Seattle Sounders hand the LA Galaxy their first loss of the season after scoring a flurry of goals in the first half.
The LA Galaxy traveled up to Lumen Field in Seattle, Washington to take on Western Conference giants Seattle Sounders for a temperature check after starting the season with two wins in a row. Things didn’t go as planned, as they were slammed back to earth after conceding two goals in three minutes. An injury-time goal put the nail in the coffin as the Galaxy fell by a score of 3-0.
In their first two matches, a few defensive lapses were made up for by the Galaxy’s newly found grit to create goals for a refreshed Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez. Similarly in Seattle, the Sounders capitalized on defensive errors to put the Galaxy at an early deficit. The major difference in this match was that the offense was unable to finish their chances against a well-organized opponent defending well on their literal home turf.
Greg Vanney trotted out his third starting lineup in three matches and utilized all of his substitutions after watching his initial game plan flounder. While there weren’t the high highs of the previous two matches, it also managed not to produce very low lows.
Let’s take a look at how the players fared on the afternoon.
Players are graded on a 5-star scale with no half star designations.
TOP OF THE CLASS
Victor Vazquez continued his form as one of the Galaxy’s most consistent players through their first three matches. Vazquez’s composure on the ball helped the Galaxy create some chances in the few stretches of possession they had. He set up Chicharito with an excellent pass in an almost identical position as the previous week against the Red Bulls, only with Hernandez failing to put his shot on target this week.
Vazquez has quick feet and keeps the ball moving quickly up the field, but the rest of the team is still not moving at the same pace as he does. No other players have made a a stronger case to be a regular part of the starting eleven moving forward, aside from Hernandez, which puts Vanney’s preseason praise of Vazquez into perspective.
The only concern for Vazquez will be his durability as he needed to be subbed in the 65th minute with a groin issue. The substitution was revealed to be precautionary but still needs to be noted for a midfielder with his level of experience. More information on Vazquez’s groin will be available after Thursday’s media call.
Jonathan Bond has conceded seven goals in three matches and somehow has still landed in the “Top of the Class” category by making six saves. The goals conceded by Bond have appeared to be more a product of defensive lapses than goalkeeper error.
The six saves during this match tie the same mark that Bond posted away at Miami. Perhaps in an alternate universe, with those sloppy three minutes in the first half thrown out, the Galaxy could have been walking out of Lumen field with a point one out of every ten times, thanks to Bond’s play. Or perhaps I’ve simply been watching too many Marvel movies.
Efrain Alvarez has been a polarizing figure for the LA Galaxy as his talent has been highly touted since he was signed to a professional contract at 15 years old in 2018. This season looks to be a make-or-break type season for Alvarez as other young players around the league are finding their way into meaningful roles with their clubs.
Alvarez got his first start of the season and appeared to gain some traction with key dribbles and passes in the first half. His best moment of the match came in the 27th minute where he lobbed an excellent pass into Samuel Grandsir who squandered his opportunity. If Grandsir is in better form, perhaps that is a moment where Alvarez turns the game on its head.
Instead of gaining confidence with a game-changing assist, Alvarez was subbed out at the half. Hopefully, he can continue to deliver those flashes of promise for an extended period of time to earn trust from Greg Vanney.
After much speculation about his fitness over the off-season, Derrick Williams finally made his LA Galaxy debut at center-back. The debut for Williams was a bit of a surprise only in that his first start was to be played on artificial turf after a long layoff, including time with his previous club, due to injury.
Even with those caveats aside, Williams looked comfortable in the backline, did well to hold possession when he needed, positioned himself well, all in an effort to cover his area. The two goals in quick succession came from players not being marked by Williams.
Like all of the grades this week, the knock on Williams in this match was that he was only able to play 45 minutes after picking up a knock towards the end of the first half. If healthy, Williams should be looking to extend his minutes per game each week.
Jonathan dos Santos had a quiet match for the third week in a row and questions are now starting to be asked about whether or not dos Santos is living up to the billing as a designated player. At the start of the game, dos Santos looked lively by breaking up some plays and sparking the Galaxy in transition.
However, as the match progressed he failed to register a single tackle and did not contribute in a meaningful way for large swathes of the game. That is not to say that a player needs to be firing on all cylinders for all 90 minutes to be successful, but the moments of success for dos Santos appear to happen very few and far between.
Much like dos Santos, Samuel Grandsir has also continued to underwhelm in his starting role. Grandsir continued to look out of rhythm against the Sounders and was frustrated by the Seattle defense. A saving grace for Grandsir seems to be that his runs are putting him in the right position to be successful, but his final touch or pass is missing the mark.
For this reason, I am more optimistic that Grandsir can settle into playing in a new league, living in a new country, and playing with teammates who he is unable to have clear communication with. It was revealed earlier in the week that Sacha Kljestan was working as Grandsir’s translator during training which could explain a lengthier learning curve for the Frenchman. The Galaxy’s French invasion with Kevin Cabral and Sega Coulibaly cannot come soon enough to help make the transition smoother for Grandsir.
Below you can find all player grades plus their per game average rating.