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Three takeaways from an agonizing loss to D.C. United

MLS: LA Galaxy at D.C. United Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Was this the worst loss of the season?

Maybe the worst feeling. The LA Galaxy completely dominated over the course of 90 minutes but succumbed to a pair of defensive lapses to drop their third straight match. Should Galaxy fans start panicking? Not quite.

Guillermo Barros Schelotto’s team were rampant.

Against a less than full strength United LA basically camped out on the D.C. end of the pitch for much of the night while bossing the match. 70% possession. 29 shots on goal. 9 corners. Over 531 completed passes compared to 232 for United. Even the battle of duels and tackles fell convincingly in LA’s favor.

And yet the blue white and gold were missing something. With D.C.’s usual midfield starters out and LA enjoying the luxury of time and space in the center of the park, the Galaxy could have benefitted from another attacking presence to help break down United’s resolute defending. It was a sensible decision on Guille’s part to insert Perry Kitchen and give Joe Corona a breather, and yet his quality was likely missed on the night.

Cristian Pavon enjoyed a solid debut.

Though still working his way back to proper match fitness, the Boca Juniors winger put in a full shift and looked lively despite lacking familiarity with his new teammates. There were moments when Pavón deferred to Zlatan, other times the 23-year old was eager to create his own shot. LA will need much more of the latter from the Argentine international.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic was robbed of multiple penalty kicks.

In the 16th minute Ibra deflected a clearance inside the box, and as the ball floated in the air Zlatan positioned himself to win the rebound.

Before he could make a play on the ball, center back Frederic Brilliant recklessly barged into Ibra, leading with his elbow and slamming into the big Swede’s back with enough momentum for his chest to smash Ibra in the head on the follow through. Somehow referee Alan Kelly didn’t consider the sequence illegal or even worthy of a VAR review.

We slept on it, and it’s still a ridiculous no-call.

Later in the half Jalen Robinson was guilty of undercutting Ibrahimovic inside the penalty area, but again was seemingly let off the hook by Kelly.

One of Zlatan’s strengths is his ability to use his body intelligently to win aerial duels. If defenders are going to resort to overly physical play to try and stop Ibra, he deserves protection from the referees.