LA Galaxy soccer, how I’ve missed you. Words cannot express how great it felt to watch some soccer tonight. I hope everyone is healthy and stays healthy out there, and we all get to enjoy the tournament – fans and players alike.
Chicharito may be LA’s most expensive player, but he remains not their most valuable one. LA’s midfield is still a mess without Jonathan dos Santos, and Sacha Kljestan has to do much better if he’s going to be an able replacement. The Galaxy also have to do better with pressure overall. I know Florida is hot, but playing like traffic cones for an entire half is not the recipe for victory.
The second half started much better for the Galaxy with more energy and pressure. Dunbar in particular was released to be more of a pest on the left. The Galaxy had more decent chances in the first 10 minutes of the second half than the entire first 45. However, Dunbar was inexplicably subbed (coach Schelotto, this was a head scratcher), and Pavon and Chicharito couldn’t make up the two goal deficit.
The good news: Chicharito got the monkey off his back, and Dunbar and Wild deserve more minutes. The bad news: based on the other teams in the group, the Galaxy have a pretty decent chance of finishing dead last in Group F.
That said, I would have watched my mailman play LA Galaxy soccer. Welcome back, everyone!
· Cameron Dunbar – very good run in the 11th minute setting up the penalty. More impressive than his run was picking out Pavon at the top of the box. Didn’t look 17, and looked very promising as the game wore on with speedy runs up the left. Three key passes. Bright spot for the Galaxy…and of course was the first sub. What?
· Gordon Wild – got on the pitch, put one in the back of the net. Ruled offside, but keep up the confidence. Then served up an assist minutes later. Can this guy get more minutes?
· Cristian Pavon – earned a PK in the 11th minute with a shot off a Timbers arm. Several misplaced passes – looked rusty. Solid individual play with a run up the middle sent off Zuparic in the 75th minute. Absolutely BRILLIANT ball into Wild for what ended up an offside goal.
· David Bingham – falling save in the 41st minute, followed up with another in the 42nd minute. Great save in the 59th minute when Insua lost Chara. Didn’t cover himself in glory on Portland’s second goal, but Gonzalez was the main culprit.
· Daniel Steres – entire defense out to sea on free kick in 9th minute. Lucky Timbers didn’t score. The better of the two centerbacks.
· Chicharito – stepped up to take the penalty, and fluffed it with a terrible shot. Then missed an absolute sitter to start the second half. Decent header in the 52nd minute that glanced off the top of the crossbar. 15 successful passes for the entire game (wince). Finally scored in the 88th minute off a solid assist by Wild and a great run in the box. Hope he builds on it.
· Perry Kitchen – horrible giveaway at the top of the box in the 41st minute. Distinct holes in his defensive passing heat map. I didn’t like his play last year, and I don’t like his play this year.
· Rolf Feltscher – déjà vu, his “defending” leaves fans with hearts in throats. Why he plays so far inside is anyone’s guess. Burned in the 59th minute for Portland’s first goal. Crosses not accurate on offense.
· Giancarlo Gonzalez – horrid “attempted” clearance on Blanco leading to Blanco’s goal. It’s the lack of effort in the six (IN THE SIX!) that makes me furious.
· Sacha Kljestan – played too deep, did not break up enough of the midfield pressure as evidenced in the 41st minute when Portland just passed around his traffic cone for a shot on target. Jonathan dos Santos, how we miss you. Sacha had just about zero passes in the final third. Zero. Not good enough.
· Emiliano Insua – not the most accurate crosses into the box. Watched Blanco put the assist in for Portland’s goal instead of closing him down. Then made it worse on Blanco again in the 66th minute with weak hold-up play.
· Sebastian Lletget – nice ball into Chicharito in the 67th minute that deserved something better. Not accurate enough down the right, but we will see what he can do when the rust wears off a bit.
· Emil Cuello – meh.
One last note: the fake crowd noise was excellent and there were times I absolutely forgot that there was no one in the stands. I really didn’t mind it and it added to the atmosphere.
What do you think? Leave a comment below.