Have LA figured out their Zlatan problem by going to a 3-5-2 formation? Zlatan has become a goal scoring machine with another brace. He’s now scored 7 goals with 3 assists in 11 games. That is some production, and opposing defenders are well aware of where he is at any given time, and he’s opening space for other players (LA’s third goal was the definition of this).
LA needs to figure out how to start the game the way they end the game, avoiding falling behind in the first half and scoring multiple goals in the second half. Not to mention, it’s been a long time since the Stub Hub saw a shut out. Was the insertion of Bradford Jamieson key to the second half (looks like it), and can the team start the game with that sort of pressure?
The Galaxy also should thank the referees for not ejecting Jorgen Skjelvik on a clear foul in the second half. LA were very, very lucky not to be playing with 10 men.
Regardless, it’s the first multi-goal victory for the Galaxy in some time, plus a shut-out, against a decent team in the West. The World Cup break almost comes at an unfortunate time as the Galaxy appear to be gaining momentum. Hopefully they can remember this type of play post the World Cup intermission.
· Zlatan Ibrahimovic – just missed a headed goal in the first half. Stellar loop to Kitchen on a late run by Perry out of the midfield, but Rimando saved. Looked to have scored on a slow roller off a cross, but RSL cleared at the absolute last second. Great header to Kamara to put Ola in on goal. Took advantage of a horrible Rimando clearance to head in a goal. Held off Glad for an excellent header for LA’s second goal, and his own brace. Drew both defenders on Kamara’s goal. Finally, also clearly seen praising teammates – much better attitude and overall body language that befits a leader.
· Michael Ciani – caught out by Beard, looked slow on a counter. Almost got caught on the ball, but escaped. 8 critical clearances in the six.
· David Bingham – deflected a SOG wide right. Didn’t have much else to do, but composed himself well when called upon.
· Chris Pontius – served in some decent crosses from the right, and provided the cross that Rimando couldn’t deal with for Zlatan’s goal. Nice pass to a wide open Kamara for an assist. Industrious and active from the wing.
· Ola Kamara – put in on goal by Zlatan header, but another Rimando knee save. Nice run and finish on the Galaxy’s third goal off a Pontius pass. Did a lot of dirty, physical work this game that finally paid off.
· Bradford Jamieson IV – absolutely bright after his insertion, served in a beauty of a cross to Zlatan whose shot on goal was cleared off the line. He started the waterfall of chances for LA by being active, speedy and direct. Also to be seen with major defensive effort. Nice game for the young man coming back from multiple concussions and a reward for his Open Cup performance. This is a role LA typically saves for Boateng.
· Ashley Cole – important leg in to deflect a shot headed toward goal in the latter third of the game. Not much of an offensive presence, but did his job on the left.
· David Romney – my last rating of him in this position was putrid. A huge advancement to have nothing really to write. He actually stayed on the right hand side of the pitch this time, which helped.
· Perry Kitchen – was strangely far up the pitch, and had a nice late run out of midfield that was almost a goal after a feed from Zlatan to end the half, but Rimando saved. He didn’t have a lot of touches, but he wasn’t the problem this game.
· Servando Carrasco – stellar cross assist to Zlatan for LA’s second goal. Bailed out by Ciani after a terrible backpass. But clogged up more of the middle than Kitchen.
· Sebastian Lletget – great cross in that barely missed Kamara. Injury forced him out to start the second half.
· Emmanuel Boateng – late game sub.
· Jorgen Skjelvik – lost Rusnak, but luckily Rusnak completely mishit what looked like a sure goal. Important leg in to stop Baird on an RSL counter. Lately playing more aggressively, and lucky not be red carded after what appeared to be a DOGSO foul as the last man – earned a yellow card instead for his troubles. Right now Ciani is the organizing force, not Jorgen, on this LA team.
Man of the Match = Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Tonight he played as part of the team, but also featured his own brilliance. The Galaxy want this Zlatan. He’s amazing and is more of a supportive team player.