Scoring Woes Lead to LA’s HeartbreakThe cruelty of the beautiful game in full display for LA's 1-0 loss to Real Salt Lake
by Roy Rosell | Tuesday, March 11, 2014
CARSON, Calif. – Saturday March 8, 2014, was the day that MLS fans have been desperately craving for the past 3 months.
During the offseason months, the die hard fans would spend their days scouring every trade rumor site and getting way too excited about any mention of a player being signed by their beloved team. Glued to their computer screens for every practice game just to catch a glimpse of what their team might look like for the new season. More than anything else, they do whatever they can to fill that emptiness inside that only the start of the MLS season can rectify.
The sacred day started with a last minute goal to send nearly 40,000 in to a frenzy of riotous mayhem at CenturyLink field. Shortly thereafter, DCU manager Ben Olsen strengthened the case for his sacking with a 3-0 decision at RFK; Vancouver painted a masterpiece in front of a capacity crowd at BC Place; the Texas teams gave their fans their money's worth with highly entertaining victories at home; and Gaston Fernandez the Argentine blondie sent Portland in to complete and utter pandemonium with a last second header to bring them level.
Then came the moment LA had been licking their chops over for the past 3 months – the opportunity to regain their shattered pride against the team who stripped them of it in the 2013 Western Conference semi final. LA fans came out in full force to support, filling the Stub Hub Center to the brink in eager anticipation to see their newly revamped Galaxy in action for the first time in much too long.
At the end of the day, LA fans not only witnessed the new squad in action, but also experienced something they hadn't signed up for - the cruelty of the beautiful game in full display at the StubHub Center.
If someone asks me to summarize Saturday's game vs. RSL in 5 seconds or less, I wouldn't need to say a word. All I'd need to do is pull out my phone and make them watch Nick Rimando's last minute penalty save off of Robbie Keane's poorly executed kick. Those 5 seconds perfectly encapsulate 93 minutes of frustratingly abysmal finishing, phenomenal goal keeping, and a whole lot of "how in the world did he miss that?"
At the game, I found myself mumbling, "that was easier to score than to miss ..." on multiple occasions throughout the game. But aside from the invisible forcefield that didn't allow the Galaxy to score all game, the word that captures the essence of the Galaxy's performance Saturday night is powerful.
It was a complete display of dominance from start to finish from LA. The Galaxy played in such a way that if they just had their scoring touch, they would have been 5 to 0 with relative ease. Gyasi Zardes showed tremendous improvement from last year, displaying a maturity, touch, and awareness that we didn't see from him in his rookie year. Samuel showed signs of technical brilliance, immaturity, and with some polishing, could be a potent threat for LA's attack corps this season. Keane and Landon Donovan both showed dominance on the ball and a tremendous ability to control the game, even if they messed up consistently. Best of all, for the first time in several years, LA has game changing options off the bench, from which Ishizaki and Friend came in flying, providing dangerous opportunities that quite nearly put them level on several occasions.
If one could just look past the scoreboard and analyze the on field product, it is as clear as day that if LA figures out their scoring touch, they could, and very well should be champions. But "figuring out their scoring touch," as we have learned from watching Jozy Altidore all season in Sunderland, is not as easy as it sounds and will require a lot more than just hoping things turn around.
NEXT UP: March 12 – CCL: LA Galaxy vs. Tijuana Xolos, StubHub Center, Carson, Calif. 10 p.m. EST, FOX Soccer Plus.