David Bingham was the man of the match after making 9 saves for the Los Angeles Galaxy on the Saturday June 2nd match against the Portland Timbers at Providence Park, which ended in a 1-1 draw, effectively stopping the opponents from winning a seventh match in a row. He made a major save on Portland’s David Guzman off a free kick in the 84th minute. Initially, during warmups, it looked like he might not start due to an injury, but clearly he bounced back.
#1 has been saving us with his heroics. The Galaxy are doing so bad again this season (even with the likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Ola Kamara) that friends and students alike offer me condolences when talking about my team. But, it would be a lot worse if not for LAG’s goalkeeper.
Sure, he wouldn’t have to work so hard if the defense was doing its job. But, rather than write about all the changes of the starting XI and recap the negatives since there are enough articles and podcasts focusing on all that, I’ll highlight David Bingham.
Most of Bingham’s saves took place in the first half, which put him as third most saves in a first half of any keeper this MLS season. It’s also the most saves of his career!
When you get a chance, check out his saves for yourself here.
There’s so many just from this season, but I will give only a couple more examples. He’s been consistent in back to back games, making acrobatic saves for LA by denying five Montreal Impact goals on May 21st.
In the meantime look at the save of the month here in CaliClasico from May 25th against the San Jose Earthquakes:
Most of his goalkeeping experience is for Californian teams. Born in Castro Valley and raised in Pleasanton, he signed with the Los Angeles Galaxy on December 18, 2017 after a “break-up” with the Earthquakes, which was also the team he supported from childhood. He’d been on their roster since 2011.
Remarkably, he also made his international debut on February 5, 2016 for the United States national team where he played the entire match and kept a clean sheet in a 1-0 win against Canada. The USMNT is looking for younger talent since he’s 28 years old, but if Bingham continues to do well in his club, I’m sure he’ll get recognized and be called up again.
I’m proud and relieved that he is the starting keeper for the Galaxy.
Justin Vom Steeg: Dave Romney, Michael Ciani, Emrah Klimenta, Joao Pedro, Emmanuel Boateng, Chris Pontius.
We are in season 22 of the LA Galaxy and currently it looks like the writers have no idea what they are doing. TomasHilliard-Arce got his second start. They have a poor back line of defense that keeps changing and lacks pace to track and defend center attacks. Ola Kamara should not be playing the left wing since it’s a waste of a valuable player. Michael Ciani and Emmanuel Boateng got subbed in the 58th minute, finally making it the 3-5-2 formation it should’ve been, moving Captain Ashley Cole to center mid, which is not a position for him to make plays happen. The attack and play got better.
These are just a few points that serve to support firing head coach Sigi Schmid. Anyone watching can tell the players are all frustrated, which affects their play. Sebastian Lletget had another disappointing performance.
It was like watching a re-run episode but with 18,003 viewers this match, which is great for a Wednesday evening. The Galaxy conceded two goals in the first half and then fought as hard as they could, but Zlatan Ibrahimovic was the one to score a brace. It was not enough as the Galaxy fell again at home 3-2 to FC Dallas.
This show has me so emotional; the yanking on the fans’ heart-strings, the angst, and the ‘will they or won’t they,’ especially in front of seven of my international guests, was hard to watch.
One of my ESL students raised my spirits, though, saying the important thing is to have faith and keep supporting. They were excited and satisfied with Ibrahimovic’s goals, but his performance seemed to be half-hearted. He would get the ball, but not create space for himself to shoot. In the 64th minute, he had a goal that was called offside. His consolation goal came in the 69th minute. His second goal in the 97th minute. You read that right, FC Dallas time-wasted so much that there was eight minutes of stoppage time.
The LA Galaxy are a star-studded cast and have talent. They had 12 corners all match and were even up a man by the 80th minute when FCD’s Cristian Coleman was given a red. They fought hard until the end, especially Romain Alessandrini, who gives 110 percent every match, and his shot hit the crossbar in the 84th minute.
