After a solid defensive 70 minutes, one spell of ball watching led to a comedy of errors for the LA Galaxy. Nick DePuy has been a find to start the season, bringing some stability to the Galaxy backline with Emiliano Insua also being a threat on both sides of the ball. These two additions led to a start of the game that saw the Galaxy miss several chances out of what looked like rustiness (and some bad decisions), and Vancouver look stymied with few decent forays into the box. The Galaxy looked organized and composed (shocking).
Then Rolf Feltscher waffled about, DePuy had an emergency lunge, and the rest of the midfield decided to take a siesta, letting Ali Adnan waltz to a goal. Joe Corona topped this off by earning a red card seconds later. Giancarlo Gonzalez contributed by gifting Vancouver a penalty, but David Bingham helped him out with a save.
Discipline is the key word here. Playing the game for the full 90, and realizing you no longer have Zlatan Ibrahimovic in the middle. Countless crosses from the flanks to Chicharito will be a recipe for disaster this season. The Galaxy need to build from the middle, which is exactly why they got Sacha Kjlestan. This doesn’t mean remove the fullback offensive and the overlapping runs. It does mean send low squared balls into the box rather than lofted loopy balls to an opponent head.
The coaching staff has got to strategize better with the Galaxy’s attacking talent.
· Still too early in the season for anyone to break out, and it was a loss.
· Cristian Pavon – good build-up with Corona and Insua in the 7th minute. Missed high off a Feltscher cross in the 15th minute. Great cross into the box in the 62nd minute forced a save. Few instances where he should have passed rather than shot. All over the place after the Galaxy went down a man, passionate until the bitter end. One not so good note: his passing accuracy was a bit wince-worthy. Man of the Match (for effort).
· Aleksandar Katai – like last week, missed an early headed chance off a cross from Insua. Missed high off a Kjlestan lay off. Couldn’t chip the keeper in the 36th minute. One of these have to go in at some point, right? Bailed the defense out after a Kjlestan giveaway, and showed great commitment to tracking back. Earned a yellow card while preventing a breakaway. Subbed in the 58th minute.
· David Bingham – Woodwork bailed him out off a Vancouver free kick in the first half. Earned a yellow for dissent. Saved the Vancouver penalty kick with great footwork.
· Emiliano Insua – great through ball to Katai in the 36th minute. Nice lay off to Pavon to start the second half. Far more accurate than Rolf when it comes to offensive build up, and a decent partnership with Pavon to start the season. 3 key passes and his passing accuracy was decent.
· Nicholas DePuy – went to ground too quickly on Vancouver’s goal. However, once again, the better of the two centerbacks.
· Jonathan dos Santos – Rusty after his first minutes in quite some time. Pulled at the half, hopefully with no lasting injuries. It was a victory to get him his first 45 minutes, and the absolute right decision by the coaching staff to give him the captaincy. He deserves it as the team’s MVP.
· Perry Kitchen – Much better than last week. Played simple.
· Sebastian Lletget – Creative as soon as he was subbed in, played into the box on the ground (whoohoo!). Closest to covering Adnan on Vancouver’s goal, instead, ball watching.
· Joe Corona – Good vision in the middle of the pitch, moved the ball around and relieved pressure. However, earned a yellow card in the second half for a dangerous lunge, then doubled down with an absolutely bonehead second yellow for a stomp, ejecting him from the game. The Galaxy played the final desperate 20 minutes down a man.
· Giancarlo Gonzalez – Let in a great cross in the 41st minute, lucky it wasn’t finished. Solid defense on Ricketts blocking a shot in the 50th minute. Stupid penalty to end the game – was pulling up, yet clipped Adnan.
· Rolf Feltscher – Blocked shot in the 54th minute. Needed to be more decisive in the box. Kept up his tendency to not play the full 90, lackadaisical on Vancouver’s goal.
· Sacha Kljestan – Bad giveaway in the 11th minute leading to a 3-on-2 counter. Missed an open goal in the 24th minute after Vancouver’s adventures in goalkeeping. Lost his man on a Vancouver free kick, lucky the Whitecaps hit the post. Gassed at the 80th minute.
· Javier Hernandez – Gorgeous curled ball trying to get to Kjlestan to start the second half. Good defense from Vancouver to clear it out. When he did have the ball, dribbled into oblivion. He’s got to get the ball off his foot. Still no service (other than crosses to nowhere), and still not enough touches. He’s partially being penalized for his large DP paycheck.
· Ethan Zubak – Couldn’t make an impact while LA played with 10 men.
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