I’m still grinning. Are you still grinning?
What. A. Game.
The emotions were all over the place in this one as the LA Galaxy went from a first half with misery of epic proportions, to a second half (or more accurately, last half an hour) of pure euphoria.
Player performance in the first half was pretty dire, with constant giveaways, a midfield that was overrun, and a strategy of consistently crossing to a forward crew that included tiny Ema Boateng (seriously Rolf, you’ve got to mix it up). It was shaping up to be a soul-crushing afternoon where the Galaxy were praying the game didn’t end 6-0.
The news is going to be all about Zlatan – justifiably so, but the true turning of the tide started with pressure from Carrasco, and the insertion of Baggio Husidic. Baggio in particular was HUGE – his composure on the ball and physical play was a huge addition to a side that needed some veteran calm.
Overall, it was one of the best games in the history of the club, and a definitive start to the LA cross-town rivalry.
We all bow down before #zLAtan.
Only the Lions
· Zlatan Ibrahimovic – that goal. Oh that golazo. I think I shrieked so hard my neighbors heard me. And the second as the game winner in the 91st. A brace that cements his place in LA Galaxy history, and earns him a lion-like exceptional rating for his first start.
· Baggio Husidic – As mentioned above, calmed the game down, stabilized passing, robbed LAFC of some critical passes, and was an overall pest in midfield. Also got a secondary assist. Not too shabby.
· Chris Pontius – turned around a rusty and immobile first half by being in the right place at the right time in the second half. Not sure where he found the energy to find his second half spark, but he did, with better movement, and the ability to get lose in the box. His forward passes weren’t quite good enough over the course of the game, but he scored at a critical time with LA Galaxy momentum building.
· Ola Kamara – not on the scoresheet, but came this close to scoring several times had the quality of service been better. Noticed this in the first game of the season, and noticed this here: his movement is excellent. It’s just a matter of time before he sinks several. Plus his physicality helped, his jumping for a header is what set Zlatan free on the zolazo (yes, that’s spelled intentionally).
· Ema Boateng – had the assist to Pontius for the second goal, and had several bursts down the left hand side in the second half. But his turnover led to Vela’s first goal, and he was once again short on quality on his final ball. That said, along with his assist he had two key passes.
· Ashley Cole – burned down the left multiple times by Blessing and Vela, he looked like a spinning top. Burned on Vela’s first goal. That said, he had the sublime assist on the game winner, and overall took care of his passing.
· Sebastian Lletget – all over the place trying to create in his 70 minutes. Two key passes and scored a nice goal. Obviously still trying to find the game and game fitness. But he made an effort to be a creative outlet.
· David Bingham – 1 major save, but had some trouble with his distribution all game. Didn’t cover himself in glory on Vela’s second goal.
· Dave Romney – late sub.
· Daniel Steres – part of a backline that was constantly backpeddling. He was less victimized than the rest of the defense in getting beat, but he also did score an unfortunate own goal in the scramble to clear a Urena pass. Limited defensive actions.
· Rolf Feltscher – teams recognize he’s a weak link defensively and go to town down his side. He gets caught flat footed a ton, and doesn’t have the pace to get back. On Vela’s second goal he was literally standing around watching Vela score as he was jogging into the play from behind. Jogging! His crosses to the midget forward army were also no help. He manages to get loose on offense, but needs to work on his service.
· Jorgen Skjelvik – lucky that Urena didn’t score (he hit the post) after leaving Jorgen in his dust. This was somewhat of a recurring theme in the first half.
· Perry Kitchen – ton of backpasses and giveaways in the first half. He also had some dangerous giveaways in his defensive half. Not sure if he was overwhelmed by the occasion, but an adjustment in the second half brought him closer to the defense while Carrasco pushed up, and that was a smart decision by Schmid. Left Kitchen more in his comfort zone.
· Servando Carraso – not enough weight in midfield, he was overrun in the first half. He had no ideas on how to shuttle the ball forward, meaning that he was caught in possession several times. He and Kitchen did not have distinct roles until Sigi pulled them apart. That resulted in nice pressure from Carraso on Feilhaber, and the Galaxy’s first goal.
MOTM - it can only be #zLAtan.