From the 85th minute, the match got crazy. Chris Pontius came on for Hilliard-Arce in the 86th minute. Dallas players were falling down, LA fans were booing, and the referee made questionable calls. But, the team’s effort was too little too late.
David Bingham keeps making saves, which is super, but he wouldn’t have to work like that if the backline didn’t give up so many chances to the opponents. But, the touches and possession of the ball of the defenders begged the question if they’re used to playing pro. To top it all off, many fans still chanted the homophobic goalkeeper chant despite it being Pride Night. This match was embarrassing. The unusually gloomy weather in Los Angeles reflected my feelings.
Let’s put this game behind us like clicking next episode as we head to Portland. Kickoff is at 2pm on June 2nd.
Sebastian Lletget takes a corner, which was very exciting as the Galaxy almost score. Video credit Michelle Huitink
This article is a recap of two games. I wasn’t able to watch the away game because it was a day game and I had to work. Then, I went on vacation and wasn’t able to be at the home game, but I did manage to watch the CaliClasico. That’s how committed I am to my team and MLSFemale, I kept up and followed along via Twitter. Lol.
May 21, 2018 Los Angeles Galaxy vs Montreal Impact
LA Galaxy win 1-0
David Bingham; Emrah Klimenta, Michael Ciani, Jorgen Skjelvik, Dave Romney; Perry Kitchen, Sebastian Lletget; Romain Alessandrini, Jonathan dos Santos, Ola Kamara; Zlatan Ibrahimović (c).
Justin Vom Steeg, Daniel Steres, Tomas Hilliard-Arce, Joao Pedro, Servando Carrasco, Emmanuel Boateng, Chris Pontius.
Emrah Klimenta made his first start this match. Ashley Cole was suspended due to yellow card accumulation. Zlatan Ibrahimovic wore the captain’s band. Despite not conceding goals and the score level at the first half, it was tough as the Galaxy struggled defensively and then went down to 10 men. In the 41st minute after video review, the famous Swedish national was given a straight red because he slapped Montreal’s Michael Petrasso in the head for stepping on his foot.
At first, I was upset. But, then I thought this was the time for the team to step it up once again and for Ola Kamara to shine as he took the captain’s band. And rise and shine he did. He scored what would be the winning goal in the 75th minute; the assist coming from Emmanuel Boateng. David Bingham made five incredible saves to keep Montreal scoreless despite their having 22 shots all match.
May 25, 2018 CaliClasico LA Galaxy vs San Jose Earthquakes
LA Galaxy win 1-0
David Bingham; Emrah Klimenta, Michael Ciani, Jorgen Skjelvik, Dave Romney; Perry Kitchen, Sebastian Lletget; Romain Alessandrini, Jonathan dos Santos (c), Chris Pontius; Ola Kamara
Justin Vom Steeg, Daniel Steres, Ashley Cole, Tomas Hilliard-Arce, Servando Carrasco, Emmanuel Boateng, Giovani dos Santos.
Chris Pontius was the only change from the last match’s starting XI. Zlatan Ibrahimovic was suspended this match due to the red card the previous game. Juan Carlos Osario, the Mexican National team manager, was in attendance to scope out the Dos Santos brothers in preparation for the upcomingWorld Cup, which added pressure.
Jonathan Dos Santos wore the captain’s band til Ashley Cole was subbed in the 66th minute. Giovani Dos Santos had his chance in the 75th minute when he subbed out Sebastian Lletget. It was another painful first half and arguably a terrible 80 minutes as they struggled to make plays happen. The opponents, the San Jose Earthquakes, looked just as bad.
Lletget’s expression when he was subbed out reflected that he wasn’t happy with his performance either; at one point in the 34th minute, he got in the way of teammate Romain Alessandrini’s shot. The game was called boring by fans on Twitter and not looking good seemed to be the standard the Galaxy have set.
