What a different start to the year! For the LA Galaxy there is energy, discipline and a solid work rate. Galaxy fans don’t feel the need to bite fingernails for 90 minutes waiting for the defense to inevitably breakdown. And look, what do we have here? WINS?!?!?!!??!? Home wins?!?!! Coach Schelotto seems to have done some welcome work, and the team is paying him back with solid performances.
Announcer Cobi Jones mentioned that the start of the game felt a little slow. I thought that was okay because of one thing: defensive discipline. The Union didn’t really test the Galaxy backline, yes. But at the same time, the Galaxy looked organized and coherent with the forwards and midfield protecting the ball and getting back to help defend, and the defense stayed together. That’s a win after the porous sieve the team has been in previous seasons. The introduction of Giancarlo Gonzalez should be an interesting change now that the defense has shut outs under it’s belt.
Player ratings for the Galaxy’s 4th win in a row (I know, it feels shocking):
You’re Welcome (aka, Excellent)
· Zlatan Ibrahimovic – headed goal towering over a Philadelphia defender. Earned another penalty using his giant frame, and converted. His rate of production continues to amaze, and defenders will be flummoxed on how to handle him in the box – give him space, he takes advantage, body him up, he takes advantage. Man of the match.
Happy Lion (aka, Good)
· Romain Alessandrini – found Skjelvik for the secondary assist on LA’s first goal. His activity in the box is not yet quite on target (lots of missed passes), but his effort both forward and back was straight up commendable, and earned him this rating.
· Daniel Steres – goal line clearance in the 54th minute. Otherwise calm, cool and collected. He missed only one pass.
· Diego Polenta – seems to have brought some stability to the backline and appears far more comfortable than his first few games. Looks like he shook off the rust.
· Rolf Feltscher – not abused down the left hand side. Was active on offense as usual, and had two key passes. Defensively more sound than in previous games. Injured in the second half.
· Jonathan Dos Santos – covered his usual great amount of ground, and oh so steady with the ball, plus tracked back. Solid presence in midfield.
· Joe Corona – underestimated him until I looked at his pass map. He is everywhere along with Dos Santos. Could have been slightly tidier with the ball, but his partnership with Dos Santos meant that the Galaxy had the ball most of the time – frustrating the Union.
Sleeping Lion (aka, Okay)
· Sebastian Lletget – earned a yellow for a dangerous sliding tackle. However, with a driving run caused the foul that generated a red card for the Union’s Trusty. Could be a little more visible and creative on offense. It looks like it’s coming.
· Uriel Antuna – sent in the cross that earned Zlatan a penalty. Didn’t see much of the ball though, the Galaxy need him to be more active.
· Emmanuel Boateng – late sub after the Union went down to 10 men.
· Juninho – welcome home! Late sub.
· Julian Araujo – didn’t make any major mistakes after coming in for the insured Feltscher.
· David Bingham – push save in the 40th minute after basically being a spectator. Not much else to do, though was lucky with a hit post later in the game.
The Lion Roars (aka, Poor)
· Jorgen Skjelvik – on the positive side, wide open for the crossed assist to Zlatan. On the negative side, sucked toward the center letting in a dangerous cross that was luckily whiffed by the Union. Bad communication with Bingham nearly led to disaster right before the half. Started the second half with another error, losing the ball over the top instead of an easy headed clearance. Lost his man, leading to a shot off the post for the Union. He doesn’t play like a million dollar man and was willing this game away – can Gonzalez play LB?