Tag Archives: Ola Kamara

LA Galaxy One Win Away from Clinching Last Playoff Spot

Michelle Huitink - LA Galaxy/mlsfemale
Official LA Galaxy Reporter

By Michelle Huitink // @mchuitink

Starting XI

David Bingham; Rolf Feltscher, Daniel Steres, Dave Romney, Ashley Cole (c); Romain Alessandrini, Sebastian Lletget, Jonathan dos Santos, Emmanuel Boateng; Ola Kamara, Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Bench

Justin Vom Steeg, Sheanon Williams, Jorgen Skjelvik, Servando Carrasco, Perry Kitchen, Baggio Husidic, Ariel Lassiter.

Michelle Huitink - LA Galaxy/mlsfemale
Photo Credit: Romain Alessandrini official Instagram. Goal scorers right to left: Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Ola Kamara, and Alessandrini.

The Los Angeles Galaxy only need to win their next match against the Houston Dynamo Sunday, October 28th to qualify for the Audi 2018 MLS Cup Playoffs.

The Galaxy won on the road against Minnesota United on October 21st.

The attention and focus have been on Zlatan Ibrahimovic, of course. He’s made quite the impact and has really helped to get the Galaxy into a better position. Still, when looking at such a talented and highly paid team, the fact that it comes down to Decision Day reflects the uncertain state of the team.

Last season was very disappointing. Not only had they not qualified, but they were in last place. This season looked bleak and statistically wasn’t much better. Historically, the Galaxy are a team that set high standards for MLS.

Their winning reputation and the idea of StubHub as a fortress has been compromised. Currently, the Galaxy have a temporary coach, Dominic Kinnear. Now, as attributed to Ibrahimovic, the Galaxy’s playoff chances have significantly increased.

On Sunday’s game against the Loons, Ibrahimovic played on artificial turf, which was a feat in itself due to his previous knee condition. But, he played as promised because that’s how focused and important it is to qualify for the playoffs. He was responsible for getting the G’s up when he scored a header in the 30th minute. Then, he assisted Romain Alessandrini’s goal.

He also played a full 90 minutes! Not only was playing on turf a risk, but he was also one yellow card away from suspension. When he wasn’t the first sub and the minutes ticked by, it became clear he would stay on the pitch. It was concerning to see him take injury breaks.

Ola Kamara scored the second goal. But, they also gave up a goal to MNUFC Àngelo Rodriguez in the 53rd minute.

The Galaxy managed to pull off the win in front of 50,000 in attendance. The final score was 3-1.

Watch Galaxy highlights here:

The Dynamo are a beatable team. Their season ends with them most likely staying in 10th place in the west.

The Galaxy are the home team this Sunday and it’s Fan Appreciation DayLAG have everything to play for.

Featured image: @Ibra_official

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LA Galaxy Remain Unbeaten Against LAFC

Michelle Huitink - LA Galaxy/mlsfemale
Official LA Galaxy Reporter

By Michelle Huitink // @mchuitink

Thursday, July 26: 2-2 Draw

Starting XI

David Bingham; Dave Romney, Michael Ciani, Jorgen Skjelvik; Romain Alessandrini, Jonathan dos Santos, Perry Kitchen, Ashley Cole ©; Giovani dos Santos; Ola Kamara, Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Bench

Justin Vom Steeg, Daniel Steres, Sheanon Williams, Servando Carrasco, Chris Pontius, Sebastian Lletget, Emmanuel Boateng

Michelle Huitink - LA Galaxy/mlsfemale
Image: Marlon Santos Lima

Both Los Angeles teams faced off for a second time on July 26, 2018, this time at Banc of California Stadium. Fans at the stadium were very loud and it only got louder after kickoff.

The LA Galaxy were the visitors this time. LAFC had something to prove at home after the Galaxy had come back to defeat them 4-3 on a wild match back on March 31st.

LAFC was coming off a 5-1 loss against Minnesota.

Both teams have been in the top 5 in the West. The LA Galaxy have scored the most goals in their last 10 games (23 goals) throughout the MLS.

But, this is MLS. It’s anyone’s game.