The game was barely won when Alessandrini scored a stunning goal in the 82nd minute. The Earthquakes managed not to score, but not from lack of chances even in the remaining few minutes til the whistle blew.
Alessandrini’s goal deserves to be admired, but the way the team’s been playing, it was a quick-lived spark as we are reminded that most of the Galaxy’s play looks like there’s no strategy or chemistry amongst teammates. Number 7’s been reflecting all the fans with his frustration, so scoring was really good for him.
A few more takeaways from these games:
Emmanuel Boateng needs to start. As soon as he enters a game, it immediately changes up the match for the better. He creates chances! He assists! He scores!
The Galaxy put pressure, but they have trouble finishing.
David Bingham is a hero, making dashing saves and keeping a two-game clean sheet.
The Galaxy managed to win back to back games, snapping a four-game losing streak (three of which were at home) without Zlatan Ibrahimovic on the pitch.
With World Cup absences coming up and then the transfer window come July, the Galaxy have a bumpy road ahead, but I’m here for it.
I will be in attendance with several of my international students for Wednesday’s game, which is Pride Night, at StubHub Center. Kickoff is set for 7:30pm PST.
Featured image of Kamara celebrating goal v Montreal: @lagalaxy Instagram
Bench: Justin Vom Steeg, Emrah Klimenta, Dave Romney, Servando Carrasco, Baggio Husidic, Sebastian Lletget, Emmanuel Boateng.
It’s like having the same bad dream over and over: The LA Galaxy concede early, chase the game, and fight to come back from behind two goals. It’s going to be reoccurring until they work out the problems, but they have to start tackling the issue of our defense first.
At this point, fans are calling for coach Sigi Schmid to be fired and for the front office to go as well, but the latter won’t happen as most have a five-year contract extension. The MLS salaries were also released revealing the Galaxy as having the highest paid defense with not much to show for it.
Saturday, Los Angeles Galaxy took on FC Dallas at Toyota Stadium and it turned out to be a wild one. The humidity and almost 90 degree weather added to the challenging elements of this particular match. Frequent water breaks were taken and FC Dallas knew how to run and tire LAG out in such conditions, messing with their momentum.
It started with Maximiliano Urruti who scored in the 28th minute. Then, in the 44th minute, FCD’s Roland Lamah scored. At that point, a change needed to be made and Sebastian Lletget came in for Perry Kitchen. Ashley Cole got a yellow card, which suspends him for the next match.
Then, a breath of life for the Galaxy came from Ola Kamara with a header off a corner kick in the 47th minute, cutting the Texas team’s lead in half. Lamah scored again, though, in the 52nd minute. The Galaxy made another change when Jonathan dos Santos got hurt and Servando Carrasco subbed in at the 56th minute. The Mexican national was not seriously injured.
Reto Ziegler earned two yellow cards, which gave the Galaxy an advantage as they were up a man. Still, despite a fighting effort, the LA Galaxy came up short.
Emmanuel Boateng came in for Chris Pontius in the 76th minute and he scored a goal in the 83rd minute of play. It seemed the Galaxy could catch up.
I clung to hope as the minutes ticked away. In the 88th minute, Zlatan Ibrahimovic took a free kick that hit the top post with such fervor that the entire net shook!
That was not the last thrill as the Galaxy created chances and took shots til the whistle blew.
It is disheartening to write that a team with a stellar squad, most notably Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Ola Kamara, is in 9th place in the Western Conference at the close of Week 11.
But, The Whispers sang a similar tune: the beat goes on, I might as well get over the blues. Let’s move on strong. LAG’s next match is once again on the road as they are set to face Montreal Impact on Monday, May 21st.
