Home Galaxy LA Galaxy vs Seattle Sounders: No Puig, No Party; No Harm, No Foul

LA Galaxy vs Seattle Sounders: No Puig, No Party; No Harm, No Foul

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The LA Galaxy earned a point against the Seattle Sounders after traveling to the PNW without some key players.
Neither side seemed capable of igniting this match as it ended in a temperate and goalless draw.

The LA Galaxy are starting to look more like an average soccer team as their blockbuster start to the campaign begins to fade in the memory.

Losing three essential starters prior to last Saturday’s match against the Seattle Sounders always seemed likely to hamper them, but the damp air and sticky turf at Lumen Field made sure that the Galaxy came up short of securing all three points.

Greg Vanney took preventative measures (per Corner of the Galaxy) in leaving Dejan Joveljic (6 goals in 9 appearances) out of the team sheet for the second consecutive match. The thigh injury, which has kept out the in-form striker, gave space for Miguel Berry to start and have another opportunity to show himself to Galaxy supporters. 

Mark Delgado found himself unexpectedly excluded from the trip in adherence to a health and safety protocol that prevented the midfielder from traveling with the team. This allowed Edwin Cerillo to step back into midfield after performing as a center-back in Martin Cáceres’s absence. 

With Delgado unable to step in for the suspended Riqui Puig, Vanney called on Diego Fagundez to perform the “Puig role’, or more aptly, the functions of a creative and play-making number 10. 

It may have been naive to expect a performance that matched the 5-goal thrillers of the first couple of match weeks in quality, considering how many major players were missing for this game. Still, such a sudden drop off in entertainment value sent many Galaxy fans for a loop. 

Greg Vanney’s players must obviously be night owls, as they once again failed to show up during the initial minutes of an earlier kick-off game.

They started slowly in their previous game against Austin FC (Read more in our match recap). The Galaxy lost that match and looked likely to do so again after an unimpressive start in Seattle.

It seemed clear that Greg Vanney instructed his slightly weakened team to err on the side of caution. The available designated players, Joseph Paintsil and Gabriel Pec, often found themselves passing on the opportunity to break into space or take on and potentially beat their man, likely in an attempt to prevent putting Maya Yoshida and the recently returning Jalen Neal into many unnecessary foot races. 

While the Galaxy experienced a significant drop in the overall quality of their play, the Seattle Sounders maintained a similar mediocre standard to what they’ve shown throughout 2024. 

Between them, the Galaxy and the Sounders created 31 shots, but only seven could be classified as on target. The vast majority of that statistic represents half-chances that created about as much excitement as some fans may have expected as soon as they found out Riqui Puig would be unavailable. The action on the pitch became as cold as the wind in the stands with neither side showing much initiative to disrupt the scoreline.

Although the Galaxy’s conservative play probably didn’t earn them any new supporters, they did come away with an important point from a stadium they historically have struggled at.

The point keeps them within the top 3 of the Western Conference as they prepare to return home and host the first-place Real Salt Lake this coming Saturday, May 11th.

A single result separates the Galaxy from their table-topping rivals. Where Los Angeles managed just a draw over the weekend, Real Salt Lake picked up a 1-0 win against Sporting Kansas City. 

For one of the first time in all season, the Galaxy will not be the team with the best form coming into a fixture. With form being an irrelevant factor in many MLS games, this may end up playing in the Galaxy’s favor.

Greg Vanney’s calls for maturity point to a need for a more dominant mentality within his team, highlighting the massive role psychology can play in getting results. The Galaxy’s recent dip in form may lull RSL into a false sense of security, allowing Vanney’s players to exploit a perfectly timed reencounter with form.

Counting on an opponent’s slip-up is not the strategy of champions, so Vanney must prepare his team to secure victory on their own merit. One would hope that he is much more prepared to do so against Salt Lake with his entire squad at his disposal for this upcoming game.

Will reintroducing several key players be enough to see the Galaxy raise their level against the Western Conference’s best team?
Find out after their next match at Dignity Health Sports Park this Saturday at 7:30 PM PST.

PHOTO: Los Angeles Galaxy

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