Michelle Huitink - LA Galaxy/mlsfemale
Kickoff. Image: Marlon Santos Lima

Despite their 7-game unbeaten streak, the Galaxy particularly looked off their game. They weren’t looking like the team they were against Philadelphia Union. The Galaxy seem to take a step forward, but two steps back. Their defense is a painful reminder and also the shock that the G’s are in the position they are. Conceding a goal and being down early, (often being behind 2 goals), and being a second-half team has become their narrative.

LAG kept taking short corners and making passes, but not putting any pressure. Zlatan Ibrahimovic seemed asleep at the wheel as he gave away the ball in the 44th minute. LAFC’s Walker Zimmerman was defending well.

In the 7th minute, LAFC’s Adama Diomande ran with the ball after a poor deflection and was able to cross it to teammate Carlos Vela, who scored on a header.

Mark Anthony Kaye was on the ball when Galaxy’s Perry Kitchen fouled him just outside the box. After an injury break, he had to be helped off the field, tears streaming down his face. We now know he will require surgery for a fractured ankle. Lee Nguyen scored in the 13th minute right off the free kick from that making it 2-0.

Michelle Huitink - LA Galaxy/mlsfemale
Image: Marlon Santos Lima

Any shots the Galaxy had were way off. They didn’t do anything with possession. LAG’s defense got the runaround.

The Galaxy did have chances and were threatening at times such as when Giovani Dos Santos had a shot on goal in the 41st minute and Ola Kamara had a good run but was called offside.

In the second half, Kamara was called offside again at the 49th minute.

Then, in the 63rd minute, G’s keeper, David Bingham, almost got the ball picked off of him as he was about to put it back into play. Ashley Cole was called off for Chris Pontius to make it a more attacking 3-5-2 formation. There was a lot of action for the Galaxy, but they just couldn’t deliver.

In the 76th minute, after a water break and Sebastian Lletget came on for Kitchen, LAFC’s Diomande got a shot right off the post.

Andre Horta made his LAFC debut in the 77th minute as a sub for Nguyen. The Galaxy’s subs made all the difference, but so did this one.

The Galaxy’s tension and spark finally paid off with a goal. On a throw-in from Pontius, Ibrahimovic got a run on the ball and a good cross to Romain Alessandrini, who was able to get it in to cut LAFC’s lead in half. He had been hustling as always and the sheer emotion as he clutched the crest on his jersey clearly showed on his face what the Galaxy fans were feeling.

Image: @LAGalaxy. Ola Kamara and Romain Alessandrini after he scored a goal. The emotion is palpable.

Right after that, Tyler Miller had to make a massive save just after Kamara got on the ball.

In the 86th minute, Horta tried to play the ball back, but it got to Kamara who ran to an empty net, was calm and patient, and tied the game 2-2.

LAFC’s last chance came in the 89th minute as Horta had a shot off the post. Fans anticipated coach Sigi Schmid to use a third sub and were hoping that would’ve been Emmanuel Boateng, but he didn’t. That might’ve made a difference. Vela himself said post-match that if there had been 5 more minutes of stoppage time (in addition to the 4 that was given), LAFC would have lost.

This match only intensifies the rivalry. LAFC fans allegedly assaulted Galaxy fans at the stadium and there appears to have been some vandalism to seats. Fans on both sides need to be better. Security needs to be stepped up as well.

The Galaxy still remain unbeaten against LAFC and for the season are 4-3-3 on the road.

I was at the viewing party but my student attended the match. Photos are courtesy of him as accredited and are used with permission.

Image: Michelle Huitink. Viewing Party at StubHub Center

Featured image of warmups: Marlon Santos Lima

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LA Galaxy Win Away and at Home

Michelle Huitink - LA Galaxy/mlsfemale
Official LA Galaxy Reporter

By Michelle Huitink // @mchuitink

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

Starting XI

David Bingham; Emrah Klimenta, Michael Ciani, Jorgen Skjelvik, Dave Romney; Perry Kitchen, Sebastian Lletget; Romain Alessandrini, Jonathan dos Santos, Ola Kamara; Zlatan Ibrahimović (c).