Bench: Justin Vom Steeg, Emrah Klimenta, Daniel Steres, Servando Carrasco, Jonathan dos Santos, Emmanuel Boateng, Chris Pontius
My heart broke as The LA Galaxy lost at the last minute to the Houston Dynamo, a game that should’ve been in the bag for LA. But, it doesn’t matter if you win by an inch or a mile, winning is winning as Vin Diesel once said in The Fast and the Furious.
It is frustrating to watch a talented team struggle, fight back and then lose. But, the Galaxy aren’t just fighting, they’re chasing the ball and clawing their way from two-goal deficits. I commend them for being able to come back. But, conceding goals early and fighting tooth and nail are not the way anyone wants this to go. The problem lies in our defense as well. At this point, all eyes are on coach Sigi Schmid.
LAG was able to have the same starting XI for two games now. I think consistency is key, but there are many keys to unlocking their success. Giovani Dos Santos scored his second goal on a good run that he was able to keep to the far post. Ola Kamara scored also on an assist from Gio Dos Santos who had gotten the ball off a spinning pass that resembled more of a martial arts move from Zlatan Ibrahimovic. This trio combined to make that first and second goal happen. It seemed the team was finally given a break.
I have to hand it to the Los Angeles Galaxy for showing heart. In the first half, possession was in their favor just barely, but the other side says LA was dominated. David Romney and even Kamara play out of their comfortable positions to do what is asked of them. Let’s give them kudos to come back after being down two goals for the third time this season. David Bingham keeps making numerous saves.
They are two points up from this time last year, the infamous season that everyone keeps referring to; I have to admit, things are not looking good right now. But, I am an optimist. This doesn’t mean I am not realistic. I want my team to win. I want them to be more in control of the game. I want this team to rebuild the fortress that was StubHub Center.
The same problems keep surfacing for the LA Galaxy, which tells me this is fixable. We cannot expect Kamara and Ibrahimovic to carry or lift the team. I hope this wakes up the team because the first two Houston goals were soft ones. We are about to face FC Dallas and Montreal Impact, both teams that are formidable opponents as we are the away team.
I wanted this title to reflect the ’90s, but this song by Walk the Moon makes more sense. The Los Angeles Galaxy did celebrate their last 22 years with Throwback night on Saturday, April 28, 2018. They played ‘90s music, had a discounted scarf that was the classic gold and green, and gave out a clear fanny pack.
Our starting lineup: David Bingham; Dave Romney, Michael Ciani, Jorgen Skjelvik, Ashley Cole; Sebastian Lletget, Perry Kitchen; Romain Alessandrini, Giovani dos Santos, Ola Kamara; Zlatan Ibrahimović.
Justin Vom Steeg, Emrah Klimenta, Daniel Steres, Servando Carrasco, Baggio Husidic, Emmanuel Boateng, Chris Pontius.
We conceded two goals in the first half. I was sitting near the New York Red Bulls’ supporters to give myself a different experience at this match. I was by myself for the first time, but I didn’t mind since I always end up chatting with people around me. It was a near capacity crowd.
I knew I would move for the second half. I wanted a specific Galaxy jacket but found out it had been discontinued. So, I was cold and during halftime went and got myself some new gear, including that throwback scarf to show how long I’d been a fan. I have a Landon Donovan shirt that’s also the classic style, but it’s gotten small since 2005.
After shopping, I had time in the half to meet up with fellow fan, Rick Koser, who invited me to come sit with him in section 116. We chatted about soccer, of course, and got to know each other a bit; we are both SoCal natives.
I said how LAG had a good start. David Bingham had really been making fantastic saves, and the Galaxy needs to be more patient. As for the calls not being in our favor, we both expressed displeasure with VAR and the refs’ decisions. Rick, who became a season ticket member three years ago said, “the Galaxy can’t catch a break.” I agree wholeheartedly.
We noticed the confetti that seemed to keep floating in the stadium. Fellow MLSFemale writer, Jess Houwen, texted me asking if it was confetti she was seeing on her screen. According to this tweet, this is why…
With half roofed stadiums there is a circulation conundrum called “vortex caldecott” which basically causes confetti to float endlessly when the weather conditions are perfect.
