Welcome to the first LA Galaxy game of the 27th season, and a good one since the Galaxy got not only three points at home, but a clean sheet (!), two things that were near mirages down the back stretch of 2021.
The game started inauspiciously, with Raheem Edwards repeatedly getting spanked down the left, and Séga Coulibaly wandering around on skates. In the first twenty minutes it looked like this game was going to end 4-0 for the road side. However, Edwards locked down his flank halfway through the first half with some help from a backtracking Cabral, and the Galaxy won the possession battle.
Like the beginning of 2021, Greg Vanney made some astute subs which allowed the Galaxy to build more in transition, and resulted in 15 shots and 6 shots on goal by the time the game was done. The xG stat (expected goals) grew precipitously in favor of the Galaxy at minute 60, which finally paid off in a goal at minute 90. Not too shabby for a team that often had no ideas last year.
Douglas Costa was a huge help with ideas in the first half. He avoided overdribbling and often found his teammates, which bodes well for when the rust falls off and passing gets crisper.
Kévin Cabral continues to frustrate on the break, but he did look a little sharper than last year. That said, the Galaxy still can’t counter worth beans. Three promising counterattacks were killed on a bad pass in the final third — Cabral’s the most egregious.
Raheem Edwards and Chicharito changed that script with two moments of brilliance in the 90th minute. Edwards with extra effort to get the ball back, and then a lovely slide pass, setting up Chicharito breaking the defense’s ankles and putting the ball in the back of the net with aplomb.
The goal was beautiful, but what fans should celebrate more is the clean sheet for a defense that just kept picking balls out of the net last year. The man of the match reflects that.
No one at this time due to rust, but a good start.
- Raheem Edwards - lazy defending along with Cabral let in a dangerous cross in the 3rd minute. Just missed off a Delgado cross in the 17th minute. Beat again down the left by Rodriguez in the 20th minute. After that, locked his side down. Earned the ball back in the 90th minute, then sent in a gorgeous through ball assist. All of this as a new player, and in somewhat of a new role. Man of the Match
- Chicharito - gorgeous strike saved in the 68th minute. Decent runs, but not much end production until the very end of the game. Great run, great misdirection, and great finish to score.
- Jonathan Bond - tested early with a header, stood true. Did his job other than one nervy spill.
- Julian Araujo - cut out a sure goal in the 20th minute. Should have had a yellow card for a bizarre pull of a NYCFC player on a freekick. Juicy cross into Chicharito in the 62nd minute, and another into Vásquez in the 65th, unfortunately both players missed.
- Mark Delgado - after a neatly worked interchange with Costa and Araujo, found Edwards at the back post on a lovely cross - unfortunately the left back’s shot was saved. Helped control the midfield.
- Douglas Costa - tested the keeper on a curling shot in the sixth minute. Served up Cabral with a lovely pass in the 34th minute. Deserved card for a late yank in the 40th minute. Promising start.
- Nick DePuy - great shoulder to shoulder defending in the 17th minute. Missed cutting out a dangerous ball seconds later. Lucky his man missed the target on a header to end the first half. Should have done better on a corner kick header in the 62nd minute. Solid emergency defending in the 74th minute.
- Rayan Raveloson - nothing much to write until a well-timed run at the very end of the game when he rushed his shot over the crossbar.
- Víctor Vásquez - still played no defense while serving in dangerous passes.
- Efraín Álvarez - not much of anything until a cheeky pass into Rayan that the midfielder skied.
- Samuel Grandsir - late sub.
- Sacha Kljestan - late sub.
- Kévin Cabral - tested Johnson on a well hit strike in the 34th minute. Somehow managed to miss both Costa and Chicharito on a breakaway in the 42nd minute (shades of 2021).
- Séga Coulibaly - in no man’s land to start the game on a dangerous cross, letting in a free header. Luckily Bond bailed him out. Caught once again in no man’s land at the end of the first half. Good defending on Rodriguez in the 80th minute. Managed to head the ball directly to an NYCFC player to end the game, setting up a dangerous chance.
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