The LA Galaxy are embarassed in a Cali Clasico blow out. The struggles continue with their sixth loss in a row.
CARSON, Calif. — The LA Galaxy were looking to bounce back after having the weekend off due to a game postponement against the Colorado Rapids. Unfortunately, instead of bouncing back they simply dug themselves deeper into the hole they were in by suffering a 4-0 defeat to the San Jose Earthquakes.
The embarrassing defeat to their northern California rivals marks the sixth loss in a row and extends the Galaxy’s winless streak to seven games. To make matters worse, the Galaxy not only sit multiple wins outside of a playoff spot, but would need multiple wins to climb out of last place in the Western Conference. Additionally, they sit two spots behind a Colorado Rapids team that has played three fewer games and hasn’t played since September 23rd due to a coronavirus outbreak.
The Galaxy found themselves on the wrong end of almost every single statistical category as they were out-possessed, out-shot, and out-numbered by an Earthquakes team that boasts the league’s fourth-worst goal differential.
In the post game press conference, head coach Guillermo Barros Schelotto expressed his frustration with the current losing streak, but did not seem to have many answers on how to improve. The current state of affairs for the Galaxy indicate that this is their lowest point of the season with very little hope in sight.
Let’s take a look at how players fared on the night.
TOP OF THE CLASS
Just to be clear, there was not a single LA Galaxy player deserving of any high praise, but if we need to separate the bad from the worse, Cristian Pavon is still the Galaxy’s only standout player.
Pavon made some good runs throughout the match to create some dangerous situations. As has been the case in the previous matches, Pavon did not have much support after his runs and he was forced to try and create scoring opportunities on his own.
During a play in the second half, Pavon opted not to pass to a wide-open Sebastian Lletget and decided to take a low percentage shot which was easily by the San Jose goalkeeper. This particular play was a microcosm of the lack of trust and chemistry that is contributed to their struggles.
One of the most surprising additions to the LA Galaxy lineup was the midweek debut of Jonathan Klinsmann. After allowing six goals in the previous week, David Bingham was moved to the bench to give the 23 year old his first MLS start.
While Klinsmann did an admirable job in the net by making seven impressive saves, the Galaxy defense once again had a terrible match leading to four goals against on the stat sheet.
Guillermo Barros Schelotto and Daniel Steres spoke highly of the young keeper as they highlighted his effort and alluded that he was not at fault for the goals conceded. While the first San Jose goal started with a poor clearance from Klinsmann, the Galaxy defenders didn’t do well enough close down on the attackers, which was a trend for the rest of the match.
Perry Kitchen once again turned in another blue-collar performance as he won the most duels of any player on the field. He was able to control the middle of the field with his possession and distribution in addition to using his physicality to break up plays for the Earthquakes.
While Kitchen did his job in the center of the midfield, he did not have the support to maximize his effectiveness. Kitchen finding himself in the position to be a playmaker for the team should be a red flag as to where the Galaxy lack creativity. As solid as Kitchen has been in recent matches, he shouldn’t be the focal point in the center of the field to spring the counter-attack when the Galaxy are being out possessed.
Yony Gonzalez was finally deemed fit enough to make his first MLS start for the Galaxy. In addition to being included in the starting lineup, Gonzalez was placed in the forward position to provide support as second striker in a 4-4-2 formation.
As the first half progressed, it became clear that instructions came from the coaching staff to move away from a two striker formation and Gonzalez dropped in his positioning and shifted into a winger role. During his time on the wing, he wasn’t able to be the connective tissue on the right-hand side of the field between Julian Araujo and Javier Hernandez.
In his first couple of appearances, Gonzalez appeared to have the size and physicality to be a formidable opponent to opposing defenses. However, during several occasions throughout the match, Gonzalez could be seen going down easily from small contact and in some cases appearing to embellish his falls in efforts to draw foul calls from the referee.
I would like to see him try to stay on his feet as often as he can and only use this tactic when he finds himself without any other options. I also am looking forward to a complete game performance in the same position to give Gonzalez a chance at finding his rhythm.
Sebastian Lletget had a small window during this season where he looked to be the answer in the central attacking midfield role. During the seven-game winless streak, Lletget has shown that he can be a bright spot while the rest of the team struggles.
In this match, Lletget was relatively quiet, had limited touches, and was inconsistent with his passing when he was able to get the ball. This could be a symptom of Schelotto shifting Lletget to the wing to start the match and then asking him to change his style of play from what was initially planned.
Regardless of the shift in position, Lletget did not do enough to out his imprint on this game from a playmaking position, which is precisely what the expectation is from him.
Javier Hernandez returned to the starting lineup after missing a game last week due to the birth of his daughter.
Hernandez was only able to stay on the field for 54 minutes and was once again held scoreless. Schelotto mentioned that the decision to pull Hernandez was a coaches decision and not a precaution for any injury concerns.
Hernandez won’t get the credit he might be deserving of for his ability to hold possession and draw attention from defenders since the Galaxy simply cannot find a way to score when he is on the field.
It doesn’t look like Hernandez is doing anything wrong and perhaps that should be more concerning when the team’s most expensive player and striker isn’t able to contribute positively to the scoreline or even find himself in a position to take a single shot during his 54 minutes on the field.
Diedie Traore came on as a substitute in the 55th minutes and brought a different flavor to the game than what veteran Emiliano insua has been bringing to the team.
One of my concerns with Insua is that his crosses are often into traffic or with little chance of finding an attacker. In this match, Traore showed a fearlessness to take defenders on moving into the attack and picked out Yony Gonzalez in traffic for one of the Galaxy’s few shots on target.
If the season is already lost, then young players on the roster, like Traore, can benefit from playing time to work on the in game skills that will make them first team contributors with longevity as opposed to resetting the defense every other season.
NAME ON THE BOARD
Guillermo Barros Schelotto once again finds himself on the hot seat after the LA Galaxy are now finding themselves on the brink of historic losing streaks.
There are signs that Schelotto is losing the locker room as very few players are willing to speak after the game and the ones that do speak use terms like, “we don’t need to ‘freak out’ after these losses” or they do not have the ability to answer questions about in game tactics.
Schelotto’s frustration is evident as he looks to be tinkering with his lineups and formations, but doesn’t seem to have the patience to let his strategies pan out as evidenced by his quick retreat from the 4-4-2 and substituting Mexico’s all-time leading scoring for a teenager because he felt that gave the team a better chance to win.
Either the players have given up on Schelotto or Schelotto doesn’t have the ability to get the team moving in the right direction. Both of these scenarios mean trouble for Schelotto unless he can spark another turn around with a winnable home game against the Vancouver Whitecaps on Sunday.
Below you can find all player grades plus their per game average rating.