We continued to watch our beloved team fight for us.
Romain Alessandrini kept the ball in play and even slid to keep it in the 63rd minute. He took on the defenders and after the 73rd minute, he faced a RBNY player one on one “dancing” with him to keep possession of the ball. He really stood out most to me in both halves.
We came back from a two-goal deficit to tie the game. Ola Kamara scored in the 59th minute on an assist from Zlatan Ibrahimovic. He hadn’t scored since the home opener. Then, Giovani Dos Santos scored in the 66th minute. He hadn’t scored since May 27, 2017.
Then, as fate would have it, a penalty was called and RBNY’s Alejandro Romero scored in the 84th minute.
Even with five minutes extra time, the Galaxy came up short and lost at home again.
The New York Red Bulls played a good game. Florian Valot scored a great goal in the 49th minute. This was a team that played in the CONCACAF Champions League. They’re tough and were also coming off a previous home loss, so I can’t emphasize enough how proud I am of my LA Galaxy to take them on and score two goals.
At times it felt there was a magnetic field around the net for the Galaxy when they tried to score. The calls against us really seemed to take the wind out of the LA Galaxy’s sails. Alessandrini was understandably frustrated since his goal in the first half had been rescinded post celebration per VAR.
I could blame the refs more, but there’s no point here. I’ve watched the United States Men’s National Team fight in the World Cup against bad, and what we see as unfair, calls; it’s how the game goes sometimes. We got to push on despite that. They really did fight til the whistle blew.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic played 90 minutes again.
Sebastian Lletget played a full 90 minutes since his injury.
I want to focus on our progress. I mean, Gio Dos Santos scored, y’all! Ola Kamara scored. Everyone on that pitch: the starting lineup and subs Emmanuel Boateng, Chris Pontius, and Daniel Steres put in their best effort.
It’s going to be tough ahead as we have a three-game road stretch. I have all the faith in my team and wish them well as injuries continue to plague the soccer world.
Justin Vom Steeg, Dave Romney, Servando Carrasco, Michael Ciani, Giovani dos Santos, Baggio Husidic, Chris Pontius.
“You lost? Even with Zlatan Ibrahimovic?” A student asked me about Saturday’s match.
Yes, we did. And I had to watch from my friend’s place while I was visiting Washington state. I tried to DVR it but didn’t have the option, so I made a point to watch live and take notes. I’m that dedicated.
Our strategy can’t be to keep passing the ball to Ibrahimovic; it will get predictable. And we have other players who can score.
I hate when we lose at home. But, it could have been worse. Most of the scores I see involving Atlanta United are where they scored like 5 goals lol. So, that this wasn’t worse is a good thing. We dodged a bullet shot early on from Ezequiel Barco.
I attribute this to David Bingham, our goalkeeper, making saves.
I understand LA Galaxy fans are frustrated, so is Ola Kamara because he hasn’t scored since the home opener. But, I believe it’s only a matter of time. We just have to keep at it.
I was salty about that first goal by Josef Martinez because it was done on poor clearance. Then, I was glad when they missed the penalty that I didn’t think should’ve been called in the first place. “The ball does not lie.” Was my reaction. But then, their second goal was a penalty scored by Miguel Almiron.
The truth is, Atlanta deserved to win that game. We should have scored, but we didn’t. The fact it was just 2-0 just means our defense actually was pretty good.
The Galaxy did well at adapting play against a team like Atlanta United where you need to build up plays and passing quickly and we did that in the first eleven minutes. Perry Kitchen did his job pushing and pulling in the defense.
Ibrahimovic played a full 90 minutes, for the first time in over a year, which is good news.
Before playing, the Galaxy honored Tommy Mark, a youth player who recently passed away, with applause and the team wore black armbands.
