So. That panenka happened. But before that, the LA Galaxy played a decent first half then got overrun as heat and tired legs got to them. Riqui Puig suddenly makes this team interesting, his vision having a part in both goals. This kid is a joy to watch, and he’s instantly made the midfield better. When long passes leave his foot you wonder who he is setting up, a moment that feels like it comes from long, long ago (cough Landon Donovan cough) in LA Galaxy history. Plus he and Brugman seem to be developing a rapport, which is bad news for opposing teams. The problem is that his arrival feels a little too late to salvage the season.
Greg Vanney likes to keep Galaxy fans guessing. After experimenting with a 3-5-2, he went back to the 4-4-2, and for this game finally played Joveljić and Chicharito up top together to start the game. Dejan was relatively quiet, he looked a bit like he has come down to earth, but his runs still created problems for the opposing defense. And he’s infinitely better than Costa or Cabral.
The good defensive performance in the first half eroded in the second as the team got tired in the midfield and in the back. Derrick Williams gave up a handball penalty, then Julian Araujo continued his miserable season by being the post that the ball deflected off of and into goal. He has been downright poor this year, and it’s fair to wonder if his “for sale” price tag came down with his erosion of play.
Even with the tired legs and heat, the Galaxy still had an opportunity to win this game after another solid pass from Puig. Cabral earned the penalty with his speed, but Chicharito flat out whiffed scoring by trying a horrible panenka. Listen, there’s a time to be cheeky. Playing for your playoff lives and needing three points is not it. This loss of two points is on him, and we’re all back to wondering if he should take penalties in the first place. Every match at this point matters with the West so tight in the standings, and the Galaxy just put even more pressure on themselves with six games to go. While they have games in hand, the standings are very, very tight.
Chicharito is still man of the match with a brace. The first goal was a thing of beauty. But Puig was a close second.
- Riqui Puig - started the Galaxy’s first goal with a stellar pass to Vázquez. Earned a yellow for a tackle to start the second half. Just missed goal in the 56th minute on another long distance shot. Stellar pass to send Kevin in on goal in the 87th minute. He is a joy to watch.
- Chicharito - great run, great finish around the keeper in the fourth minute. Great cross to Dejan in the 27th minute, but the forward headed wide. Just shot wide in the 49th minute. Sank his first penalty…but got too cheeky with the second and missed. Killer for the Galaxy to miss out on three points. Man of the Match (even with the miss)
- Víctor Vázquez - what a pass to set up Chicharito’s goal and earn an assist in the 4th minute. Should have been subbed earlier.
- Séga Coulibaly - gave up a dangerous foul near the top of the box in the 6th minute. And that was about it.
- Kévin Cabral - seemed like he was FINALLY going to get his goal, and then generated the penalty.
- Samuel Grandsir - gave up a dumb foul in a dangerous spot right after LA’s tying goal. Generated the handball that led to the second penalty.
- Jonathan Bond - adventures in goalkeeping in the 64th minute where he held onto the ball too long and was almost stripped. Got his hand to the penalty again, but it still went in off the post.
- Gastón Brugman - important interception in the box in the 24th minute. Stuck with his man preventing a shot in the 55th minute. Exact opposite in the 57th where he’s lucky his man (that he was behind) headed wide.
- Dejan Joveljić - tested the keeper on a feed from Chicharito in the 13th minute. Should have passed to a wide open Edwards in the 22nd minute.
- Raheem Edwards - completely out of position in the 18th minute leaving his man wide open. Luckily Derrick Williams bailed him out. Nice pass to Chicharito in the 49th minute but the forward shot wide.
- Mark Delgado - didn’t do much, though was defensively ok. Being he just came back from a long illness, going to give him a pass.
- Sacha Kljestan - looked old.
- Douglas Costa - big old nothing.
- Martín Cáceres - late sub.
- Julian Araujo - stood off his man along with Delgado in the 39th minute, SKC put in a great cross, but luckily the forward squandered it. More annoyed at his being completely out of position, and jogging back on SKC’s second goal than the deflection. Lazy.
- Derrick Williams - blocked a 1-v-1 shot in the box in the 18th minute. Gave up a penalty on a handball in the 66th minute.
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