponent in their half. Hernandez did have a few opportunities to breakthrough but lacked the final touch to make it happen. Some of his errant passes and runs will likely improve as he builds rapport with his teammates in the coming weeks.
These young defenders got their start against first-string MLS competition and were impressive in holding their own. The defense remains the Galaxy’s main issue, but these players will look to play a pivotal role in providing depth to the backline.
If these youngsters don’t regularly crack the starting lineup this season, there is a lot of potential for Galaxy fans to be excited about in future seasons.
I don’t want to overemphasize the performance of a preseason match, but Araujo and Depuy showed the talent and ability to be regular MLS starting defenders right now!
SENT TO THE PRINCIPAL’S OFFICE
The other standout player, for all the wrong reasons, was Aleksander Katai. After failing to convert an open chance, Katai was ejected from the match in the 33rd-minute.
While Katai did show glimpses of his ability that can benefit the Galaxy on the counter-attack in the future, he put his team at a disadvantage today.
And while I felt that the booking was harsh, the decision was likely due to the aggressive and gritty nature that Katai brings to his challenges. Toughness is a quality that this Galaxy team may have lacked in previous seasons, but Katai needs to find the right balance between being bold and being reckless. I expect to see better performances from him in the future. After all, the preseason is the perfect place to learn from these mistakes.