Thursday, March 15, 2012

Collective Failure For Galaxy

The LA Galaxy's CONCACAF Champions League run ended prematurely.

No battles with Santos Laguna or any other Mexican club. No deep run into this tournament. No captivating series of games coming up. Nothing now but league play.

The Galaxy lost to Toronto FC by 2-1 on Wednesday in Carson and dropped the series by a 4-3 aggregate. Toronto FC moves on while the Galaxy now must sift through the mess left behind by this unexpected defeat.

What went wrong? Plenty. The defense failed to execute. Robbie Keane was unable to put away one of two clear chances he had inside the penalty area. Other players were unable to generate their own scoring chances. In fact, if it wasn't for former Galaxy defender Ty Harden sliding and knocking a ball in the back of his own net, Toronto FC may have walked away with a clean sheet.

A team with David Beckham, Landon Donovan, Edson Buddle and Robbie Keane is not supposed to get shut out, right? At least, isn't that expected, that that quartet will score goals by the boatload?

Goals of any kind did not happen Wednesday and frankly haven't happened enough in the early going. The Galaxy have scored four goals in three games, a decent output, but clearly more is expected from the attack. The punchless attack, particularly on Wednesday, has now cost the Galaxy a semifinals berth.

Defensively the team has confirmed its worst fears - Omar Gonzalez's loss will be devastating. The MLS Defender of the Year left a huge hole in defense and so far, the team has not come close to filling it. Seven goals allowed in three games is nowhere near the level of stinginess the Galaxy enjoyed a year ago. There were no three-game stretches that saw the Galaxy allow seven goals in 2011.

This Galaxy team was not just built to win trophies but rather to do so in style. These are attention-grabbing players who put fans in the seat just as much as they put balls in the back of the net. For them to go out in the quarterfinal round, to an MLS club who has never made the playoffs no doubt, is a major disappointment.

And just as they all trumpeted after MLS Cup 2011 that everyone was responsible for that triumph, everyone is responsible for this failure, from the coaching staff down to the last player on the field.


Dschnider said...

I agree with all that, but it seems to me the biggest factor was fatigue. Buddie could barely even run at the end of the match. I blame Arena for not takin the bold step of resting starters against RSL. But as disappointed a I am by this loss, I don't think it signals a doomed season. With a little rest and more time playing together these guys will be a potent force.

Anonymous said...

the biggest issues is they should have played a reserve team vs rsl

East River said...

I agree at least partially anyway. I think Arena was in a hard place, he could loose the MLS home opener or disrepect his home fans but fielding a week team. That said Arena really should done just that. Credit to TFC though they fought hard and did what was necessary to advance.