Photo Courtesy of the LA Galaxy

Galaxy fall to Seattle – In a game they should have won

Julian Araujo has one of his worst games as Seattle does very little but still grabs the win.

The LA Galaxy faced their first setback of the 2022 campaign on Saturday afternoon. That’s where the Seattle Sounders, in front of 33,700 fans at Lumen Field, outscored the Galaxy 3-2 in what can only be described as a frustrating result.

After the game, LA Galaxy head coach Greg Vanney called it “infuriating” and added that the Galaxy really seemed to control the pace and play of the entire match but conceded too easily in some situations.

“I felt like we controlled the vast majority of the game. I didn’t feel like they had really any attacking solutions except to go long ad try to play off of long balls or set pieces. And, I thought we had good control of the game as it relates to the ball. I thought we had good control of the game as it related to chances in the run of play. I just — we just undo ourselves by the set-piece goals.”

The Galaxy got the opening goal thanks to some great combination between Raheem Edwards, Rayan Raveloson, and Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez that put Hernandez on the doorstep in the 6th minute. He finished easily from about six yards out and gave the Galaxy the opening lead.

But a series of defensive mistakes from Julian Araujo would ultimately lead to the Galaxy’s downfall. And Araujo figured in each and every goal that Seattle scored.

Nine minutes after the opener, Jordan Morris was able to hop on a rebound that came off of defender Nick DePuy’s hip on a corner kick. The ball found Morris, who fell while trying to take the shot, and had his foot and leg over the ball from about 2-feet from the goal-line with Galaxy goalkeeper Jonathan Bond blocking his route to the goal. Araujo, who was late to cover Morris, toe-poked the ball out from under Morris’ foot and into the back of the goal. Morris was credited with the goal, but Araujo provided the propulsion.

With the score tied, the Galaxy went back to dominating possession — they finished with close to 64% of it — and creating dangerous chances. They would outshoot Seattle 14-8 by the time the game ended but would lose that battle 4-3 when counting shots on goal.

A halftime score of 1-1 would have felt unkind to the Galaxy, but when Araujo jumped into Freddy Montero – who really had already been stopped of any forward progress by Sega Coulibaly – it gave the Sounders a penalty kick that Montero would bury.

Vanney would call it a “nonsense penalty kick that we give up for no reason.”

The Galaxy responded in the second half, and Douglas Costa scored his first goal as a Galaxy player. Nouhou Tolo fouled Rayan Raveloson just outside the box in the 46th-minute, leading to Chicharito, Efrain Alvarez, and Costa all standing over the 20-yard kick.

Chicharito took a run at it but eventually stepped over the ball, and Costa then launched a left-footed shot that deflected off the Seattle wall and into the left side of the net.

Costa had tied the game in what should have been, at the very worst, a 1-point road draw.

In the 53rd-minute Kevin Cabral, who had a quiet game — almost as quiet as Alvarez — dropped a shoulder and cut back to his right foot to launch a curling shot to the far right post. It shook the woodwork with all its might, but it wouldn’t go in.

Alvarez, and the only noise he made, were featured in a 79th-minute. He floated into almost the exact same spot where he scored the game-winner last weekend against Charlotte. However, this time, it hit off the cross-bar after beating Stefan Frei and fell harmlessly to Seattle.

But at that point, the Galaxy were already back behind the 8-ball. Seven minutes before Alvarez launched his shot, Xavier Arreaga was played in on a setpiece by Alex Roldan. The ball had been passed out to Roldan off the setpiece and then launched inside the box with the Galaxy’s backline trying to hold the line. Instead, Arreaga was able to float in behind DePuy’s back shoulder, and where Sega Coulibaly should have been, he was instead four yards forward engaged in a fruitless tussle of real estate. Arreaga simply raised up and headed the ball past Bond for the game-winning goal.

The Galaxy haven’t beaten Seattle in Seattle since a 1-0 victory in July of 2016. And they hadn’t beaten Seattle in any match since a 3-0 win in September of 2019. So this opportunity was a chance for the Galaxy to put the rest of the Western Conference on notice and Start the season 3-0-0 for just the third time in club history.

And when scoring the first goal last season, the Galaxy only lost twice. That held up in the first two games where the Galaxy scored first and kept clean sheets. But one of those times, in 2021, was to the Seattle Sounders in a 2-1 home loss after scoring the first goal.

The Galaxy had some poor moments, and indeed, setpiece defending will continue to be a focus. But when you look at the totality of the play, the Galaxy should feel okay about the game. They will never feel okay about the result. But the way they played – minus the individual mistakes on defense (read: Araujo) – should allow them to move quickly on as Orlando City invades Dignity Health Sports Park next Saturday.

“The way we conceded goals was all too easy,” Vanney said. “Which was too many times.

“However,” he continued, “I would say in the run of play and in the chance creation and those areas of the field, I thought we had good control of the game. Like I said, it didn’t feel like they had great solutions as to how to break us down when we were organized. I felt like we had good solutions to break them down in possession. Not always coming off, but I thought we had good solutions. But, yeah, just in terms of punishing ourselves with goals and bad times and too easy of goals, that doesn’t feel like where we want to be this year. That’s for sure. So, we’ll come up with solutions and be working on that, as I said to the guys ad nauseam. Because we can’t do that.”