Bruce Arena’s Los Angeles Galaxy have to come to terms with reality: they’re not that good.
They’re not that good at being consistent with their play and themselves in general. They are very proficient at playing the type of gong show football that defines and destroys seasons in the course of 90 minutes. Sunday’s unfortunate 1-0 defeat against the Houston Dynamo highlighted the issues surrounding the Galaxy and their style of play.
It’s never good to head into a road trip on a losing note. And you thought April was going to be a difficult month for the Galaxy…well, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet! Here are 6 Things We Learned from a miss-the-plot outing for the Galaxy against the Houston Dynamo.
1. Experience prevails over youth
Bruce Arena thought he could take one roll of the dice in bringing in the young blood against Dominic Kinnear’s Dynamo. He thought that Jose Villareal and Charlie Rugg up top, along with Greg Cochrane in the back could yield similar results as seen in their 2-0 victory over Real Salt Lake.
This Houston backline of Kofi Sakodie, Bobby Boswell, Jermaine Taylor and Corey Ashe made Villareal and Rugg look like third-division dropouts on Sunday. In this match, veteran experience wo the day for Houston. Gyasi Zardes came into the game as hype, and left the game as just that: hype. That’s what veteran experience can do to rookies.
2. Andrew Driver makes his name known
Another player from Houston with veteran experience is Andrew Driver, who is currently on loan from Heart of Midlothian. His 56th-minute strike proved to be all the difference. This is a player that Houston seriously needs to buy his rights from. Driver knows how to finish, period. The View from Avalon has been talking about Giles Barnes and what he can do as a forward, but you also have to talk about Driver. If they can secure him to a long-term contract, the rest of the MLS Eastern Conference will have to watch their back…No. 20 is coming.
3. Landon Donovan has no business doing penalty kicks
It’s a question that must be asked. Why is Landon Donovan, a player clearly out of form even after a few games, still taking penalty kicks? A straightforward conversion in the first half ends up being saved by Tally Hall. The next time Landon tries a PK…it’s with the reserves. And only the reserves. He has no business doing this with the first team.
4. Gong show football will doom this LA team
The second half was the epitome of everything that has gone wrong this season for the Galaxy. Disconnected passes. Easy interceptions by the opposition. Inacurrate corners. Poor defending on the counter. And a lack of team speed. When you combine all this: you have gong show football: a type of play so subpar it deserves to be USASA-level. The Dynamo took Los Angeles out of their game on Sunday. This leads to the fifth thing we learned.
5. Los Angeles dominates the statistics for naught
The Galaxy dominated a number of statistics, including attempts on goal (19 to 14), corner kicks (12 to six), open play crosses (32 to 17), duels won (62 to 49), duels won percentages (55 percent to 44 percent), passing accuracy (75 percent to 66 percent) and possession (59.3 percent to 40.7 percent). However, that does not mean anything if you can’t get the ball in the net. This is the great thing about gong show football: you can dominate the stats and still lose the game. That, I believe, is it’s most defining attribute.
6. Los Angeles’s DPs need to be healthy
The one reason why Los Angeles lost this game is because Robbie Keane did not make the roster. His strained calf is bothering him significantly. Los Angeles are heading on a road trip this week, and they have stops against Vancouver, Philadelphia and New York. If Keane can’t get back to match fitness, these games are more than likely going to end in defeats.
The designated players for the Los Angeles Galaxy must be fit. No exceptions, no excuses, no questions asked. If you’re not fit to play in Major League Soccer, you have no business playing in Major League Soccer. The good news is, the third DP will be revealed soon, and that player’s contributions can’t come any sooner, especially with the Galaxy falling further and further behing off the pace set by FC Dallas.