(With assistance from James Coston, SB Nation) The LA Galaxy lost for the third time in four MLS matches, cementing their place in the Western Conference cellar for at least another week. David Beckham didn't make the trip, Landon Donovan was back in the starting lineup, but the most notable thing was the lack of a shot on goal by the Galaxy. Not that LA should feel too bad, they're the second team held without a legitimate shot by SKC this season.
Just like last week, Bruce Arena was complimentary of his opponent, while acknowledging that there isn't a whole lot to like about his team right now:
I thought Sporting played well today. It was a very physical game and they really, I think on the day, did a better job in the battling department, beat us on almost every header today, did a great job on second balls and I think over 90 minutes, those are tough battles to lose and I think, to their credit, they won most of them.
To summarize, the Galaxy for the second week in a row were muscled out by the competition. Last week, they couldn't match the energy level of New England. This week, they can't match the physicality of Kansas City.
Statistically, Kansas City was about 20% better at winning duels, and 15% more accurate with their passing. Going into this afternoon's match Kansas City had the highest possession percentage in MLS with 59.3%. SKC had 59.6% of the possession against the Galaxy. Sporting has now conceded just one goal in 450 minutes of MLS play in 2012. (according to OptaJack)
The other stat worth watching going into tonight's match was Edson Buddle leading the league in fouls committed; including offside calls. Buddle committed two fouls tonight, though managed not to get called offside, bringing his season total to 20. Landon Donovan led the team tonight in fouls committed with four. Still Arena was high on his captain's performance.
I thought Landon had a solid game today. He’s been out for a few weeks. Usually the first game back isn’t easy.
The Galaxy may still be just fine when Leonardo and then ultimately Omar Gonzalez return. The year is young, and there's plenty of time to make up the points lost. The unbalanced schedule certainly makes catching up easier while at the same time making the wear and tear of travel less of a factor. The Galaxy have missed out of nine points but only three of those against a Western Conference opponent.