Woof. How fortunes have changed. This is partially due to the fact that the Galaxy are tired (75% passing accuracy). Lots of games with not much rotation in a short amount of time. Plus, a Zlatan that’s clearly running on fumes (dude needs a break).
I started the game okay with the slow pace. A change in formation, benching two players (long overdue), and bringing back the two young fullbacks. With all of that, I knew it would take some time for the Galaxy to look coherent. Sure enough, it took thirty minutes for the Galaxy to sort themselves out to conduct forays forward. However, that’s when the defensive wheels fell off.
LA started the second half somewhat decently, but then went back to the standard “cross to Zlatan.” Alvarez’s paperwork can’t clear fast enough. This team sorely, and I mean sorely, needs some creativity. One shot on goal (!) for 90 minutes doesn’t cut it.
For the second week in a row, there’s nobody in the first two categories.
You’re Welcome (aka, Excellent)
Happy Lion (aka, Good)
Sleeping Lion (aka, Okay)
· Sebastian Lletget – good tracking back. Tried to be everywhere, but that took him further from goal. Did serve in some dangerous balls: four key passes.
· Emmanuel Boateng – nothing much he could do when the offense’s plan is “cross to Zlatan’s head.”
· Emil Cuello – fantastic ball to Zlatan for LA’s best chance.
· Joe Corona – marshalled the midfield well, very active in stealing the ball. He is everywhere on the heat map, but couldn’t will the team to a win. Man of the match.
· Giancarlo Gonzalez – crucial foot to prevent a shot on goal in the 22nd minute. Many defensive actions, tops in the defense.
· Diego Polenta – each CB had a crucial clearance in the first half, Polenta was no exception in the 24th minute.
· David Bingham – save on New York’s first goal, but let down by his defense.
· Julian Araujo – important intervention on a NY counter in the first ten minutes. The better of the two young fullbacks. Gorgeous ball to Zlatan in the 71st minute, one of his two key passes. That said, his passing game is a sea of missed passes.
· Chris Pontius – brought a bit of spark when he was subbed on. Great cross to Zlatan seconds after his insertion.
The Lion Roars (aka, Poor)
· Zlatan Ibrahimovic – lethargic and tired, so few touches of the ball. Should have been subbed, if not been on the bench to start the game. That said, nearly scored when Sean Johnson vacated his post. Hit the crossbar off a fantastic ball from Emil. Maybe I’m a homer, but I saw nothing in the yellow card incident. “Hands to the face” seems like a rather stretched definition of Zlatan placing a hand on Sean Johnson’s neck. (not a great acting job by Sean either, who held his eye)
· Daniel Steres – lost his man on the rebound on New York’s first goal.
· Diedie Traore – beat down the right but bailed out by Polenta. Ball watching and lost his man on New York’s first goal – then compounded the issue by jogging with an arm raised looking for offside (play to the whistle young man). Subbed off at the half with the Galaxy needing more in midfield – he had very few touches. I still would take him over Skjelvik every day of the week and twice on Sundays.
· Servando Carrasco – threw off midfield balance. Bad back pass put Bingham in trouble. Had six defensive actions…total. Topped everything off by earning a yellow card. He is no Dos Santos.
· Uriel Antuna – flailing arm resulted in a handball in the box giving NY a penalty. Was a bit like a chicken with its head cut off all over the pitch. Missed a shot on goal after a layoff from Zlatan in the second half.