Bench

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.

Michelle Huitink - LA Galaxy/mlsfemale
Image: Ola Kamara’s Instagram in the locker room post-match against Montreal Impact

May 25, 2018 CaliClasico LA Galaxy vs San Jose Earthquakes

LA Galaxy win 1-0

Starting XI

David Bingham; Emrah Klimenta, Michael Ciani, Jorgen Skjelvik, Dave Romney; Perry Kitchen, Sebastian Lletget; Romain Alessandrini, Jonathan dos Santos (c), Chris Pontius; Ola Kamara

Bench

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 upcoming World 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.

Michelle Huitink - LA Galaxy/mlsfemale
Image: @LAGalaxy The team huddles before the second half starts against San Jose.

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.

Michelle Huitink - LA Galaxy/mlsfemale
Image: @lagalaxy Instagram. Alessandrini’s late-game shot in CaliClasico.

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 

Follow and chat with me on Twitter // @mchuitink

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A chat between friends – Presidents of Dallas Beer Guardians and Angel City Brigade briefly discuss the recent game

Bailey Brown - FC Dallas/mlsfemale
Official FC Dallas Reporter

By Bailey Brown // @baileystaysposi

With guest, Karina Ceja

Karina and I met this past year at the annual Independent Supporters Council Conference in Vancouver, BC, Canada. We automatically became friends and have bonded over our love of soccer and Selena. She now serves as the President of Angel City Brigade, an independent supporters group for LA Galaxy.

After our game on Saturday, I reached out to her with some questions that I have had as an outsider looking in and trying to get her thoughts on the game.

Bailey Brown - FC Dallas/mlsfemale
Karina Ceja

BB: Hey girl! Thanks so much for being down for this. I think any time we can show supporters having a friendly discussion is always a plus. Anyways, I’m excited about this.

Okay, so let’s jump right in!

I have to admit, when you guys signed Zlatan Ibrahimovic, I was incredibly upset. Not because I was jealous, but because I felt like this was just another instance of 1. LA Galaxy flexing its money muscles and 2. The overall look of players from European Premier League not super in the prime coming to MLS for a new beginning. What were your thoughts when you guys finally made the deal?

KC: So, this was a rumor for a few seasons now. At first, I didn’t pay much attention because I didn’t know if/ when this would finally happen but a friend/ reliable source mentioned it to me a few days before the deal was finalized. Given the nature of his career and success, I was stoked, but I was also afraid because he hadn’t played in so long and I didn’t know how his personality would mesh with the rest of the team.

BB: Now that you’ve had him for a couple of games, do you think the investment was worth it/will continue to be worth it?

KC: I definitely think it was worth it. We had lots of games last season where our midfield and defense would play their role, we just didn’t have confident forwards to fulfill the goals we needed to capture the wins.  There are no words to describe how “worth it” he was/is during his debut, helping the team come back from a 0-3 deficit to beat the new team in town. I was crying in the stands, “I LOVE YOU, ZLATAN!”

BB: So, something I’ve come to on my own conclusion is that a lot of these big name players don’t affect the gameplay as much as other acquisitions. For example, in Chicago, I will always stand by the signing of Dax McCarty being a much bigger influence on their midfield than Bastian Schweinsteiger. I get that one brings in a lot more money than the other, but do you think there were any other signings for Galaxy this year that have made a bigger impact for you guys?

KC: Yes. Ola Kamara! Not a huge surprise, considering his stats with the Crew. He has shown heart and dedication since preseason and has continued to do so. He even got a goal on FC Dallas.

BB: Okay, I agree. Ola Kamara was a solid acquisition. I hope to see Zlatan deliver to him up more. I know they’re still working out the kinks and you could see that in the game this past weekend. Once both of them get a little more time together, I think they will both be able to work better at the connection piece.

Saturday, May 12: FC Dallas 3 – LA Galaxy 2

BB: Okay, so let’s start about the game. FC Dallas saw a glimpse of glory with Diaz coming back and making 3 assists for our team. For someone who has been starting on the bench and who has, for the most part, not been as consistent since THE injury (referring back to 2016), this was refreshing to see.

