The LA Galaxy lost 0-1 in heart-wreching style against Real Salt Lake dropping points when Joao Plata found himself alone on goal in the 80'. For Galaxy fans it was cruelly similar to some of last year's results where LA put more balls on target, but a solid keeper performance and a little bad luck took away points in the final fifteen minutes.
Eight shots were headed to the lower corners of the goal for LA until Nick Rimando got his hands to them. Some like Landon Donovan's shot from the danger area in the first half only gave Rimando a split second to react. Robbie Keane had a great attempt saved by the upper far corner. The Galaxy created a higher number of chances, but once again were poor at finishing.
"Missed opportunities," said captain Robbie Keane. "Certainly in the first half and throughout the course of the game, there's no question about that. I think with the chances we had we could have killed the game off, but we didn't and we let them get back into the game."
Going into the locker rooms at halftime, the Galaxy had already taken twelve shots (to RSL's four) of which half were on target. Keane had hit the crossbar, Donovan had his attempt saved, and the halftime talk was how to keep up the intensity and not let off in the second half. Thirty-five minutes later the match has gotten away from them and they're chasing to get a point. Soccer can be cruel.
Salt Lake didn't get too many more chances in the second half, but they started to take shots in the middle of the penalty area. Three out of four of those attempts were put on target (not including the disallowed goal) troubling Jaime Penedo as LA started to show signs of fatigue. That ten minute stretch during which RSL had three shots on target saw the Galaxy record no defensive statistics. Not one interception, no clearances, no recoveries.
It was a new look back line for LA, with Omar Gonzalez the only player who got the most minutes last season for the Galaxy at the position he played tonight. LA's offseason wasn't the toughest, and though James Riley stood out enough to earn a starting position the whole system was a bit new. There are still plenty of wrinkles to be worked out.
However, with so many wasted chances it's impossible to keep from pointing fingers at the attack. Eight shots in the danger area is too many to not come away with a goal. Keane tried to stutter step Nick Rimando, who's one of the best in the league at reading body language. The effort simply wasn't there.
It's a short week with Tijuana coming to town on Wednesday. The Galaxy get the weekend off, but with tired legs playing a part in tonight's match and Tijuana in midseason form there are legitimate causes for concern.