It was expected for Atlanta United to come out firing, and that’s exactly what the Galaxy got. Atlanta had sustained pressure in the first half with the Galaxy looking absolutely at sea defensively – oodles of dangerous chances for Atlanta in the box coming from down the flanks. The Galaxy’s luck officially ran out after an Atlanta penalty was missed, three crossbars/posts were hit, and Atlanta sank their first goal after burning down the flanks once again. Feltscher and Cole were left in the dust repeatedly, and Steres and Skjelvik were traffic cones guarding shadows after lovely interchanges from Atlanta players at pace.
The last fifteen minutes of the first half turned into a track meet completely bypassing the midfield. Jonathan Dos Santos was a late scratch from the line up, and the Galaxy 100% sorely missed his calm presence and ball handling abilities. They were frankly lucky to finish the first half not down multiple goals.
The second half turned the tide a bit in the Galaxy’s favor, with more possession, composure, and better passing. However, an unwillingness to shoot in front of the net, and the lack of that final quality ball left the Galaxy scoreless.
Nothing to say about the lame penalty that was granted to end the game, and Almiron’s Oscar worthy antics (great player, frustrating to play against).
Emergency defending was the name of the game for both sides (mostly the Galaxy) and took away some nice movement from the Galaxy on their own counter.
· Sebastian Lletget – missed right after some tiki taka from Alessandrini and Feltscher in the 12th minute. Had a shot on goal that he should have done better with after being mistakenly called offside. Earned repeated fouls on Atlanta players as one of the creative lights on the home side making decent runs.
· Zlatan Ibrahimovic – couldn’t do much in the first half with the midfield turning the ball over and the Galaxy spending much time emergency defending. (He would hate being in this category). Looked his age at times with some poor passing, though did have an excellent ball into the box in the 82nd minute.
· Ola Kamara – just missed with a bicycle kick in the 7th minute after a lovely bit of play from the Galaxy forwards. Feltscher sent in another cross in the 38th minute that Kamara sent just to the right of the goalpost. Needs to learn to be onside.
· Jorgen Skjelvik – can’t blame him for the tactical foul and yellow card he earned on Almiron. Can blame him for being on the wrong side of the player for what could have been a second yellow minutes later. Atlanta’s second goal had no business being a penalty, so not knocking him for that one (Toledo, never thought you were so gullible).
· David Bingham – positioning still looked suspect on crosses, guessed right on Atlanta’s penalty kick. Absolutely putrid distribution putting LA needlessly in danger. Nice save on Almiron in the 62nd minute, after leaving home. Right time, right place on Almiron in the 69th minute, then a decent save in the 72nd minute.
· Servando Carrasco – gave Kitchen and the backline some protection with more movement than Baggio.
· Giovani Dos Santos – lots of industry, no end product.
· Chris Pontius – late sub.
· Rolf Feltscher – beat like a drum on the right by coming inside too much and recovering far too late on plays. Utterly lazy and punished. His offense down the right was more on target than in previous weeks with several dangerous balls (he had 3 of LA’s paltry 5 key passes), but he should be a defender first. If I could have, I would have rage subbed him after watching him lazily defend in the box or lazily jog back to defend.
· Romain Alessandrini – had some ideas to interplay with the front four, but nothing resulted as his final pass was never quite quality. If you look at his passing chart? Woof. Also did some defending when the Galaxy was overrun. However, his corners and crosses left something to be desired, and he still looks a shadow of himself.
· Ashley Cole – lucky defending against Nagbe in the 7th minute during sustained pressure from Atlanta. However, beat multiple times in the first half and was repeatedly attacked. Did have the most defensive actions among the back 4.
· Daniel Steres – last ditch intervention in the 6th minute, lucky that Atlanta fired high. Was the victim of a dragging leg for a penalty that was subsequently missed, but it didn’t matter as he was spun like a top minutes later. He had 6 defensive actions. That’s right, 6. Guarding shadows!!!
· Baggio Husidic – rusty turnovers in the first few minutes, had a hard time pairing with Kitchen in the middle. Bypassed, he had a seriously disappointing amount of touches.
· Perry Kitchen – part of a midfield duo that did not control the ball to start the game, then earned a yellow card for a tackle on Almiron. He’s only had one good game since the start of the season, and I’m starting to wonder if he’s more of a liability than a plus. Better at the end of the game when Carrasco gave him some cover, but he still can’t pass forward to save his life (this is where this team needs Jonathan Dos Santos).
Man of the Match: Sebastian Lletget, the only player that looked like he had a clue.