What a difference a second forward makes. This formation is clearly working for the LA Galaxy who start the 2021 MLS season with two wins. It clearly gives Chicharito room to operate, and there are some dangerous weapons that are a threat to score emerging behind him. Who would have thought we’d be happy with Ethan Zubak?!?!?!
Victor Vazquez is also proving his worth, and Jonathan Dos Santos looked better on the ball this week. It is no coincidence that the midfield started to erode when he left the game.
The Galaxy do have several things to clean up. The bad giveaways — in particular from the youngsters — killed the midfield throughout the game. Julian Araujo had an absolute horror of a game defensively. The two center backs weren’t much better. This resulted in 20 minutes of squeaky bum time to end the game with the Galaxy clinging to the result by their fingernails.
Wondering when Derrick Williams will get his shot. At this rate, he should be replacing Daniel Steres rather than Nick DePuy. Sebastian Lletget will also be an upgrade over Adam Saldaña.
Finally, how refreshing was Greg Vanney’s sideline interview? Actual tactical nous? Without a Bruce Arena eyeroll? Be still my beating heart.
- Chicharito - poacher does what a poacher does. Good legs to catch up with the ball on the first goal. Great run to force the keeper into a save on a direct ball in the 18th minute. Set up Samuel Grandsir for a shot in the 35th minute. Fantastic touch to set himself up, and fantastic finish (nutmeg!) on the second goal. Vertical leap poach on the third goal for a hat trick. The bow he gave was deserved. I can’t wait to watch him next week (pray for his calves). Man of the Match
- Victor Vazquez - GLORIOUS assist to Chicharito in the 41st minute, what a cross. His run caused the confusion leading to Chicharito’s third. I’m seriously impressed with this acquisition after two games. He’s creative and smart. This is a veteran all teams want to have.
- Jonathan Bond - great stretched save on a shot from the 18 in the 28th minute. Repeated it in the 67th minute.
- Ethan Zubak - repeat of the assist against Miami, good run and his shot across the box deflected into an assist. He’ll take it. Worked hard, provided the necessary support. He’s earned his start.
- Julian Araujo - solid emergency defending with his pace after DePuy fell down in the 13th minute. It went downhill from there. Easily bamboozled on NY’s first goal, giving up too quickly on the pass. Andrew Gutman had his number to start the second half again, waltzing by and delivering a good ball that begged for a shot. Delivered the assist to Chicharito on the Galaxy’s third goal with a ball that bounced through the box. Lost his man on the Red Bulls second goal. Should have pulled the trigger earlier at the end of the game to deliver a ball into the box.
- Jorge Villafana - his high press led to the first goal by stripping the ball off a Red Bull toe.
- Samuel Grandsir - earned a yellow card that led to the free kick goal. Had a breakaway he couldn’t convert.
- Jonathan dos Santos - nice combination play with Chicharito in the first half. Part of the duo that lost the Red Bulls on the free kick goal. However, his replacement along with Vazquez ceded the midfield to NY.
- Carlos Harvey/Sacha Kljestan - did their jobs, though the midfield was overrun in the second half.
- Efrain Alvarez - delivered a stellar squared ball into the box that Zubak couldn’t control. Added some energy and pace into the game. Earned his customary yellow card.
- Oniel Fisher Jr - late sub.
- Cameron Dunbar - late sub.
- Nick DePuy - had some errant clearances and got twisted around. The better of the two center backs.
- Daniel Steres - needed to clear the ball to start the game instead of leaving Bond out to dry. Luckily not punished to start the half on a bad pass. Bad lunge to give the Red Bulls an excellent shot in the 79th minute.
- Adam Saldana - giveaway in the 28th minute that led to a NY shot on goal. Still not seeing it with this kid.
What do you think? Leave a comment below.