It was LA Galaxy throwback night, and the team took it too literal. In a performance that belonged somewhere in the year 1996; the Galaxy looked disinterested and quite frankly a team that was already on their Copa America break.
On a night that featured a very drab 90 minutes of 0-0 soccer, the crowd was moved from cheers to boos by the end of it.
The Galaxy were looking to bounce back from a heart breaking last minute loss against Montreal Impact last week.
Sporting Kansas City were looking to go into the mini Copa America Centenario break with something positive to take out of the last six weeks of action.
The Galaxy stuck with Brian Rowe in goal despite Rowe making a crucial mistake in added time to give the Galaxy the loss. In the midfield Bruce Arena implored a more defensive line-up by starting Jeff Larentowicz, Baggio Husidic, and Nigel de Jong together with winger Sebastian Lletget.
It was a measured and conservative first half from both teams with very little opportunities. It took nine minutes for Giovani dos Santos to get his first touch of the ball. In the 11th minute Larentowicz had a golden opportunity to slide the ball across the box to a wide open Mike Magee but the ball was too close to the goalkeeper Tim Melia for Sporting KC.
Sporting KC earned four corner kicks in the first period of play and had the best opportunity to score of the half. Dominic Dwyer found himself one on one inside of the penalty box but Rowe cut off the angle quickly and Dwyer was only able to push the ball low and wide off the far post.
The Galaxy entered the half with zero shots compared to 6 for Sporting KC.
In the second half Sporting KC continued to frustrate the Galaxy offense with stifling defense. However, the Galaxy found a goal in the 56th minute by Lletget. The goal was called back after Magee was judged to be offside. However, replays showed that Magee was onside and the goal should have stood. That ended up being the only opportunity for the Galaxy in the match.
Sporting KC had several half-chances off of corner kicks in the second half. Rowe was positioned well in goal for the Galaxy whenever Sporting KC was able to get a solid shot on target.
At the full time whistle, the Galaxy had been out-shot 15-1 in favor of Sporting KC. The lone shot for the Galaxy was a blocked one take by Magee in the 68th minute.
The Galaxy ended the game without a single shot on target.
Galaxy fans, players, and coach Bruce Arena all left the game frustrated by what had just transpired. Arena after the game was visibly annoyed when he mentioned, “It had all the makings of a zero, zero game, and that’s what it was”. When asked about no shots on goal for the team Arena responded, “We got very little out of our strikers tonight. They didn’t play well, they weren’t aggressive enough, they want to pass the ball in the goal instead of shoot”.
Definitely something to work on over the break.
Contrarily, coach Peter Vermes was happy with his team’s performance on the night keeping the Galaxy scoreless and frustrated throughout the evening. Vermes said “I think we were very organized, very well disciplined”.
It would be hard to disagree with that assessment after keeping the Galaxy without a shot on goal the entire game at StubHub Center.
Players of the Match
For the Galaxy it was Rowe in the net. The Galaxy keeper didn’t have much to do on the night but was positioned well every time he was called upon.
For Sporting KC it was Jimmy Medranda who had team high’s of 4 shots and 74 touches.
Sporting KC plays at home against FC Dallas on June 19th. Sporting KC lost their previous meeting this year against Dallas 2-1 away from home.
The Galaxy play next on June 18th at Toronto FC. This will be the only time these two teams will meet this season unless they meet in the playoffs.
Sporting KC can use their defensive efforts and opportunities on the counter attack and set pieces from this game to build on. After having lost 4 of their last 5 games, Sporting KC put together a stingy performance despite being decimated by players being unavailable.
The Galaxy can take nothing positive from this game. It is back to the drawing board offensively for a team that is without two offensive stars in Robbie Keane and Gyasi Zardes. Dos Santos needs to get more involved in the flow of play. To do this, Arena may need to play dos Santos in a wide roll or underneath the strikers rather than up top. Defensively, the Galaxy weren’t tested enough to get a good gauge on if it was a solid defensive effort. There will be more stiff tests to come.
Galaxy fans will be hoping to never again see a zero shots on goal performance from their team.