Not to mention Roland Lamah putting two balls in the back of the net for us. Were there any standout plays to you on your side? Reto Ziegler got his second caution in the 73rd minute ultimately sending him off the field and Dallas down a man. I really didn’t agree with it, but I’m not the ref. However, I do think this helped give you guys momentum for your second goal. What are your thoughts on all of it?

KC: To be honest, after the first Urruti goal, I was like, “Okay, here we go with 2017 all over again.” Dallas playing with 10 men seemed to have an influential drive for the Galaxy. They started attacking and eventually, Boateng landed that second goal- which helped the team feel like we were still in the game. Alessandrini and Zlatan both had shots that hit the post, so there was still hope that we’d get a shot in for the tie. Towards the end of the match, I thought we’d tie.

BB: Okay, and lastly… I know you joke about keeping the Wooden Spoon (Independent Supporters Council trophy for worst overall record in the league… the less spectacular sibling of the Supporters Shield), but I really don’t think you’ll have it again. If I’m being completely honest, I think that will be reserved for Seattle this year and I’m not sad about it.

However, I feel like you guys are definitely seeing a little more consistency this year overall. What are your thoughts after last year (I mean, I feel like Dallas ended well enough to share that trophy with you)?

Bailey Brown - FC Dallas/mlsfemale
Picture of the Wooden Spoon on its way back to L.A.

KC: I haven’t completely lost hope in our season. I do joke about it but we still have a few months to get it together. Last year was a combination of bad coaching, poor defense, no performing strikers. We have a bit more consistency with scorers– we just have to get our team to defend the last 15 minutes of each game. We will come back– even if it’s just for a brief playoff appearance.

Featured image: Bailey Brown

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The beat goes on as Los Angeles Galaxy lose again

Michelle Huitink - LA Galaxy/mlsfemale
Official LA Galaxy Reporter

By Michelle Huitink // @mchuitink

Saturday, May 12: 3-2 Loss

Starting XI: David Bingham; Daniel Steres, Michael Ciani, Jorgen Skjelvik, Ashley Cole ©; Perry Kitchen, Jonathan dos Santos; Chris Pontius, Romain Alessandrini, Ola Kamara; Zlatan Ibrahimović.

Michelle Huitink - LA Galaxy/mlsfemale
Image: @LAGalaxy

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.

Michelle Huitink - LA Galaxy/mlsfemale
Celebration after Ola Kamara’s goal. Image: @LAGalaxy

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!

Watch below:

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.

Michelle Huitink - LA Galaxy/mlsfemale
Zlatan Ibrahimovic in action. Image: @LAGalaxy

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.

Featured image: @LAGalaxy 

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Don’t hit the panic switch on the LA Galaxy just yet

Michelle Huitink - LA Galaxy/mlsfemale
Official LA Galaxy Reporter

By Michelle Huitink // @mchuitink

Saturday, May 5: 3-2 Loss

I watched highlights and listened via the radio stream for this match as the LA Galaxy traveled to BBVA Compass Stadium for the match Saturday, May 5, 2018, where the crowd was sold out.

Image @LAGalaxy

Starting XI: David Bingham; Dave Romney, Michael Ciani, Jorgen Skjelvik, Ashley Cole ©; Sebastian Lletget, Perry Kitchen; Romain Alessandrini, Giovani dos Santos, Ola Kamara; Zlatan Ibrahimović.

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.

img_2478
Giovani Dos Santos and Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Image: @LAGalaxy

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.

Featured image of Ola Kamara courtesy: @LAGalaxy 

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The LA Galaxy keep putting one foot in front of the other

Michelle Huitink - LA Galaxy/mlsfemale
Official LA Galaxy Reporter

By Michelle Huitink // @mchuitink

Saturday, April 28: 2-3 Loss

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.

Substitutions:

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.

Michelle Huitink - LA Galaxy/mlsfemale
Rick Koser and I. Image: Michelle Huitink

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…

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.

Michelle Huitink - LA Galaxy/mlsfemale
Romain Alessandrini. Image: Michelle Huitink

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.

