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Were the LA Galaxy unlucky not to get a second goal against Monterrey?

Bruce Arena said after the match that he thought his team could have had two or three goals. Were the LA Galaxy unlucky? Or was the performance on par with the averages?


There were three main lines of reasoning used to explain why the LA Galaxy had a late meltdown against Monterrey. We've discussed defensive letdowns and Juninho's absence, and now we're going to tackle if the Galaxy were unlucky not to get a second goal.

What we have to find, somewhere in the numbers, is that either the Galaxy or Monterrey should have expected a second goal by one of the metrics out there. Finding a team was lucky is to be expected, it was a fairly evenly played match. However, if the Galaxy were unlucky not to get a second goal then it's likely the result of great goalkeeping or poor shot selection.

Using the method put forward by Tempo Free Soccer, LA with seven attempts on goal and four of them on target had an expected goal rate of .88. The current MLS conversion rate has teams putting in about one out of ten of their attempts on goal and a quarter of their attempts on target.

Of course, not all shots are created equal. Opta last year at about this time wrote that on average MLS teams converted 18.1% of their shots from inside the 18 yard box. The Galaxy converted one out of their four attempts from inside the penalty area, again a bit ahead of the curve.

For comparison, Monterrey had an expected goal rate of 1.07 and converted two of their six shots from inside the penalty area. That has Monterrey well ahead of the MLS curve, and even if they were closer to average it's expected that a team that gives up five or more shots from inside the penalty area will give up a goal.

We went over earlier in the week how Galaxy defensive letdowns led to both Monterrey goals. Monterrey had their own huge defensive letdown with Robbie Keane ending up alone on goal to one touch a Mike Magee entry pass. It took a great bit of goalkeeping to keep it out.

Taking into account all the various talking points that came out of this match, 1-1 would have been a fair result. The Galaxy would have been lucky to give up that many attempts to Monterrey and get out without giving up a goal. Likewise, for both sides a second goal showed a bit of luck.

The Galaxy have to hope that they can play just as well in Monterrey Wednesday, and that this time luck breaks their way.