View From 108:
I know… you read the headline and said “But Josh, the Galaxy had already lost to Real Salt Lake.” I will say this for the last time. I don’t recognize that game as a loss for the Galaxy. Inept officiating shouldn’t be allowed to decide a game. Especially when 2 players are 6 yards offside and not moving! But in reality the Galaxy came out with the fire and intensity in that game. Even if they were a bit cautious. The differences in the New England game were glaring and obvious. For the first time this year the Los Angeles Galaxy lacked rhythm and control. They lacked that special bounce in their step that said “We know we can win this game and we are going to go out there and will the ball across the goal line!”
Over the past 16 MLS games the Galaxy have given me very little to be upset about. Their undefeated start, the way they moved the ball, the seamless way in which this team fit together, all lead me to believe this was a team that was past playing down to their opponents level. They lead me to believe this was a changed team that wouldn’t take their foot off the gas pedal no matter who the opponent was. This was even true in their first US Open Cup Match. They were persistent and in control against the over matched AC St. Louis. This was a team that was destined to beat every other team in MLS.
Then something horrible happened – Bruce Arena decided to field a mostly reserve laden club to face a descent Seattle Sounders Team in the quarter finals of the US Open. His message was received quite well by the team. Basically stating, without speaking a word, that he doesn’t think we need to focus on the US Open Cup. If our reserves can win than that’s fine. But what we really need is minutes for these guys. Which in turn portrays the Galaxy as good enough to be able to flip the switch when needed.
I am here to state that the Los Angeles Galaxy are a professional soccer team, located within the structure of Major League Soccer. This means, unlike other prestigious leagues around the world, we don’t have the skill nor the talent to turn things on and off. This means, that on any given match day if we don’t bring our “A” game, we will get beat. If our minds aren’t 100% focused on the task at hand, failure will strike quickly.
Bruce Arena has turned off the Los Angeles Galaxy and will now have to fumble around in the dark trying to get them to turn back on!
Los Angeles Galaxy at New England Revolution
Yes – It is true… Landon Donovan didn’t play for the Galaxy this weekend. Was he missed? Absolutely. Would he have changed the composition of the team? He has that ability. Is it his fault the Galaxy lost? No… the players on the field lost this game and New England did more than enough to win.
From the opening whistle the New England Revolution were out to exact some of the frustration they had been feeling over their recent slum on the Los Angeles Galaxy. As Chris Birchall, Galaxy Midfielder stated at halftime, “They (New England) came out with a lot of confidence in this game.” Despite having just three wins to their name before the game started, the Revs were not going to sit back and let the Galaxy attack them. Instead they decided to take the game to LA and watch this team try to adjust to playing through a midfield that couldn’t gain control of the ball.
In the 12th minute Nyassi combined on a pass from Joseph in the box causing the normally in-control Galaxy defense to scramble. If it wasn’t for Tierney being ruled offside this may have put an early dagger into the attitude of the visitors. In fact, the New England offense continued to try and split the defense into two parts. They ran around Todd Dunivant on the left side with speed and they used quick passing to get through Berhalter and Leonardo. Leonardo looked the most out of place as he tried to stand-in for the suspended Omar Gonzalez.
During the first half neither team could muster decent control through the midfield and find a finishing touch to put the ball in the back of the net. Bruce Arena reflected after the game that “Tonight was one of those nights were I think the team that made the fewer mistakes would win tonight and we made a couple and the Revolution took advantage of it. So it was a deserving win on their part.”
But with the score still 0 – 0 at halftime you would have thought the Galaxy were willing to step up their attack on New England in order to force the run of play in their favor. But this simply wasn’t the case.
In the second half Los Angeles couldn’t find control of the ball. Alex Cazumba playing at the left midfield position, couldn’t find his touch. He held the ball too long often waiting for something to open up in front of him rather than playing the easy ball behind or to the square position. He had no creativity in the midfield and put all of the surrounding Galaxy players into bad situations. The midfield for LA was lost and this lead to balls bypassing the midfield in an effort to create opportunities for the two striking players Buddle and Bowen.
However, in the 67th minute, off an unintentional handball on Leonardo, the referee awarded New England a generous free kick from about 25 yards outside the penalty box. Marco Perovic hit a left footed shot that greased by the Los Angeles wall and passed within inches of Osei who was offside but deemed to be not involved in the play. It was a great strike that found Ricketts shielded from viewing the ball until it was nearly by him.
In games past, a goal scored against LA would have sparked something inside this team to react. But in this instance there was no such reaction.
Shalrie Joseph was his normal, brilliant self. As he continued to find through balls behind the Galaxy defense. In the 74th minute Joseph found Nyassi on a diagnol run behind Todd Dunivant. All Nyassi had to do was redirect it ever so slightly as it caught Ricketts leaning the other way. Ricketts was able to get a hand on the ball to direct it out of harms way but the ball bounced off the post and Nyassi was able to finish his own shot to bring New England up 2 – 0 and put the nail in the Galaxy coffin.
Overall it was a complete lack of quality, creativity and effort from the LA Galaxy. The midfield should be used to playing without Landon Donovan. But with most of the play strangely finding its way through, the Brazilian, Alex Cazumba on the left hand side, there wasn’t enough skill to be able to bypass the New England defense. The one touch passing was absent, and I have to think playing on the turf had something to do with it. As we saw in the last US Open Cup game against the Sounders at Starfire, the Galaxy haven’t looked comfortable on the artificial surface.
We can only hope that Bruce has everyone ready to play when the Galaxy face up against another struggling side this Sunday when LA will have to travel to Washington, DC and DC United. It isn’t time to panic, but it is time to look in the rear view mirror as Salt Lake is only 6 pts behind the West leading Galaxy. A slip up against DC and then a tough game against San Jose at home in a short week could spell disaster for LA.
Full Match Highlights:
Click HERE if the highlights don’t appear below.
Also if you can tell me why the highlights don’t seem to appear on firefox I would love to hear from you. Leave me a comment… Yes I have the plugin installed.
Road Trip Continues:
Our boys will once again suit up on the road as they travel to our nations capital. Sunday at 4:30PM the Galaxy will play DC United at RFK stadium. This game will be available for viewing on Fox Soccer Channel. Try to make it out to an official Galaxy Pub and watch with the other Galaxy Fans. A list of participating Pubs can be found HERE from the official LA Galaxy Website.