Michelle Huitink - LA Galaxy/mlsfemale
Cozmo, our mascot, in his throwback outfit. Image: Michelle Huitink

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.

Featured image courtesy: Michelle Huitink 

Follow and chat with me on Twitter // @mchuitink

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Columbus Crew SC vs. Sporting Kansas City

Hilary - Columbus Crew/mlsfemale
Official Columbus Crew Reporter

By Hilary // @hils4crew

Sunday, September 10: 1-1 Draw

On a sunny Sunday afternoon, Columbus Crew SC played Sporting Kansas City to a pretty uninspiring draw in one of Crew SC’s final three home games of the regular season. 

Kansas City struck first scoring a goal in the 19’ on an unnecessary failed bicycle clearance by Jonathan Mensah.  SKC’s Cristian Lobato took the missed clearance and nutmegged Crew SC’s keeper while he was trying to stop the shot. 

There were a few opportunities for Crew SC in the first half to equalize, and they felt like the more dominant team.  In first half stoppage time, Ola Kamara headed in a beautiful goal off a Pedro Santos’ corner kick to finish the half with a 1-1 draw.

The second half didn’t provide a lot to write home about.  This could have been a game like many others earlier in the season where Crew SC gave away a draw for a loss, but they held on for a point. 

Some thoughts about the game:

Pedro Santos is good.  Really good.  I don’t want Kei Kamara back, but I’m pretty sure if he was, Pedro would put every corner kick or set piece directly on to his head.   He can see the field and the plays before they happen.  I think he will be Schelotto-like—making all the players around him even better as he grows to know his teammates, and they grow to know him.

What is with both Santos and Higuain standing together to take corner kicks?  Is it to confuse the defenders with who may kick the ball?  It’s a corner kick.  Most of the time, it is going into the mass of players in front of the goal.  Wouldn’t it be better to have another man in front of the goal or someone to clean up any balls that leak through from the corner kick instead of having two players standing over the ball to kick it?

Honestly, I imagined them having this conversation at the corner flag:

Pipa:  I really should take the corner. I’ve been on the team a long time.  I’m good at it.

Santos:  I’m new.  Let me give it a try.  Plus, if they’re anything like your PK taking ability maybe I should take them…

Then I laughed at my crazy imagination, and figured this is some kind of game plan Gregg has conjured up for corner kicks that I just don’t understand.

Finally, the second half really wasn’t very exciting soccer.  This made Gregg’s substitutions in the second half even more puzzling.  Ola Kamara was subbed out in 64’ for Adam Jahn, Pedro Santos was subbed out in the 65’ for Cristian Martinez, and Jimenez was subbed out for Afful in 84’.   Bringing Afful in, I can understand as he is working his way back from an injury, and I found out later that Kamara is fighting an injury.  However, why not bring on Manneh instead of Jahn for Meram or Kamara?  Why pull Santos off the field? 

It felt like Gregg was playing for the tie, and with Crew SC’s track record of giving up goals earlier in the season, I kind of understand this decision.  However, we are in a precarious spot in the playoff hunt.  We have 1 to 4 games on hand on teams that can challenge us for a playoff spot, and we need all the points we can get. 

Thoughts on the previous week’s happenings:

I’ve been absent writing for the last few games.  Real life has kind of been busy, but I’m back on the beat.  I had some thoughts about the last few matches or off field happenings that I wanted to share:

Nicolai Naess was recently traded.  We evidentially made a profit from his transfer.  He played a great long pass, and he stayed calm on the ball.  I never understood why he got benched.  I feel like his absence is a real loss for the team.  However, I’m happy he will go somewhere he can contribute. 

Frederico Higuain has recently stated that he believes this will be his last season in a Crew SC uniform.  Is this a negotiation tactic?  Who knows?  However, I still feel like Crew SC is a better team with Pipa on it.  I wonder if having someone like Santos on the team that thinks as fast as he does on the field will help change his mind about sticking around for another season.  Seeing Santos and Pipa when they have had even more time to gel on the field would be a sight to behold.

