The Galaxy’s unbeaten streak comes to an end as they are held scoreless and reduced to ten men in a loss at home to the Colorado Rapids.
The Galaxy got off on the wrong foot as they opened their next phase of MLS play with a 2-0 loss to a well organized Colorado Rapids team at Dignity Health Sports Park on Saturday night.
This was the second consecutive match where the Galaxy could not find the back of the net, flipping their 180 minute shutout streak on defense to a now 187 minute scoreless streak on offense.
While the Galaxy’s offense was clearly not finding success, the defense also did not have a particularly strong performance as they allowed the Rapids to out shoot them by a rate of 16 to 11.
The fate of the match was sealed in the 75th minute when Julian Araujo was shown his second yellow card in a span of three minutes. The Galaxy, who were already trailing by a goal, were never able to recover from that point forward as the Rapids dominated possession to close out the game.
Let’s take a look at how the players fared on the night:
TOP OF THE CLASS
It is rare to see a player who earned a red card end up in the ‘Top of the Class’ section of player grades, but I think Julian Araujo was one of the few bright spots on the evening, even if he was sent off for dissent.
Many of the Galaxy players looked tired and flat throughout the match, but Araujo brought the grit and aggression that have become a signature of his game in what is easily becoming his breakout season with the club.
Araujo could be seen all over the field winning multiple duels and tackles in addition to pushing up on the wing to involve himself on the offense. He did find himself in some tough situations after moving forward, but more often than not, Araujo was able to recover.
In the 75th minute Araujo shouted an expletive that referee Ted Unkel felt was directed toward him after calling a foul on a physical, but not out of the ordinary, battle with Colorado’s Sam Vines.
I think the jury is still out on whether or not the second yellow was warranted. However, it is an important lesson for Araujo on how to handle his emotions, particularly in an environment without fans where every word shouted by the players is easily picked up by the match officials.
On any other match day, Efrain Alvarez’s performance may not have earned high marks as there was plenty of room for improvement. But given the poor performance of the team in general, Alvarez’s positive moments were given more weight.
On a few occasions throughout the match, Alvarez found himself in position to score. The critique on him during these situations is that he could have passed instead of shot or conversely he passed the ball when he had a clear shot on target. The positive spin on these situations is that Alvarez was one of the few players who put himself in scoring position regardless of the outcome.
Alvarez will continue to benefit from increased playing time during this congested schedule as he shows moments in each match on why he is has been such a valued prospect for the club.
You may see a pattern with grades from this match as middle of the road performances are the ones being identified as standouts. Joe Corona turned in a 92% pass success rate on the evening and showed a much needed calmness in the midfield.
Corona could still benefit from trying to involve himself more in the offense, but given the other players he is sharing time with in the midfield, it is easy to understand why Corona opts to pick his moments while focusing on recoveries.
Consistency has been the biggest question mark for Corona throughout the season and being given these opportunities in a very crowded midfield will hope to see continued improvement in the upcoming matches where depth will be crucial.
Cristian Pavon has without a doubt been the Galaxy’s top player this season in addition to having moments where he is arguably one of the best players in the league. With all of that being said, it is fair to point out that this was not Pavon’s best performance.
One of the critiques of Pavon’s game this season is that he occasionally tries to create too much on his own. There is an argument that this is out of necessity given the players that surround him.
Additionally, this flaw can be easily forgiven when Pavon produces those magic moments. However, the magic moments didn’t happen in this match and Pavon was often dispossessed as the Rapids targeted him whenever he was on the ball.
Pavon was still a dangerous threat and created chances, but might be better served in trying to involve his teammates in the offense to help build the confidence and chemistry that produced much success over the Galaxy’s winning streak.
David Bingham continues to be a polarizing figure for this team as he makes the same mistakes over and over. Bingham was in no way at fault for the loss and even had a couple of good saves, but there are consistently nervy moments with him in every match.
Bingham struggles with distribution on goal kicks. If the ball wasn’t sent out of bounds, it oftentimes found itself directly in the path of a Colorado player without a Galaxy player in sight.
Perhaps the most frustrating of Bingham’s game over the years is his penchant for pushing the ball into traffic to give teams second chances. On Colorado’s second goal Bingham once again failed to push the ball out of play or away from danger which then saw Jonathan Lewis put the game out of reach.
The goal may have been questionable in terms of the ball being played in from an offside position, but the error was all too familiar from Bingham.
Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez played in only his second game as he returns from a calf injury, but I think it is fair to start sharing concerns about his ability to make an impact on games moving forward.
For the second match in row Hernandez was brought in as a second half substitute to replace Ethan Zubak and for the second match in a row Hernandez failed to get very many touches or create any serious scoring threats.
His best opportunity came in the second half where his hesitation fooled his defender, but his shot on goal was unimpressive. The good news is that the Galaxy looked more dangerous with Hernandez on the field than with Zubak, but he is still not making the impact on the field that you want to see from a big designated player signing.
The benefit of the doubt needs to be given to Hernandez as he still isn’t fully fit enough to start a match, but the voices will continue to get louder if the goals don’t come as his minutes increase.
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|