After success with the 3-5-2 formation, LA Galaxy fans clamored to keep it around, so of course Coach Greg Vanney immediately went back to the 4-4-2. The Galaxy moved the ball around pretty well, and Toronto FC didn’t get the memo to attack down the flanks until the second half. Plus, Riqui Puig apparently can run box to box for 90 minutes, so there’s that.
The team didn’t play with a traditional defensive midfielder amidst the 4-4-2, which put the defense under pressure at times. Brugman doesn’t really break up plays with tackles, though he is just as mobile as Puig which leads to good pressure. Vanney got away with one here. What helped was the pure possession football the Galaxy were able to play with their technical midfield. Amazing that Puig and Brugman, locked in starters, weren’t with the team weeks ago.
The game should have been put away had not both Chicharito and Grandsir missed delicious crosses. The Galaxy paid for this profligacy when Toronto scored twice in the second half. Left Back is a position of concern with Chase Gasper lumbering around and Raheem Edwards giving up a penalty within minutes of being subbed in. The defense is still wobbly, and gone are the days of sweating out a 1-0 game. This Galaxy team gives up goals — particularly on the right side. They need to score more than once.
Luckily Riqui Puig did lovely things and no one was happier than Raheem Edwards to claw back a point. And Douglas Costa can score on a mean free kick. It was also Julian Araujo’s best game on both sides of the ball in weeks. Maybe he’s trying to impress the European teams that want him?
- Riqui Puig - very involved in midfield and an absolute beauty of a goal at the end of the game. Wow. This one looks like a great signing. Man of the Match
- Douglas Costa - sent in a decent cross in the 14th minute that begged for a header. Lovely free kick for a goal in the 24th minute. Sent in a great cross in the 55th minute that missed Chicharito and Grandsir whiffed. I’m just as surprised as you he’s sitting here. But a goal is a goal.
- Julian Araujo - good interception in the 34th minute. Fantastic cross to a wide open Chicharito in the 57th minute that the forward wasted. Another nice cross in the 77th minute. Yellow card for a lunging challenge.
- Séga Coulibaly - went to ground early on Toronto’s first goal. Overall though limited Toronto’s opportunities.
- Víctor Vázquez - literally watched a Toronto player waltz by him with the ball in the 8th minute leading to a dangerous chance. Then watched Michael Bradley put in a ball seconds later. Set up Grandsir in the 60th minute with a delicious short pass.
- Chicharito - bad touch while wide open on an Araujo cross in the 57th minute, resulted in a blocked shot.
- Jonathan Bond - good positioning on a chance in the 8th minute. Almost saved the penalty.
- Derrick Williams - left for dead on Toronto’s first goal. Important headed clearance in the 94th minute.
- Gastón Brugman - earned a stupid yellow for delaying a restart. Let a player waltz by for a shot seconds later.
- Kévin Cabral - tested the keeper right after being subbed in. Had to be more patient on his squared ball in the 78th minute. Almost set up Dejan in the 92nd.
- Efraín Álvarez/Dejan Joveljić - nothing much in their minutes.
- Sacha Kljestan - late sub
- Chase Gasper - missed a clearance in the 49th minute and was lucky not to be punished. Terrible dangerous back pass in the 64th minute that gifted Toronto the ball in the box.
- Raheem Edwards - gave up a stone cold penalty for his first contribution in ages.
- Samuel Grandsir - whiffed on a cross from Costa in the 55th minute. Whiffed on a Vázquez set up in the 60th minute.
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