Galaxy get embarrassed in an east coast El Tráfico. Which players looked up to the task before it all fell apart?
In arguably the most anticipated match of the MLS is Back tournament, the LA Galaxy faced off against LAFC with an opportunity to bounce back after their opening match defeat to the Portland Timbers.
Galaxy fans received bad news about two hours before kickoff when it was announced that Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez would miss the match due to a calf strain suffered in training.
However, even with their star striker ruled out, the Galaxy got off to a great start scoring in the fifth minute with a Latif Blessing own goal set up by the attacking pressure of Sebastian Lletget.
Unfortunately, those opening five minutes were one of three five minute intervals where the Galaxy held more possession than their opponents.
The Galaxy then went on the have their lead wiped out on two occasions with a questionable penalty call and a heartbreaking rebound goal right before the half.
The second half saw a sluggish Galaxy team fail to regain control en route to a lopsided 6-2 defeat.
In a game that left a many with a bad taste in their mouth, let’s take a look at how the players fared on the night:
TOP OF THE CLASS
Joe Corona was one of the few bright spots on the night as his presence in the midfield was felt both offensively and defensively.
Early in the game, he showed part of what the Galaxy was missing against Portland as he was an engine in the midfield. Corona was connecting on passes and recovering loose balls and his involvement could be seen on the stat map all over the field.
In addition to being all over the field, Corona also created the penalty opportunity for the Galaxy with his intelligence to create contact in the box with the LAFC defender.
Stop me if you’ve heard this before, Cristian Pavon is the LA Galaxy’s most dangerous weapon on offense.
His speed and willingness to take players on was once again on display against LAFC, but unfortunately, he was on an island by himself for the majority of the evening, even being surrounded by five LAFC players on the Galaxy’s offensive half of the field.
Pavon was the Galaxy’s only threat and their rivals knew it. They went on to neutralize him for most of the night, not allowing him to be involved in the offense as he has been in previous matches.
A credit to Pavon’s talent is that he was still able to walk away with a goal on the night and could’ve had a game-changing second goal if not for an offside call from the linesman by a razor-thin margin.
Sebastian Lletget found himself in a new position on Saturday as he was paired with Pavon at forward to help fill the void created by an injured Javier Hernandez.
Lletget looked inspired in the opening minutes and his attacking play and forward movement helped to create an own goal. While he won’t get any credit on the stat sheet for the goal, he was absolutely the responsible party.
He showed flashes of the attacking style player that the Galaxy signed in 2015 and less of the possession-based player that we have seen in more recent seasons.
Many of Lletget’s contributions to this game came on the wings, making an argument that this is where he can be most impactful in the team’s lineup moving forward.
Julian Araujo saw his first minutes in the MLS is Back tournament with a start in the midfield. This tactic was also employed in one of last season’s rivalry matches with Guillermo Barros Schelotto opting to put the young defender in a more attacking position.
Araujo has shown that he is a player ready to make the leap into the starting lineup, holding his own on his side of the field defensively and working in tandem with the midfield and forwards in the attack.
While not a finished product, Araujo has proven in his limited minutes that he will only improve with more playing time. I hope to see him as a more consistent part of the lineup.
Oddly enough, I felt like David Bingham had a better performance against LAFC allowing six goals than against Portland where he only allowed two.
The optics of having a better performance were due to being peppered with almost as many shots on target in this match alone (12) versus the number of shots on target in the Galaxy’s previous three matches combined (13).
Bingham finds himself in a “the chicken or the egg” situation as it leaves questions about if Bingham’s goals allowed are due to his personal performance or simply a symptom of a porous defense.
Regardless of which reason you believe, Bingham is tied for the league lead in goals allowed. Joining San Jose’s Daniel Vega and Vancouver’s Maxime Crepeau.
To be fair to Bingham, LAFC’s finishing was clinical on the night and many of their shots were placed to perfection. That being said, letting in a historic amount of goals on the night is never a good look.
Perry Kitchen’s inclusion in the starting lineup left me scratching my head after a poor performance is the first match against Portland.
Kitchen’s night did not get off to a great start as he was responsible for bringing down Bradley Wright-Phillips during a corner kick allowing LAFC to respond quickly to an early Galaxy goal.
While the penalty call was soft and many physical interactions in the box during corner kicks often go unpunished, Kitchen has to be more aware of his surroundings and pulling the jersey and putting your arm around a player with the experience of Wright-Phillips is probably not going to end well.
If Kitchen is going to be a liability on defense and non-existent in the offense, then there isn’t much that makes me optimistic about having him as a key part of this lineup.
Giancarlo Gonzalez once again finds himself on the bottom end of the player grades after a string of poor performances.
Gonzalez’s positioning left players onside, he failed to step up to attackers when they dribbled toward the box, and he does not seem to have the presence needed to be a dominant center back.
The defense as a whole looked horrific, but Gonzalez’s mistakes have been a common thread during his tenure with the club and appear to be giving Galaxy supporters feeling quite a bit of buyer’s remorse since the Costa Rican’s signing last year.
SENT TO THE PRINCIPAL’S OFFICE
After the critique of his failure to involve himself with in-game coaching activity, Guillermo Barros Schelotto once again gave us a stoic performance as he sat in silence on the bench as his team suffered their worst defeat during his tenure.
In addition to questionable lineup choices, he failed to adjust his game plan in the second half which saw LAFC refine their counter-attack to capitalize on the Galaxy’s shortcomings.
I think his coaching seat is officially hot after this performance where he once again failed to make effective substitutions, not touching any of his backline players who were letting in goals like a sieve.
Schelotto will hope that his preparations for Houston set his team up well enough to avoid going winless in the tournament in addition to managing the club to their worst 4 game start in history.
Below you can find all player grades plus their per game average rating.
|Player||Position||Total Stars||Season Average|
|Jonathan dos Santos||M||33||2.54|