It's no secret that the LA Galaxy didn't play well last night against the Seattle Sounders. One shot on target all match, and that shot being directly at the backup goalkeeper from ten yards outside the box, doesn't bode well for a team's chances. So once again we turn to the chalkboard, to see if we can wrestle some hope out of that dreary performance.
One player who worked really hard last night is Marcello Sarvas. Presumably Sarvas was purchased to play significant minutes, however he's had trouble sticking since coming over. Last night he complete 58 passes, almost all of them from within ten yards of the midfield line. None of them registered as key passes, so he was working hard distributing from the midfield, but not contributing to offensive creation. He took two shots from outside the box late in the match, but on both he looked unbalanced and the ball sailed way high.
Juninho also made a significant effort last night, he and Sarvas were the two Galaxy players to register over 100 on the heat index. Juninho completed 62 passes last night, and with almost a 90% completion percentage was awfully accurate. However, again, none of them registered as key passes, his one cross was unsuccessful, though he did have one through ball. He did not take a shot during the match.
With one CM and one wing committed to play in the midfield, Landon Donovan and Sean Franklin were on the hook for most of the offensive creation. Which is why I still don't understand going with Marcelo Sarvas over Michael Stephens, especially in the second half. The role Sarvas ended up playing is done better by Stephens; a game where Stephens clogged up the middle for 90 minutes wouldn't feel like a waste.
Donovan and Franklin combined for 67 completed passes, but more importantly they had five key passes. Looking at their heat maps, Franklin stuck to creating from his right midfield position, while Donovan started at left center midfield and then covered the whole left half of the field. Franklin's key passes came from the right directed toward cetenr, while Donovan was sending balls into the box from the left side.
However, those key passes were not getting to the forwards. Between Landon Donovan and the four players who came in at forward (Barrett, Cristman, Buddle, Noonan) the only attempt on goal was an easy save on a Donovan shot from ten yards outside the box. Cristman did have a header go wide, and a shot blocked, but the remaining three did not make an attempt on goal.
So where were these key plays? David Junior Lopes getting on the end of a Donovan free kick in the 83', missing high with the head. That's the one key pass from the Donovan/Franklin pairing I can find leading to an attempt. That's the entire midfield looked at, and only one fair opportunity on a set piece from the lot of them.
After all that, it has to be said: the Galaxy missed David Beckham last night. When he's not on the field distributing, everyone scrambles to do his job, forgetting their own roles, and it becomes a bit of a wash. Chalk this one up to an unpracticed unit, and hope the A team can have a better showing on Saturday.