The next match will be April 28, 2018, at 7:30PM PST. I’ll be in the stands.
Substitutions Justin Vom Steeg, Dave Romney, Michael Ciani, Servando Carrasco, Baggio Husidic, Emmanuel Boateng, Chris Pontius
“We come with the sun, they come with the wind, but the sun was the stronger one today.” -Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Oh, the wind and the rain. SoCal has been quite warm lately, 85F just a few days last week. So, traveling to Chicago where it’s 35F, raining, windy, and cold; we are too LA for that. Sure, the weather played a big factor, but I will not use it as an excuse.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored the lone goal, the lion leading the pride. Sure, he’s doing his thing, but this is cause for concern among fans. The second half was sloppy for us and it wasn’t because of Mother Nature. We did the best we could under those conditions and the first half really showed that.
Sebastian Lletget and Zlatan Ibrahimovic started! This is fantastic since they’re both getting back to fitness coming off injuries from last year and also because they’ve been scoring this year. We also know that this means they’ll be subbed. We’ve got to take care of our key players. We want to be up in goals before they come off the pitch.
The most frustrating was two LA Galaxy goals being rescinded. In the 5th minute, Ola Kamara was called offside, which he was but barely. He’s a hungry panther and hasn’t scored since the home opener. Then, in the 8th minute, VAR took what would’ve been an own goal on Chicago’s part. Yes, we should’ve scored more, but we didn’t.
We want to score goals, but as we saw in the second half of this game, we have to get the game on lockdown before the team, in this case, the Chicago Fire, take advantage of set pieces and score. We got lucky this time. But, Chicago had too many chances. It was scary after the 51st minute when they got three corners almost in a row. Even if we are up just one goal, let’s focus on defense rather than attack and scoring (I’m having deja vu, I think I said this in preseason and the home opener).
Complaints will happen no matter how we are doing, but let’s keep our cool like the Galaxy should as we watch our team work out the kinks. They need to play through, regain control and possession, and keep up the effort so we can figure out how to make the pieces work. We are going to continue to see problems in our defense, our finishing (especially in front of the net, I mean even Ibrahimovic missed twice), chemistry, tactics, and strategies until we get it right, so yeah mistakes and sloppy play are going to feel like deja vu. I just hope the Galaxy don’t get predictable either way.
Satisfactory doesn’t seem good enough for the best team in the league; that said, this isn’t the same team as last season, which in this case is a good thing. So, we take this win and keep the momentum going, focusing on what we’ve done right like Ashley Cole getting passes to Ibrahimovic that result in goals.
David Bingham made some really good saves, most of which took place in the second half.
Chris Pontius, Emmanuel Boateng, and Baggio Husidic came in as subs and I think these were good moves.
So far, I think we are doing quite alright. It’s week 7 and we are second in the west.
The next match is Saturday, April 21st at 7:30PST at StubHub Center. I’ll be out of town, but I’ll be watching.
Featured image courtesy: Romain Alessandrini Instagram
No game is going to ever live up to the LA Galaxy vs Los Angeles FC again in the MLS. So, it’s no surprise to me that reality would hit us in the face on this night.
If you’re a fan of the Galaxy and you’re reading this, you’ve known our defense needed work since preseason.
Our starting XI and our bench, with a couple of exceptions, are totally good players.
I hope this 2-0 loss to Sporting Kansas City reminds us of the work that needs to be done.Let’s not overreact due to the past trauma that was the 2017 season; instead, let’s work on our finishing (because we had three shots that hit off the post, so now we are fighting the net at this point), and that we can’t rely on any single player. We are a better than decent team. We just need to follow through.
The first half, we played well, much better than versus LAFC. Let’s also not forget that Sporting was missing their main man, Felipe Gutiérrez.Still, this game was consistent and steady. We attacked and we created chances, putting pressure and often forcing them to get the ball back to their keeper. In the second half, we got sixteen shots on goal, five of which came from Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
Sebastian Lletget and Ibrahimovic are still getting back into fitness. It is ultimately up to head coach Sigi Schmid who he starts, but I, as a fan, have to trust in his decisions right now.
