Dos Santos Goal Helps LA Galaxy Draw Fire 2-2

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BRIDGEVIEW, IL (August 24, 2016) – The scoreline wasn’t pretty and neither was the game. In the LA Galaxy‘s second Eastern Conference road game in five days, they drew the Chicago Fire 2-2. The team played poorly through much of the second half, but a 69th minute Giovani dos Santos goal rescued a point.

Dos Santos Goal Helps LA Galaxy Draw Fire 2-2

Head coach Bruce Arena‘s side did some shuffling from last game, having played on Saturday. Robbie Keane was not in the 18 and Giovani dos Santos was on the bench. Jeff Larentowicz and Baggio Husidic started as the holding midfielders in a 4-2-3-1. Mike Magee started at the No. 10 role with Gyasi Zardes as the center forward. Dave Romney made a rare start at left back in place of Ashley Cole.

Fire head coach Veljko Paunović started mostly a first team. David Accam started at left midfield opposite Arturo Alvarez. Recently acquired Luis Solignac started at center forward. MLS rookies Jonathan Campbell and Brandon Vincent anchored the back line.

The Galaxy got off to a good start despite the secondary line up. Chicago came out fairly flat, giving the Galaxy the lion’s share of the possession. LA was able to get numbers forward in and around the box. The three man attaching midfield of Magee, Sebastian Lletget, and Emmanuel Boateng were able to create chances for each other.

LA’s first good chance came in the 21st minute. Lletget maneuvered past a defender into the box and took a shot that was deflected. The deflection fell to Magee, who fired the ball point blank on goalkeeper Sean Johnson. Johnson was out of position having reacted to Lletget’s attempt, but was able to make a palm save.

The match opened up after that with Chicago getting some counter attacking opportunities through Accam. The Galaxy would ultimately find the back of the net in the 31st minute. Center back Jelle Van Damme intercepted a ball in the midfield and made a run forward. The ball got to Magee on the wing who chipped it into the box towards Van Damme and Lletget. The ball took a deflection and fell right to Zardes. Zardes tried a half volley and found the back of the net.

What followed was a 10 minute defensive collapse by the Galaxy and opportunism by the Fire. Accam nearly scored on a curling shot that hit the post. Alvarez scored in the 34th minute off a broken play and a deflected Michael de Leeuw shot. There appeared by a foul, but referee Jose Carlos Rivero played advantage. The Galaxy back line appeared to stop playing with an anticipated whistle.

Just four minutes later, Van Damme was called for taking down Accam in the box without getting the ball. Accam converted the PK and the half ended 2-1.

The second half started with the Galaxy disoriented. Chicago chose to sit deep, but their counter attack was excellent. Accam, Alvarez, and De Leeuw used their speed and width to go at the Galaxy back line with their midfield pushed forward. They forced goalkeeper Clement Diop into making several big saves.

Solignac nearly scored in the 53rd minute. Matt Polster sent a long ball to Accam. Accm and Solignac sped forward. Dip came off his line and out of the box. Accam rounded the keeper, leaving two Galaxy defenders against him and Solignac. He got the ball to the striker with an open net, but Solignac somehow skied it into the crowd.

Needing a spark, Arena subbed on Dos Santos and Alan Gordon. They would create a spark in the 69th minute. Gordon got on the run in the box and squared the ball in front of the net. Dos Santos was in the area and attacked the ball, roofing it into the net with the outside of his left foot.

The two sides traded chances in the final 20 minutes of the match, but neither could score. The Galaxy used their build up play and numbers to create chances. Chicago continued to counter, getting into open space with their speed. Despite several good looks, no one could finish.

The match ended in a 2-2 draw.

The LA Galaxy haven’t won in their last six games (all competitions). Even when they’ve had a better lineup on paper, they’ve gotten outshot. This is true despite their possession numbers. A rotating lineup isn’t helping the club build consistently good play either. This team needs their big players to step up in lead. More importantly, they need a win.