LA snapped a nine game unbeaten streak in MLS, as the Galaxy were defeated 1-0 by NYCFC before 35,500 Saturday afternoon at Yankee Stadium.
LA were lucky to escape a penalty call early when some clever one-touch passing forced Jelle Van Damme to physically confront Frank Lampard inside the box.
That luck lasted about 60 seconds however, as Ronald Matarrita surged forward all alone on a breakaway vs. Clement Diop. Making his MLS debut, Diop made the big stop but the ball richoched to David Villa, who appeared to be offsides but slotted the ball into the net in just the 6th minute.
The Galaxy looked out of sorts on the small confines of Yankee Stadium, and Bruce responded by switching Giovani dos Santos and Gyasi Zardes on the wings. The Galaxy almost equalized when an error out of the back from NYCFC led to Gyasi Zardes squaring to an open Nigel de Jong inside the box, but he curved his shot wide of the left post.
Then it was the Galaxy’s turn to gift NYCFC an easy chance off a Daniel Steres turnover, but Diop made a stellar 1 vs. 1 stop on David Villa to keep the match close.
Nigel de Jong managed to execute a dangerous bicycle kick near the end of the half, but former Galaxy keeper Josh Saunders made a smart sprawling save.
Jack Harrison almost doubled NYCFC’s lead in the 66th after darting past Van Damme, but his left-footed blast on the top of the box just sailed over the post.
Sebastian Lletget was subbed into the match and became involved, sending in a cross that Josh Saunders flubbed at, and Robbie Keane really should have finished into an open net but missed the chance.
Jelle Van Damme got on the end of a Steven Gerrard cross in the 83rd minute but couldn’t steer his shot into the net.
Emmanuel Boateng was subbed on late and had an instant impact, but it was too little too late as LA could not find the equalizer.