In the first half against the Houston Dynamo, the Galaxy saw nice passages of patient possession. This looked so much better than the past years of helter skelter footy after the defense managed to lose the ball for the 1,032nd time. The second half was not so polished (I’m looking at you, Jorgen), but with a very well taken header by Diego Polenta, the Galaxy emerged with a win. I’m a little worried at the injuries that seem to be hitting several players, but the Galaxy are stringing wins together, and that’s a great thing. They still need to figure out how to get some added creativity working the ball forward beyond crossing the ball to Zlatan’s head. The Galaxy do seem to be working on it, but it’s not yet effective as evidenced by the amount of misplayed passes into the final third.
Overall ratings are relatively decent, minus one glaring exception. I’m ready to have anyone play left back. ANYONE. (Seriously, can Dave Romney not do any better? Heck, a traffic cone probably plays better defense.)
You’re Welcome (aka, Excellent)
· Diego Polenta – excellent sliding tackle in the 9th minute, followed up by a great poke away of the ball in the 10th minute. Controlled the backline, had only two missed passes, had a key pass, and scored his first LA goal on a header off a corner. Man of the match.
Happy Lion (aka, Good)
· Zlatan Ibrahimovic – I wrote last week that defenders don’t know what to do with him – this was demonstrated with the penalty he earned in the 29th minute. Zlatan goes down easy, yes – but with AJ Delagarza basically giving Zlatan a bear hug, this one was a PK. (How one of the league’s smallest defenders ends up defending the 6’ 5” Ibrahimovic is anyone’s guess.) Zlatan converted, though it wasn’t his best PK (Willis nearly saved!). By the way, I’m in love with Zlatan’s behind the back accurate (!) passes. Could not find the back of the net with a header in the second half despite multiple tries.
· Daniel Steres – caught flat footed by some great passing by Houston in the 36th minute. But when did his distribution get so good? His over the top balls seem to find Zlatan like laser beams, and he’s much more accurate this year. Kudos.
· Jonathan Dos Santos – sent in the cross for the winning goal for an assist. His defensive actions in the final third are impressive, plus he had two key passes. He’s so consistently solid.
· David Bingham – late to the ball in the 17th minute and lucky he wasn’t punished. Decent save right after the Dynamo penalty and a great save in the 84th minute against Manotas.
· Julian Araujo – great long ball to Antuna in the 19th minute. Didn’t let Elis get the best of him, and was involved in the offense. For seventeen, not too shabby and an upgrade over his first game.
Sleeping Lion (aka, Okay)
· Joe Corona – not very creative, but also wasn’t a giveaway machine.
· Sebastian Lletget – he was everywhere on the pitch, but his passes into the final third were miss after miss. Just not an accurate night.
· Romain Alessandrini – injured and exited the game early.
· Uriel Antuna – nice dribbling led to the cross that caused the PK in the 29th minute. Beyond that though, not very involved. He’s swinging hot and cold at the moment.
· Emmanuel Boateng – subbed on for the injured Alessandrini. Great ball to Zlatan in the 26th minute. However, he mostly had one of those nights where though he was active – things just weren’t quite on target. Pass too long, too short, tried to chip the keeper with a weak shot. All of this followed by an unfortunate injury.
· Servando Carrasco – late sub.
· Giancarlo Gonzalez – late sub to protect the lead.
The Lion Roars (aka, Poor)
· Jorgen Skjelvik – I was happy that I had nothing to write for 45 minutes, and then he committed a bonehead play to start the half by giving up a PK and a goal. Fell over against Elis in the second half and was lucky when Elis shot wide. Beat by a chipped ball only a couple of minutes later. I have no idea how he is still a starter. Would Romney not be a better choice?