I also know that Ola Kamara wants to renegotiate his contract as well.  This man needs to get paid.  He is our only true forward.  We need to work on bringing someone else in as well because if his injury develops into something more serious, we will be in trouble.  Plus, we just need another forward.

During the LA Galaxy vs. Crew SC game, VAR (video assistant referee) was used three times in pretty significant ways during the game resulting in a PK, red card, and call back of a goal.  All these calls went in Crew SC’s favor.  Being there, I can say it was a crazy short stretch of time.  I’m not sure how I feel about VAR.  It did break up the flow of the game a bit, but I don’t know how often it will impact a game as much as it did this one. 

Finally, I have given Mensah and Abu a lot of criticism this season.  Some justified criticisms–some probably not.  These two have been brilliant in the last few games.  They both seem confident and are working well with their teammates on the field.   Yes, Mensah did make a mistake in this week’s game, but he stayed confident afterward and continued to make strong defensive plays the rest of the game. 

This is a different guy from the beginning of the season.  If the same mistake had happened to him earlier in the season, I think you would have seen shaky play the rest of the game.  Gregg Berhalter may have final found a centerback combination that works and another good center midfield option. 

Hopefully, the team can stay confident and dominant against the Vancouver Whitecaps this Saturday and earn 3 much needed road points to help solidify the road to the playoffs. 

Featured image courtesy: @ColumbusCrewSC

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Crew vs Atlanta and Minnesota

Hilary - Columbus Crew/mlsfemale
Official Columbus Crew Reporter

By Hilary // @hils4crew

This past Saturday, there were fireworks at Mapfre Stadium.  Not because the game was fantastic, but because there were actually fireworks after the game.  It’s a good thing there were fireworks.  Otherwise, the crowd may not have stuck around to watch the whole game as Columbus Crew SC lost to Atlanta United 2-0.

The game seemed choppy from the get go—neither team really finding their flow.  It seemed like there were a lot of tiny fouls that constantly got called, and the passing never really seemed to move.

Both goals were scored by Atlanta’s Hector Villalba in the 27’ and 64’.   Gregg Berhalter tried subbing in Manneh and Jahn to make a difference like in the previous game, but unlike last game, the subs couldn’t turn the game around.  It’s a game that begs to be forgotten. 

Some plays that caught my attention:

  • On Atlanta’s first goal, Mensah missed a header he should have had.  He played more confidently in the second half, winning challenges, and stepping to the ball more, but he still hasn’t found firm footing within the backline.
  • Afful also seemed to have moments of struggle having his pocket picked by Almiron in the 11’ that resulted in a sharp shot off the post.

Then, on Tuesday, Crew SC played another unremarkable game against Minnesota United resulting in a 1-0 win for the Black and Gold.  Berhalter did some significant changes to his formation most likely due to a combination of poor play against Atlanta and the quick turnaround time between games.

He rolled out a 3-4-3 lining up Naess, Crognale, and Abubakar in the back, resting Higuain who didn’t even dress for the 18, playing Jimenez for Afful, and starting Manneh over Meram who came off the bench in the 63’. 

The team didn’t see many chances in the first half, and outside of the last ten minutes of the first half didn’t seem to have much possession either.   Although, I don’t think the lineup Berhalter played is meant to be as possession-oriented as our typical formation. 

In the second half, Minnesota had many opportunities to attack.  Eventually though, Crew SC placed their own attack.  Manneh did a spin move to break away from a Minnesota defender.  No one else stepped up, giving him space, so he made a shot from outside of the 18 resulting in his second goal in three games. 

 

After Meram came in, we seemed to have more of an offensive spark.  He crossed a ball to Finlay in the 66’ that Finlay missed but should have put away.  In the 73’, Meram sent a beautiful through ball to Ola Kamara who just didn’t bend his shot enough to hit the back of the net. 

In the 77’, Meram sent another pretty ball to Ola who sent it back to him, but Meram held the ball probably a step too long.  While he got the rebound off his own mishit, Meram couldn’t put it away.  He had another opportunity in the 80’ when Ola Kamara passed him the ball, but Meram sent it a tad wide of the goal.  Regardless, Crew SC ended the game with a win going into an 18-day break from MLS action.

