Did everyone leave their finishing boots at home? Can Kévin Cabral and Chicharito spend the next week stapled to one another to improve their communication? SHEEZ.
The LA Galaxy walked away with a win and three road points with 75,000 people watching in person, but at times it felt like the opposing goal had an impenetrable forcefield around it. This game could have ended 5-0 to the Galaxy, but instead LA managed to sweat it out against an expansion side that looked overwhelmed for 80 out of the 90 minutes.
The Galaxy got decent chances (21 shots! 6 on goal!) and served up constant pressure as Charlotte FC gave them opportunities to pass and shoot. Chicharito could have had a hat trick and then some, but the final finish eluded him. Total team xG (expected goals) wasn’t even close: LA 1.9 to Charlotte 0.6. It could have been even more disparate, except that apparently Cabral and Chicharito are on different planets. Cabral’s ability to completely miss Chicharito is impressive (or sad?).
The defense did have a few things to do as they were sometimes beat over the top. Gordy Reyna particularly gave them trouble with his movement. Plus, Séga Coulibaly continued his trend of 1-2 brainfarts per game. That said, the defense kept Charlotte to 1 shot on target over the first half, and 3 shots on target over the entire game.
Then Efraín Álvarez showed up. His first contribution was a glorious cross that you were sure Chicharito was going to turn into a goal (he didn’t). His second contribution was an even more glorious bent ball that sailed into the post, and bounced off into the goal. What a beauty. He saved LA’s bacon.
- Efraín Álvarez - sent in a brilliant cross in the 74th minute that BEGGED for a goal. Took the space offered him, didn’t putz around like the rest of his team did for 76 minutes, and scored on a left-footed beauty. Man of the Match
- Jonathan Bond - after being a virtual spectator for 75 minutes, bailed out Coulibaly in the 76th minute after a terrible error by the center back. Important header to clear the ball after Edwards was beat in the 93rd minute. Calm, cool and collected to retrieve a shot at the death.
- Chicharito - tested the keeper off a Costa pass in the 15th minute (should have found a wide open Cabral at the back post). Hit a first time gorgeous shot at pace in the 19th minute off an Araujo pass, requiring a very good save. Should have done better with a Cabral pass into the six in the 24th minute. Missed a difficult header in the second half, and tested the keeper again in the 68th minute after Costa set him up. Missed a brilliant Álvarez cross in the 75th. His xG was 1.24 (aka, he should have scored)!
- Raheem Edwards - nice cut back in the 33rd minute resulted in one shot that was blocked, and a follow-up the Charlotte goalkeeper had to save. Another assist.
- Julian Araujo - set up Chicharito with a gorgeous pass in the 19th minute. Sent in another dangerous cross off a cornerkick in the 20th minute. Stood off his man in the 96th minute resulting in a very dangerous cross.
- Mark Delgado - critical block in the 67th minute. Played 90 minutes with 90% pass accuracy and 2 key passes. Not too shabby.
- Douglas Costa - slid Chicharito through in the 15h minute. Did it again in the 68th minute, resulted in a save. Little bit of over dribbling into traffic, but still managed to be creative. Led the team with 5 key passes. Tired at around 75’.
- Nick DePuy - good slide tackle to start the game. Nothing else to write, which is a good thing.
- Samuel Grandsir - got on his jets in the 88th minute on a counter, but resulting shot saved. Almost did it again a couple minutes later.
- Sacha Kljestan - circled the ball at midfield with accuracy.
- Víctor Vásquez - careless passing error led to a dangerous counter in the 14th minute. Almost caught the Charlotte goalkeeper off his line with a beautiful curling shot in the 18th minute.
- Rayan Raveloson - 75% passing accuracy (woof), did nothing really wrong…but seemed like a passenger.
- Kévin Cabral - missed Chicharito on a squared pass in the 4th minute. Repeated the error in the 11th minute. Sent in a GREAT ball in the 24th minute that Chicharito skied. Lost his man for a dangerous opportunity at the end of the first half. Sent in a great pass in the 69th minute, but Chicharito wasn’t there. 3 key passes.
- Derrick Williams - rusty and beat on a shot at the very end of the game. Luckily Bond was there.
- Dejan Joveljić - late sub.
- Séga Coulibaly - gets credit for a goal line clearance even though a foul negated the play for Charlotte. Got away with a potential DOGSO on a ball over the top. Didn’t get away with it at the end of the first half and earned a yellow card. Absolute poor decision on a clearance in the 76th minute rebounded into a shot on goal. Luckily Bond stood tall.
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