The Los Angeles Galaxy played some of their best soccer for 78 minutes on Sunday against Sporting Kansas City.
Despite not having starters Jona dos Santos and Derek Williams available because of international team duty and suspension, and Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez ruled out of the match just before kickoff because of a calf problem, the Galaxy controlled large parts of the game.
The attack was free-flowing; they created numerous chances on goal, and newly arrived midfielder Rayan Raveloson instantly fit into the squad while earning rave reviews from his new boss.
— Corner Of The Galaxy (@GalaxyPodcast) July 5, 2021
The last of the Galaxy Frenchmen to arrive, Raveloson instantly brought another dimension and class to the L.A. midfield.
Samuel Grandsir was a nightmare for the SKC defense, causing havoc down the right wing and creating plenty of chances that would have been put away on another day.
The feeling for those first 78 minutes was that the Galaxy would make the pressure tell and finally be rewarded for their good football by scoring a goal.
Only they never did.
Instead, the Galaxy lost the game 2-0 and Defender Sega Coulibaly to injury in the 39th minute.
Sub for the #LAGalaxy
Adam Saldaña replaces Sega Coulibaly pic.twitter.com/bAar9YDlmB
— LA Galaxy (@LAGalaxy) July 5, 2021
The 25-year-old’s injury forced Los Angeles Galaxy Head Coach Greg Vanney into a lineup reshuffle and after introducing midfielder Adam Saldana as Coulibaly’s replacement, moved debutante Raveloson into the back four.
The club also missed the opportunity to jump firmly into second place and make up ground on first-place Seattle, who dropped points earlier in the day to Colorado.
Vanney focused on the positives from the game, however.
“I thought for 78 minutes; it was arguably the best game we’ve played all year. I thought our ball circulation, our bold movements, our positional play, our relationships on the field, our chance creation on the field… I thought it was all outstanding,” Vanney said in his assessment of the Galaxy’s performance. “The part that we missed was putting the ball in the back of the net. The piece where you create so many chances. We have to score because it doesn’t matter how well you play.”
"The Galaxy will be thinking about those chances in the first half…they just couldn't finish them off." @cobijones & @joetutino discuss the key takeaways from tonight's #LAGalaxy performance, injuries, and the standout players vs. SKC. @LAGalaxy pic.twitter.com/r4QRJwX5PD
— Spectrum SportsNet (@SpectrumSN) July 5, 2021
The Galaxy’s inability to put away their chances all game was punished when Sporting took advantage of a Saldana giveaway that Galaxy Keeper Jonathan Bond initially did well to keep out.
Bond could not keep out the rebound, though, and the Galaxy found themselves down 1-0, and with a loss in a game they definitely should have won.
“I think we have to be happy with the performance of the team, but not with the result,” veteran Midfielder Victor Vasquez said of the tough loss.
Veteran Defender Jorge Villafaña echoed his coach and teammate.
“We played better than them, we created more opportunities than them, but unfortunately we couldn’t capitalize on any of them,” Villafaña said in a press conference after the match.
That the Galaxy played better than SKC will have little bearing on the table where only the goals and points matter and though they might be encouraged by the performance, they will be as frustrated as the fans to have left three points on the table.
After all, there are no trophies at the end of the season for most possession, excellent performances, or moral victories and Vanney said as much post-game.
“There is something to take away from the game because we did do a lot of things well over the course of the game, but at the end of the day, we want to win the game. We don’t want to keep talking about moral performance victories.”