The LA Galaxy started Saturday’s playoff game against Nashville SC with lots of industry, pressing forward to great effect. They just couldn’t get a shot off in the box to test the opposing goalkeeper. So many chances that were close, but no end result. The Galaxy possessed and controlled the ball (67% possession in the first half), with Nashville sitting back for the counter, but not even doing that very effectively. This LA line up benefited from several games in a row together, and it showed in their passing game and movement upfield. They were creative, but it wasn’t enough in the first half. Still, one had a sense a goal was coming.
The Galaxy should have had that lead after a stellar counterattack goal, but instead fell victim to VAR reviewing a foul call. LA righted the ship a few minutes later with a stellar Araujo goal off a cross from Grandsir whose work rate finally paid off. That was all they needed.
A clean sheet is a rare thing for this team and should be celebrated. Coulibaly and Cáceres are playing well together, and Raheem Edwards stayed home after LA got the lead, shoring up his leaky side. Nashville put together a last ditch flurry, but never really looked seriously dangerous.
This team has picked the right time to play its best soccer. Brugman and Puig were season changing additions, and are paying dividends. Bring on El Trafico.
- Julian Araujo - fantastic cross into Chicharito in the 16th minute - right onto his shoe. Was it a cross? A shot? Regardless he hit the post in the 60th minute. Why he was on the left side is anyone’s guess, but who cares, great run and header for a goal. Earned a yellow card for a trip in the 64th minute. Left for dead in the 90th minute by Shaffelburg, was incredibly lucky when the subsequent shot sailed over. Man of the Match
- Samuel Grandsir - great ball into the box in the 42nd minute but missed everyone. Worked so hard, and finally rewarded with an assist in the 60th minute. His work rate is stellar.
- Riqui Puig - important interception in the 12th minute after a bad backpass. Weak shot in the 31st minute. VAR wiped out a great assist. Forced Willis into a save on a counter in the 77th minute.
- Chicharito - should have done better on an Araujo cross from the right in the 16th minute, gotta test the keeper. Set up Puig in the 31st minute but the midfielder got no power behind the shot. VAR wiped out his great goal.
- Séga Coulibaly - caught sleeping on a through ball to start the second half. Other than that, didn’t put a foot wrong.
- Martín Cáceres - great defense to prevent a shot in the 74th minute, bodying off Sapong.
- Jonathan Bond - had to make a save off his own bad distribution in the 8th minute. Kick save to start the second half. Came out to claim the ball in the 87th.
- Gastón Brugman - almost in on goal in the 2nd minute but took a bad touch.
- Douglas Costa - sent in a painfully slow roller into the box in the 23rd minute, just a tad too slow to reach Chicharito.
- Mark Delgado - when I have nothing to write here, it’s a good thing.
- Derrick Williams - sub to see out the game.
- Dejan Joveljić - late sub.
- Efraín Álvarez - left for dead along with Julian in the 90th minute, lazy to defend. Set up Cabral on the counter, only for the forward to waste it.
- Raheem Edwards - lucky not to be punished after letting his man run free down the right in the 11th minute. Rinse and repeat in the 15th. Gave up a dangerous freekick in the 35th minute.
- Kévin Cabral - too late to take his shot to slam the door at the end of the game. (Listen, he has zero confidence and can’t hit the broad side of a barn, but he’s still a Galaxy player. No boos when he gets subbed on).
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