It's that time in the week when we take a look at the Opta Chalkboard for the last LA Galaxy match, this past Saturday against FC Dallas. The Opta Chalkboard thingy favors the Galaxy this week. LA has two players above 100 on the heat index, FC Dallas doesn't have a player above 90.
Now, I'm not flip flopping. I still think much of that is the Galaxy having to play from behind after the Brek Shea penalty kick. Still, we have to talk about David Beckham completing 47 successful passes. Like that's a whole lot of successful passes! He had 19 unsuccessful passes, for a completion percentage of 71%. The best completion percentage in MLS is 82.5, so it wasn't the best match ever for Beckham, and only two of those were considered key passes. Still, Beckham did work on Saturday.
The key passes for Beckham? The 77' corner kick that found Chad Barrett, but Barrett's header went high. The second happened back in the 19' minute, a long chip from the sideline that found Edson Buddle outside the box. Buddle's left footed attempt was blocked.
Those are two moments in the match that will be forgotten on stat sheets and highlight reels, but were certainly opportunities for the Galaxy to either go ahead or equalize.
Key passes is a fun stat for seeing the plays which had great potential but just weren't quite good enough. There's Todd Dunivan's chip in the 2' that found Mike Magee outside the box and Magee tried to head it on but there wasn't anyone in the box.
There was Pat Noonan finding Juninho alone in the middle of the pitch maybe thirty yards out from goal in the 89'. Juninho went top right corner, and the attempt landed on top of the corner. A shot fans have seen Juninho make many times before.
In the 86', Chad Barrett in the box headed the ball out to Landon Donovan outside the box. Donovan's right footed attempt was blocked.
Five moments in the match Saturday that could have been goals if things broke a little differently. That's outside the shots on goal, the penalty kick, and the Pat Noonan goal. Many of them came after the FC Dallas goal, when the Galaxy were firing anything and everything at Chris Seitz.
Which is why they say goals change games. It changes every bit of the strategy on the pitch. Not that the Galaxy played poorly before the FC Dallas goal. There was the Donovan attempt that hit the post, and of course the PK, that were the best attempts for either time up to that point in the match.
There wasn't a sense of urgency though. It's early in the year, and teams don't always play with urgency until their backs are against the wall. Still, if there's one takeaway from this match against FC Dallas, is that even as the back line improves, things aren't solid enough to play "the opportunities will come when they come" like the Galaxy tended to do last year. That "we can't lose this match" urgency coming in the first half can mean not having to find a fourth wind late in the second.