Some thoughts about this game:

  • Without Pipa and Meram, we really do lack an offensive spark.  There was a different energy when Meram entered the match.
  • I thought rookie Abubakar did a nice job in his MLS debut.  I thought Abu who has been shaky in some of his previous appearances also played a solid game.
  • I was disappointed to see Naess subbed out early in the first half due to what appeared to be an injury.   He hasn’t seen much playing time lately, and I think he is one of our stronger CBs.  So, I was hoping this would be an opportunity for him to earn his way back to consistently starting.
  • This needs to be a formation that Gregg Berhalter uses more often.  We ground out a result, and I feel that if we were more comfortable with this formation it would be even more effective.  It’d be nice to have other options. 

The inconsistency of this Crew SC team always leaves you guessing.  Which as a Crew SC fan can be frustrating, but it also makes every game intriguing.  Who will show up?  We may never know, but I know we will be there cheering for our team.

Featured image courtesy: Columbus Crew facebook

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Some of it was beautiful

Hilary - Columbus Crew/mlsfemale
Official Columbus Crew Reporter

By Hilary // @hils4crew

Sunday, May 21: 2-1 Loss

The first 20 minutes of the Columbus Crew SC match against the New England Revolution was a pretty fun game to watch.  Crew SC looked like they came into this game wide-awake with Higuaín getting a ball from Francis in the 1’ that he should have shot slightly more quickly but he instead found his few extra little touches resulted in a blocked shot.  In the 3’ minute, the Revs quickly attacked as Fegundez sent a ball across the field to a streaking Rowe. 

Had the ball been a smidge slower or Rowe been a bit quicker, the Crew SC could have found themselves in a precarious position, however neither happened, and the ball harmlessly went out.  The back and forth continued slightly favoring Crew SC; when in the 4’ minute, Higuaín took another shot and Manneh hit the rebound for what looked like a goal, but Manneh was ruled offside.

Crew SC fans didn’t have to wait long for a goal though, and Crew SC did not take their foot off the gas pedal.  In the 20’, Wil Trapp sent a beautiful ball up the field to Ola Kamara who volleyed it from just outside the Revs eighteen into the top left corner of their net.  If this isn’t a candidate for Pass of the Week, Goal of the Week, and Columbus Crew SC Goal of the Year, then I’m not sure what should qualify.  I had a great feeling about this game.  I guess I shouldn’t have. 

Diego Fagundez decided to give Crew SC fans a taste of the terror that Justin Meram reigned on Montreal last week by scoring a brace against Crew SC.  After a giveaway by Crew SC and some quick passing by the Revs, Fegundez scored in the 24’ and then again in the 34’. 

The second half ended in a scoreless affair that I honestly had a hard time focusing on.  However, we seemed to lose the fast passing and movement that had given us an edge for most of the first half.  This resulted in the home team earning a 2-1 win over Crew SC and leaving Crew SC sitting at 6-6-1 for the season thus far. 

My random thoughts:

  • A lot of people were again not happy with Abu.  He definitely had moments that weren’t great, but so did a lot of other players on the team.  I don’t have strong feelings for or against Abu.  I do miss Mo Saied and Tony Tchani, but I don’t believe this one player is causing all of our woes.
  • I am happy to see Waylon Francis on the pitch.  He, along with Ethan Finlay, are two of my favorite Crew SC players.  I think Francis had some great crosses and did some great things defensively.  I also had no issue with Raitala coming on for Jimenez in the 62’.  Jimenez does a serviceable job at right back, but if Harrison Afful doesn’t come back match fit and in full form soon that right side will be a problem.
  • Any time we play on artificial turf like the field we played on Sunday, I am again reminded of how beautiful our field is.  Our grounds crew at Mapfre Stadium is amazing. 
  • I still have faith and belief in this team, but I almost always do.  When they are on, they get it done.  They just have to find a way to keep the switch on more often.  They will get there Crew SC fans.  Keep the faith.

Featured image courtesy: @ColumbusCrewSC

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Subscribe + get caught up: Weekly Dispatch 2017