Romain Alessandrini and Jonathan Dos Santos, both designated players, starting and playing a good amount of minutes, and coming out hungry and strong, especially after returning from hamstring injuries is awesome but we can’t expect them to push past their limits.
I want everyone fit! We have a long season ahead still.
Overall, I didn’t understand the decisions made by the Galaxy when passing; they always play it on the sides, especially on the right. Then, they bunched up too much, which forced Ibrahimovic to go back with the ball, which doesn’t result in any chances.
I didn’t expect to lose. I’m still not convinced Sporting should be in the number one spot in the western conference.
We had better control of the game and it was a physical match.SKC just took more advantage of their opportunities when we let two balls slip past us. That’s all I have to say about that (Forrest Gump voice).
Our next match is Saturday, April 14, an away game vs Chicago Fire. It is available to stream via Twitter and watch on Univision Deportes at 12:30PT/2pmCT.
Romain Alessandrini takes on Zusi Graham image courtesy: Michelle Huitink
Justin Vom Steeg, Tomas Hilliard-Arce, Emrah Klimenta, Dave Romney, Baggio Husidic, Ariel Lassiter, Zlatan Ibrahimović.
27,000 in attendance. A sold-out crowd. Los Angeles Galaxy vs Los Angeles Football Club: The first match ever of its kind, the LA Derby and El Tràfico, are some of the better names this was called. This game is going down in history and soccer people will be talking about it for the rest of our lives. Friends of mine who don’t even care about soccer or live in other countries heard all about it. We’ll get to Zlatan Ibrahimovic, but just like we fans in the stands had to wait, so do you. Lol. It’s important to recognize how we struggled to appreciate our success.
LAFC showed how fast they were in the first half. They also put a lot of pressure that the Galaxy doesn’t seem used to.The pressure often forced the Galaxy to play on the right to Rolf Feltscher, who would try to get crosses or pass, but once the Galaxy would get a shot, LAFC would get the ball back and take it straight down the field as many described as one-way traffic.
All of this resulted in LAFC’s #10 Carlos Vela scoring twice in the 5th and 26th minutes.
The LA Galaxy seemed to second guess themselves. Ema Boateng would get good momentum and get the ball to Lletget, but a lot of our players were standing and waiting for the ball, and you don’t want to see the ball and Kamara not moving forward, especially down two goals.The Galaxy also seemed to bunch up too much or too spread out on long passes.
Our defense was definitely lacking, we didn’t have designated players such as Romain Alessandrini and Jonathan Dos Santos due to injuries, and it looked like our guys were missing the chemistry to connect key players with the ball as a result.
Don’t get me wrong, The LA Galaxy are good. They had chances near the end of the first half, in the 45th minute when Chris Pontius knocked on LAFC’s door with the best shot so far, but just couldn’t make it himself nor could he service it to Kamara. Each of our players is capable and has credentials all their own. Ola Kamara is one of the best MLS goal scorers in the last two years. I watched us fight for the ball, Lletget taking on three defenders, getting the ball over to Feltscher. The trio of Boateng, Lletget, and Pontius working together to make plays and create chances. Servando Carrasco earned us a corner in the 48th minute.
LAFC was just the better team. Then, to kick us while we were down, fate would have it that Steres scored an own goal off a deflection.
So, what could coach Sigi Schmid do to improve and give us a chance to come back in the second half? The fans were calling for Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
But, when the second half started, there were no changes on either side. The game had changed, though, LAFC tried to slow down the pace, but as we saw in the first half, that isn’t how we play. We saw Zlatan warming up by the 52nd minute.
