For weeks LA Galaxy fans have been clamoring for a 3-5-2 formation. This would protect the flanks better, and give the team more balance. To be fair, usually this line up also meant a request of the insertion of Dejan Joveljić from the start, which is why fans wanted it so bad. But two glorious through balls through the center of the field on some lovely technical play gave Los Angeles the lead and Jonathan Bond and the post gave them the win.
The five-man backfield gave the midfield some reassurance, along with Gasper’s more conservative play than Raheem Edwards. The midfield did lose the ball occasionally, especially to start the game with Puig’s rust. Araujo and Gasper were beat down the flanks in several instances, and nearly gave up two goals in the first half, but the post and Bond came to the rescue. On offense, the finishers had some lovely touches on their breakouts, opposed to shanking the ball wide or over. However, New England adjusted to work down the sides and the remaining twenty minutes of the half were all Revolution.
The second half saw the Galaxy trying to protect the lead and some bad judgment by Araujo and Aguirre down the right saw both of them out of position, leaving the backline unbalanced against a sea of New England players, generating a Revolution goal. At this point Vanney had switched to the normal four-man backline, and the flanks were beat like a drum. Carles Gil curled a beauty to the far post around Gasper.
Bond saved this game, and the defense still looks suspect. Consider Delgado in for Aguirre, and IF Edwards can remain disciplined we all would prefer Gasper out of the line-up. But the biggest culprit: Julian Araujo needs to be better, the Revs abused him down the left. He has been poor for weeks. Not to mention the entire team needed to just calm down at the tail end of the game and take better care of the ball.
The team survived for three points, but Vanney switched the formation to a standard four-man backline too early. With the team’s ultimate result he should absolutely consider going forward with the 3-5-2 formation. I have given up on him starting Dejan.
Chicharito was involved in both goals, but Bond kept the Galaxy in the game. Kudos to the goalkeeper.
- Jonathan Bond - secondary assist on the Galaxy’s first goal. Fantastic reaction save in the 37th minute on a point blank shot from Boateng. Denied Revs again in the 59th minute. Great parry save in the 62nd minute. Kick save in the 83rd minute. Good judgment on leaps to prevent headed goals. Distribution very good. Man of the Match
- Chicharito - fantastic assist to Aguirre to start the game, solid hold up play led to a clinical through ball to beat the New England defense. Then was the recipient of a fabulous through ball on a run from the right, beat the keeper with a great finish for LA’s second goal. Earned a yellow card for jawing.
- Daniel Aguirre - great run and great finish in the 4th minute for the Galaxy’s first goal. Put in some decent defensive work.
- Riqui Puig - turnover machine to start the game, freaked out the CBs behind him. Then a moment of brilliance - a chested down, one touch glorious assist of a through ball which beat three defenders to send Chicharito in on goal. Another great ball to send in Álvarez in the 73rd minute but Efraín squandered the pass. Settled as the game wore on, was all over midfield AND played defense. Though he gave up a bad free kick right at the end of the game. Don’t care — this kid looked good.
- Nick DePuy - shanked clearance in the 8th minute but it worked. Beat along with Coulibaly in the 29th minute on a lovely chipped ball, luckily New England hit the post. Bad shanked clearance in the 57th minute straight to a Revs player in the box. Good clearance in the 72nd minute, and then bailed out Araujo right after when Julian lost the ball. Game saving slide in the 94th minute, which moves him up a category.
- Derrick Williams - important clearance in the 26th minute to shove the ball out of the box. Calm and collected on a ball over the top in the 86th minute — headed to Bond.
- Séga Coulibaly - beat along with DePuy in the 29th minute on a lovely chipped ball, luckily New England hit the post.
- Gastón Brugman - earned a yellow card for an ill-timed lunge. Didn’t cover his man in the 62nd minute, resulting in a shot on goal.
- Samuel Grandsir - should have squared the ball across goal in the 84th minute.
- Dejan Joveljić - Quiet, which seemed odd.
- Julian Araujo - beat by Boateng in the 28th minute, luckily wasn’t punished. Lost his man in the 29th minute but New England hit the post. Behind his man in the 37th minute, resulted in a shot on goal. Good interception in the 58th minute. Decent cross in the 71st minute that Grandsir nearly finished. Struggled against Boateng’s speed.
- Kévin Cabral - set up Puig in the 49th minute with a pass back. And that is literally about it.
- Chase Gasper - important headed clearance out of the box in the 28th minute. Behind his man in the 41st minute but New England shot high. Culpable on Gil’s goal. Earned a yellow for a hard challenge.
- Efraín Álvarez - turnover machine in the final minutes. I don’t like him playing defense.
- Sacha Kljestan - Fell down leading to a giveaway in the 94th minute, caused chaos in the box. Another abject giveaway in the 96th right at the top of the box. He should know better.
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