Not all nil-nil draws are the same and although the end to end pace of the LA Galaxy draw with San Jose was quite watchable it wasn't great soccer. Jaime Penedo had to make two big saves to keep LA in the match, but neither team created a big chance. Neither team had a significant strength.
Part of that is the way San Jose plays soccer; they're quite physical and LA has shown this season that physical teams can shut down what they're trying to do. Even with the Galaxy occasionally finding acres of space, the physical toll on the match kept good chances from happening. Landon Donovan looked off a step. Omar Gonzalez had to come out with cramping. It wasn't a beautiful match.
"Hard fought contest," said Bruce Arena. "Playoff atmosphere. San Jose played a good game; the kind of game we thought they'd play. In the end it's probably a fair result."
Penedo's saves on two first half headed attempts from the middle of the penalty area were highlight worthy, diving to his right to keep San Jose off the scoreboard. He was also excellent tonight knowing when to come off his live, and diving over players to get a crucial loose ball late in the match.
Gyasi Zardes played on the right side with Sean Franklin and had himself a decent match as well. He laid of the shot attempts and instead focused on distribution showing an understanding of when to go by his marker and when to hold up. He had two key passes to Landon Donovan in the first half, both were near goals.
The Galaxy had to go with rookies in the starting XI with Todd Dunivant and A.J. DeLaGarza recovering from injuries. Cochrane and Opare did well with San Jose attackers targeting the young defenders. Cochrane led the team in tackles.
"I thought Cochrane and Opare did well. We had a lot of trouble with Salinas; last fifteen minutes of the game I thought he was very effective. He was probably their most dangerous player on the night."
The struggle for the Galaxy these last two matches is on offense, which could have a good deal to do with fatigue. Juninho, who will miss the season finale due to yellow card accumulation, led the team in shots as Donovan and Keane struggled at times to find openings.
The Galaxy are in the playoffs, but they still need to play well in Seattle if they're going to avoid the play in game. Depending on other results the Galaxy can still finish as high as first and as low as fifth. They didn't do themselves any favors wasting this opportunity against San Jose.