Welcome to 2020 LA Galaxy soccer!!! Chicharito! A rebuilt defense that still looks porous! A midfield that hasn’t yet clicked, but shows promise! It seems a lot like last year, but a tie on the road to start the season is nothing to be ashamed of.
LA started the game with several chances in the first few minutes, and looked very high energy. That slowly eroded over time and many Houston Dynamo attacks. Vulnerable to build up through the middle with Perry Kitchen continually sitting back, the Galaxy were constantly flatfooted and couldn’t build out of the back. The Galaxy’s defense looked bamboozled in the box for much of the game, engaging in emergency defense. That said, Bingham supplied Pavon with a pinpoint goal kick, and Pavon pulled off a moment of brilliance with a tremendous first touch, resulting in a golazo. LA Galaxy 1, Houston Dynamo 0.
Houston finally found their goal in the second half with the Galaxy continuing to sit in their own half. However, after Joe Corona was subbed on, providing LA’s midfield additional muscle, the Galaxy’s offense fluttered to life, resulting in more pressure on Houston, in particular in the last 15 minutes of the game. That LA side (and offense) is what we hope to see going forward, especially with the return of Jonathan dos Santos.
· First game of the season, no one earned this mark.
· Cristian Pavon – goal of individual brilliance in minute 13. A stunning first touch to bring Bingham’s distribution down, then some fancy moves and a gorgeous strike into the right corner. Great pass to set up Corona in the 66th minute for what looked like a sure goal. LA’s offense went through Pavon (3 key passes). Man of the Match.
· Joe Corona – unlucky to score, not once, but twice in the 66th minute. Not a surprise he brought strength to the midfield after coming on, setting up the best offense the Galaxy had all game.
· David Bingham – fantastic distribution to Pavon on LA’s first goal. Not at fault on the Dynamo goal, and no other major mistakes.
· Aleksandar Katai – within the first minute sent in a promising cross, followed it up by hitting the post with a header seconds later! Just missed left in the 23rd minute after a nice give and go with Pavon. Skied a decent layoff from Pavon to start the second half. On the other hand, his successful passing percentage was miserable and he didn’t cover for Rolf. Earned a yellow on a tactical foul in the second half. Subbed in the 58th minute.
· Emiliano Insua – lucky Manotas missed in the 36th minute after he let Manotas stroll by. Looked gassed in the second half. Decent cross into the box in the 78th minute, and again in the 80th. Unlucky to not have an assist. Dawdled on the ball in the second half leading to dangerous giveaways, lost tackles in some dangerous spots. He and Rolf seem very offense first, defense second, which is a bit scary.
· Nicholas Depuy – lucky to be bailed out by the Dynamo’s too many touches in the box. Caught flat-footed, in no man’s land, several times. That said, he was the quieter of the two centerbacks.
· Giancarlo Gonzalez – beat by Manotas in the 36th minute and very lucky not to be scored on. Absolutely terrible defending on Houston’s goal, ball watched instead of sticking with Manotas.
· Rolf Feltscher –still stands too far off his man on the right hand side –McNamara missed by inches in the second half off a pass from the right side. Had some great sliding tackles. Not super accurate getting passes into the box.
· Sacha Kljestan – there is a gaping hole in the boxscore in the defensive third where he or Perry Kitchen should be. Felt like he and Kitchen were constantly running after the play, rather than breaking it up.
· Perry Kitchen – covered well for an upfield Feltscher in the 28th minute. However, kept up his style of play from last year, far too reactive to the game, bypassed in midfield, which the Galaxy don’t need with a somewhat frightening backline.
· Sebastian Lletget – bailed out with a weak shot after not marking his man in the 24th minute. Off-balance shot in the 73rd minute that nearly went in. A few too many backpasses, the Galaxy need him to be a bit more inventive.
· Javier Hernandez – felt like his first action was to set up Lletget in the 73rd minute. It was a key pass….and it’s his only action in the box. No service equals no impact.
· Emil Cuello – last minute sub.
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