Word of the Night:
Fragile: 1: easily broken or destroyed (Merriam Webster, 11th ed.).
Fragile best describes the current state of the LA Galaxy after a difficult tie against the Colorado Rapids Saturday night. The 1-1 score line was a blow for the Galaxy but a victory for the Rapids as the race heats up for the Supporters Shield.
The points dropped at home wasn’t the only thing that went wrong for the Galaxy on Saturday, goalkeeper Brian Rowe also left the game with a head injury.
The Galaxy fail to gain ground on the Rapids and FC Dallas who are ahead of them in the standings. With only 11 games remaining in the regular season, the Galaxy and coach Bruce Arena may want to add a bit of urgency into their game.
It’s not that the Galaxy played bad, they actually played quite well. The worrying part is that the players and Bruce continue to say they are the better team and yet they are winless in their last four games in all competitions.
The Galaxy once again fell behind first for the fifth time in the last six games. Shkelzen Gashi’s goal in the 51st minute was absolutely unstoppable. However, there is no excuse for the Galaxy not scoring on a plethora of first half chances. The Galaxy should have never been in that situation in the first place.
It’s a worrying trend after Giovani dos Santos failed to convert chances against New York Red Bulls on Sunday, Alan Gordon and Mike Magee followed suit against FC Dallas on Wednesday, and Sebastian Lletget, Gyasi Zardes and Gio dos Santos rounded out a week of misses against the Rapids on Saturday.
The Galaxy did well to up the tempo and get back in to the game through Daniel Steres in the 62nd minute and nearly nicked the victory in the end. It wasn’t to be as the poor finishing, the Rapids defense, and superb goalkeeping by Tim Howard frustrated the home side all night.
Player of the Match (Joint)
Steven Gerrard: The Galaxy star midfielder was everywhere for the offense creating 8 chances for his team while also compiling a team high 95 touches. Not bad for the 36 year old as he added his 11th assist of the season.
Tim Howard: The Rapids net-minder reminded everyone how special of a player he really is. Making five saves on the night with a few being of the spectacular fashion. It is the goalkeepers job to stop shots, but Howard was on fine form and stopped nearly everything the Galaxy threw his way.
Looking Ahead: Colorado Rapids
Coach Pablo Mastroeni has his team right where he wants them at this point in the season; in the thick of things. After the game Mastroeni said, “…the effort from Kevin Doyle up top all the way through the midfield and the backline against what is, obviously, the best attack in the league, the most potent attack in the league and for the guys to really put in a performance like this away from home speaks volumes of the type of the commitment they have towards one another. And more importantly to keep adding points and to keep making a run here.”
The Rapids are only three points behind FC Dallas for the top spot in the league and have two games in hand on their opponents.
There was no Marco Pappa appearance Saturday night, which was a bit surprising considering how well he played in their previous two meetings this year. Pappa has now only featured for six minutes in the last two contests. With the acquisition of Sebastien Le Toux from Philadelphia Union, one has to wonder what Pappa’s role on the team is now, and if he will continue to get meaningful minutes.
Mastroeni summed it all up perfectly, “We have to grind every weekend to get where we are. Nothing comes easy, nothing is taken for granted, and we’re extremely pleased with the result.”
Looking Ahead: LA Galaxy
Bruce Arena, also known as captain obvious, “Story of the game was we didn’t finish our chances.” More like the story of the week! For those fans who had to endure this week, there was a clinic on how to miss opportunities put on by the Galaxy.
Arena also mentioned, “I think our entire team had a good night tonight.” Well, maybe not everyone. Zardes and Gio went the full 90 minutes; combined they had three shots on goal and ZERO chances created for others.
— OptaJack (@OptaJack) August 14, 2016
A striker’s job is to score goals, and when you can’t do that, you are creating chances for others. The striker pair did neither. Which begs the question, when is Robbie Keane coming back? “Very good. If I’m not mistaken” Arena speaking on Keane playing next week. “And if I’m not mistaken, I think he’s eligible to play tomorrow. He trained on Thursday and Friday, but he wasn’t yet through the required protocol.”
If the struggles in front of goal weren’t worrisome enough, goalkeeper Brian Rowe went down after a nasty collision between him and Nigel de Jong as Rowe came out to collect a cross. The Galaxy have also failed to keep a clean sheet since the 15th of July in a 1-0 victory over last place Houston Dynamo.
It’s up in the air how long Rowe will be out of the line-up as he goes through the concussion protocol. Rowe was clearly knocked out on the field and was dazed for several minutes before leaving the field with a gash on the head that required staples after the match.
Jelle Van Damme said what most Galaxy fans are thinking “It’s been a tough week for the team.”
Next week the Galaxy have three games in a week again. With the uncertainty of Rowe and the inconsistency in front of the goal, the Galaxy must ‘handle with care’ their chances to win the Supporters Shield.
Colorado Rapids vs Orlando City, MLS Regular Season. Saturday, August 20th, 6:00 P.M. Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.
LA Galaxy vs New York City FC, MLS Regular Season. Saturday August 20th, 12:00 P.M. Yankee Stadium.