Obviously a lineup missing the likes of Robbie Keane, Steven Gerrard and Jelle Van Damme (not to mention Gyasi Zardes and Nigel de Jong) was going to have its growing pains, but as the match went on, the attack improved.
Let’s take a look at how the players performed.
Brian Rowe: Seven saves including a penalty kick stop on Ola Kamara. Just another night for the rapidly ascending keeper.
And he’s getting better. Late in the first half, a header outside the 18-yard box by Rowe to alleviate a potentially dicey situation was one example of how his distribution and awareness around the area has improved.
Sebastian Lletget: Described by Baggio as “glue” because the ball sticks to his foot during training, Lletget is coming into his own in the central midfield. On his birthday with girlfriend Becky G in attendance, Lletget was all over the park, connecting passes, going forward and giving the Crew defense fits. Had the best individual moment of the match in the 39th minute when the former West Ham youth product turned and twisted his way up the left side of Columbus’ half of the field before executing a world-class backheel drag to an open Boateng. (Yes, more impressive than Gio’s chip. It was that good)
If there was one fault in his performance, Da Boy was occasionally guilty of not pulling the trigger to spring dos Santos, which at one point had Arena throwing his arms in the air.
Giovani dos Santos: The turnover that fortuitously bounced to Gio’s beautiful game-winner scoop might have appeared to be a gift from the soccer gods, but it was a more than just reward after battling hard all match to score.
AJ DeLaGarza: In his 200th MLS regular season appearance, AJ was tasked with playing at center back and performed admirably. Donning the captain’s armband, DeLaGarza effectively organized the defense and led LA to within a few minutes of a shutout.
Honored to have put this jersey on for my 200th regular season appearance tonight. pic.twitter.com/cUlgDuVxqY— AJ DeLaGarza (@AJD_20) September 4, 2016
Robbie Rogers: Forced the turnover that led to the game-winner. Clearly LA miss his two-way presence and are a better team with him on the field.
Raul Mendiola: First career MLS start was a mixed bag, with more good than bad. As you would expect, the local product looked a bit nervous at first but soon settled into the match, bringing ingenuity and energy to a stalled Galaxy attack.
Emmanuel Boateng: Dangerous in spurts. It’s starting to look like the Ghanian is good for one dangerous sprint up the field a game. That being said, sooner or later Boateng has to finish those open looks.
Ashley Cole: A solid effort from the English muffin. (I know, that’s what Guy Fieri calls him, but I’m warming up to the nickname)
Daniel Steres: Guilty of conceding the penalty in stoppage time, but otherwise has a positive outing.
Mike Magee: With all the lineup changes someone was bound to struggle. Outnumbered in attack and lacking the pace to challenge the Crew back line, Magee was stuck between a rock and a hard place.
Jeff Larentowicz: Looked a half-second off the pace throughout the match. Does Larentowicz need to play more physical and put his stamp on the match more often? At one point, the defensive midfielder half-heartedly closed down on midfielder Mohammed Saeid, and Saeid simply turned and blew by him like he was stuck in quicksand.
Obviously, that can’t happen.
Baggio Husidic: What do you do when the opposing goalkeeper goes down with a knock and can’t move around too well? You test them.
As beautiful as Hudisic’s stunning blast was to put LA ahead, give the midfielder credit for recognizing the opportunity and seizing it.
Alan Gordon: Not much from the super sub.
Rafael Garcia: N/A