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LA Galaxy vs. Whitecaps Player Ratings

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A rough night for the Galaxy as the offense finally got going, but the defense ultimately let the team down.

MLS: Los Angeles Galaxy at Vancouver Whitecaps FC Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

Well that was frustrating. The Galaxy finally got their shooting boots on, with some good movement through midfield by Boateng and Alessandrini, but after being profligate in front of goal they were ultimately undone by Vancouver’s speed.

After watching LA plod through 2016, not sure what to make of this game. On one hand, the Galaxy had ample opportunity to put this game away. Jermaine Jones missed what should have been a goal, and Emmanuel Boateng had a shot that whistled just wide of the post. On the other hand, the Galaxy should have been down early with what looked like a penalty given up by Jelle Van Damme, and they gave up 10 (!) shots on goal. That’s a recipe for disaster, and that’s ultimately what did them in (along with adventures in goalkeeping from Diop).

A few positives even in light of a 4-2 loss: Romain Alessandrini finally looked like he got the creativity going, Gyasi Zardes is back, and Emmanuel Boateng had a good game minus a few errant passes.

A few negatives: Giovani Dos Santos was missing in action, Diop made two bonehead decisions, and Joao Pedro still doesn’t look good.

All of that is reflected in the player ratings:

Excellent!:

Romain Alessandrini - Finally. This is the guy that the Galaxy paid DP money for. With two goals he had a good night, and his set pieces finally look consistently dangerous. He was a creative fulcrum in midfield, and though his final passes could have been better in the final third, his movement was excellent and his finishing golden. He also tracked back quite a bit with some important defensive play. The Galaxy needed this after losing Sebastian Lletget for the season.

Good:

Emmanuel Boateng - His speed was welcome to help the Galaxy compete against Vancouver’s speedsters. He justified his start after delivering a stellar assist to Alessandrini, and overall being a pest down the left hand side. Missed a goal of his own by inches.

Jermaine Jones - Was part of a Galaxy crew whose passing game wasn’t the best (the Galaxy normally have a passing accuracy percentage 80%+, yesterday it was 75%). However, he still had a lovely cross field assist to Alessandini and another key pass. He should have had a goal to complete his night, but missed wide right with a terrible finish. Defensively stuck in when Pedro goes missing.

OK:

Jack McBean - was part of the sequence on Alessandrini’s goal and was credited with the secondary assist. But he should be on the bench with Zardes healthy.

Ashley Cole - got forward to good effect, but was also part of fullback duo that was absolutely beat by Vancouver’s speed (and in his case, the 16 year old Alphonso Davies). That said, had a couple of crucial interceptions near the goal line - one of them after his own error - that saved the Galaxy from being more in the hole.

Daniel Steres - Part of a backline that was caught upfield one too many times. But not personally responsible for any goals. That said, absolutely miserable boot ball upfield.

Poor:

Clement Diop - had two absolutely stellar saves. However, he took all of that away and more by inexplicably wandering out of goal not once, but TWICE. The second time he was bailed out by his defense, but you wonder about his decision-making. Yes, he’s more aggressive than Rowe, but against the Whitecaps that proved to have a downside.

Joao Pedro - responsible for the third goal of the night with an absolutely lazy pass. Not enough defensive actions in midfield and two lost tackles. Passing game better than in previous weeks, but if he’s going to play defensive midfielder he can’t have the lazy passes to nowhere.

Nathan Smith - better than Garcia offensively so should be playing, but tonight was a nightmare for the young man. Vancouver repeatedly abused him down the right hand side all 90 minutes, leaving him in their dust.

Jelle Van Damme - uncharacteristic bad night for the centerback. Gave up what should have been a penalty, and had some errant passes of his own (even worse than Steres). Caught upfield as part of LA’s inexplicable high line against Vancouver’s speed.

Giovani Dos Santos - couldn’t tell he played. Going to chalk it up to his first game back, but if he continues like this, the Galaxy are throwing money into a hole. That said, I was surprised that he had three key passes. The Galaxy need more from him.

Curt Onalfo - adding the coach going forward. Why did LA play such a high line against Vancouver? Is Diop really ready for primetime? And Cole may have been tired, but why sub on a leftback when the Galaxy were losing? Husidic would have been a nice sub when the Galaxy midfield was being overrun.

Subs:

Gyasi Zardes - Nothing much in nearly half an hour, but it’s his first game in ages.

Bradford Jamieson IV - was bright in his few minutes and generated a key pass as one of his two touches.

Dave Romney - had no business being on the pitch with the Galaxy a goal down.