By the 53rd minute, Jorgen Skjelvik, Boateng, and Lletget had strong efforts and chances in the attacking third; Pontius maintaining our possession, which Perry Kitchen, Ashley Cole, and Carrasco got the ball for more chances there, which finally paid off.
LAFC’s defense opened up and in the 61st minute, Lletget scored! Baggio Husidic subbed Servando Carrasco, who assisted in said goal, right after that.
Within twenty minutes, pre-Ibrahimovic, we came back two goals, the second scored by Chris Pontius when he headed in a cross from Boateng and that wonderful goal breathed life back into the team. I emphasize this and my point that the LA Galaxy is a good team this season prior to what happened next. But, we’ll get to it.
The hope in StubHub Center was palpable. The fans were already loud, doing our best to drown out our noisy LAFC neighbors, but the energy was building. Those two goals were flashes of lightning in an important match. The LA Galaxy shirts and board read that we were unrivaled and we had to prove it.
Then, Zlatan Ibrahimovic entered the game in the 71st minute for Lletget. We had been calling for him. Still, despite what he can bring individually, the players on the field had to get the ball to him.
As soon as Ibrahimovic came on, the other nine Galaxy players on the field stepped it up. He provided enough distraction to LAFC and Chris Pontius scored two minutes later. It was just his presence that lifted the game. But, there we were only one goal back with plenty of time.
Then, in the 76th minute, our new number 9 leveled the match.
It was epic. I mean, it is the Ibrahimovic way, but to see a goal shot by him on his debut from 40 yards out after he’d spent so much time recovering and just the day before, his fitness and age being called into question.
Ibrahimovic earned a yellow card for taking off his shirt in celebration. Fans in the stands where I was did the same. The crowd really was thunderous now.
It was almost extra time and we would’ve been happy to tie. But, in the 91st minute, a ball from Cole was headed into the net by none other than Zlatan Ibrahimovic. The crowd went wild, which is an understatement. I’ve supported this team for over a decade and have seen my team come back, but nothing has ever felt quite like this.
We really wanted the whistle at that moment, even though no one had stopped cheering.
Finally, it was over. We had won 4–3. We had come back from a 3 goal deficit. We defeated our new rival.
The LA Galaxy definitely need more control of the game. I spent a good chunk of this article on the first half because it should not be forgotten in all the hype and excitement. Vin Diesel said in The Fast and The Furious that “it doesn’t matter if you win by an inch or a mile, winning is winning.” But, I want the MLS to be recognized as a solid league on its own. Ibrahimovic coming here gives it an unfair comparison to European leagues. Lletget and Pontius both deserve credit for what they accomplished this match.
I do have concerns as a fan that the Galaxy will rely too much on Ibrahimovic or that his ego will end him up on the bench, but since seeing him at the press conference, and after keeping good on his promise to help us and win, I really think he is the puzzle piece that this team was missing.
Lastly, besides stressing the point of how skillful the Galaxy are, especially when we get our designated players back from injuries, I hear that Los Angeles has one team. Sure, I want my team to win, but I welcome the new rivalry. I really want the LA Galaxy and LAFC to coexist. One of the best things I saw as I walked back to the parking lot was an LA Galaxy fan walking, talking, shaking hands and being friendly with a LAFC fan then going their separate ways.
There’s another reason this game was special. On a personal note, I was the victim of a hit and run car accident over a year ago that totaled my car and I was lucky not to have been more injured. Many people stopped to help me, but there was a Good Samaritan, George, who stayed with me, kept me calm and helped me until my father and the police could arrive. We kept in touch and to show my gratitude, I invited him to what I knew would be a phenomenal match. This game exceeded both of our expectations. It was his first professional soccer game, but he is definitely a sports person and I enjoyed going over the game with him.
What a game it ended up being. I’m glad I was there. I can’t do this game enough justice, you really had to have been there. I still can’t believe it even after rewatching highlights and the match itself to write this article.
The next match is April 8th and I’m bringing three other friends. We’ll see what that game holds.