Missed chances in the first half and a slow reaction to changes has defender Derrick Williams saying the LA Galaxy can’t get comfortable.
Galaxy head coach Greg Vanney called the Vancouver Whitecaps a resilient team after having to play all of their “home” games at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah because of COVID-19 restrictions.
Their first actual home game this season is scheduled for Aug. 21 at BC Place against Los Angeles FC.
“They’ve dealt with some difficult circumstances,” Vanney said.
If the Whitecaps (3-7-7) indeed are resilient, the Galaxy are frustrating, to put it mildly, as evidenced by their surprising 1-1 tie with the Whitecaps on Sunday in front of a Dignity Health Sports Park crowd of 16,234.
The draw against the Whitecaps — who are winless (0-4-5) on the road, by the way — prevented the Galaxy (10-6-2) from taking over first place in the Western Conference.
It wasn’t so much a missed opportunity to temporarily reign in the West that left Vanney and his players in a state of disbelief. Their collective disappointment had to do with a number of scoring chances that went awry in a game in which they dominated for long stretches but failed to find a finishing touch.
“This is the second time we’ve played this team … gotten the first goal, allowed them to come back and get points off of us,” Vanney said.
Central defender Derrick Williams said a victory should have been almost certain after a first half in which they held a commanding 11-6 advantage in shots, including 4-2 on target.
“They’re a decent team. They make it hard on you,” Williams said. “The first half if we take our chances it’s a different game. If you keep missing chances the other team is going to get confidence, and once you give a team confidence the whole game changes, and momentum swings and you make it difficult for yourself.
“I still felt that first half, we score another goal, it’s game over,” he continued. Kevin Cabral opened the scoring in the 32nd minute with his second goal of the season. “But we didn’t. They came out, they scored (on a header in the 50th minute by Ranko Veselinovic) and they deserved the goal. After that, we were the better team again. We just couldn’t score and they defended well. It’s frustrating.”
Williams said game management lay at the crux of their problems Sunday.
“If we’re going to dominate the first half like we did,” he said, “we’re going to know they’re going to change something. And they did change … they had players coming in different pockets and it took us a while to adjust.
“It’s like we get a bit comfortable, and you can’t get comfortable in this league. Once you do, you get killed. You get punished. That’s what happened today. We got punished on a set-piece. Our reaction afterward was OK, but still not good enough.”
Williams wasn’t about to push the panic button, though. He’s confident Sunday’s result was just a proverbial bump in the road.
“We can’t get too down because we’re getting better as we’re going,” he said. “We’re still a young side. We’re still missing the best striker in the league (Javier Hernandez), we haven’t played a lot together as a full-side 11, there’s a lot of positives.
“But it’s the small details that we need to change to be really up there and be a championship-winning team. We’re not quite there just yet, hopefully, we can get it right.”