What’s the LA Galaxy’s Biggest Problem?

After one week into the new season, it still looks like LA still have problems from last year to work out
by Jamie Pham   |   Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Galaxy of Angels – column on Los Angeles Galaxy (LA Galaxy) & the LA soccer scene.

The LA Galaxy started the season last weekend with some new faces but one of the main problems they faced last season still looms and that is finishing. 

With starting attackers, Samuel and Robbie Keane, LA also have wingers Landon Donovan and Gyasi Zardes who tend to tuck in the middle for some extra firing power. Coach Bruce Arena acquired 6’5” Canadian Rob Friend in the offseason as well.

But with all of those options, can the LA Galaxy score? 

LA lost to Real Salt Lake 1-0 in its 1st game of the 2014 season. Keane had a chance to tie it in second half stoppage time with a penalty kick but RSL’s super star goalkeeper, Nick Rimando, denied the Irishman and the Galaxy of a point.

However, that wasn’t Keane’s only miss of the night. He had a few chances to score including a shot that went passed Rimando in the first half that rattled off the woodwork.

The team had 27 shots (9 on goal) but couldn't find the back of the net while RSL had 9 shots (6 on goal). Joel Plata scored the eventual game winner in the 80th minute amid LA’s defensive breakdown. 

Keane’s woes were still evident during the first leg of the CONCACAF Champions League last Tuesday against Club Tijuana. During the 11th minute, Sarvas played a ball over the top to Keane in the penalty box but Keane misplayed his first touch letting it get away. Luckily for him and the Galaxy, Samuel was in the right place at the right time as he was there to put the ball passed Cirilo Saucedo.

Things were a little different during the 2nd leg as LA was torched for 3 goals in the first half with 2 coming in the opening 10 minutes. The Xolos pressed the Galaxy and went at defenders Omar Gonzalez and Leonardo for most of the half keeping the Galaxy on their heels. Tijuana dropped back more on defense towards the end of the first half allowing the Galaxy to attack but could not come up with a goal. 

LA looked strong in the second half when they scored in the 46th minute. The goal involved all 3 designated players when Gonzalez headed Donovan’s free kick to Keane who slid the ball past Saucedo.

It looked like it was over when Richard Ruiz scored for Tijuana in the 82nd minute but Donovan and Keane hooked up again 3 minutes later instilling hope for all LA fans. 

They continued to press but could not find another goal as they were knocked out for the third consecutive year. 

It seems like LA should have made better uses of their set pieces as they had Friend, Leonardo, and Gonzalez as options in the box. Leonardo made 2 defensive mistakes that led to 2 goals for Club Tijuana. Zardes also didn’t look that sharp in the game as he lost the ball on multiple possessions and was subbed out in the 69th minute.

Yes, it is still early in the season and things might change for the regular season but we will have to wait and see. Well, they have to get better if the LA Galaxy wants to return to championship form.

NEXT UP: March 22 – Real Salt Lake v LA Galaxy, Rio Tinto Stadium, Sandy, Utah, 4 p.m. EST, NBCSN.

Jamie PHAM

Pasadena City College
Club Domestic:
LA Galaxy
Club Foreign:
Former tour manager turned sports blogger, Jamie spends loads of time reviewing the Los Angeles sports scene and is a big MLS and USMNT supporter.