Sigi Schmidt: LA Galaxy “close off” LAFC in midfield, but final pass still missing

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Editorial (August 25, 2018) – The LA Galaxy drew 1-1 last night in the final regular season match of El Trafico, their derby with MLS expansion side Los Angeles FC. Coming into the game, they were on a terrible run of form but did some good things. Head Coach Sigi Schmidt things his team made progress.

Sigi Schmidt: LA Galaxy “close off” LAFC in midfield, but final pass still missing

Coming into this derby, the two teams were headed in opposite directions. The Galaxy had had several disappointing draws and suffered a historic loss last Saturday at Seattle Sounders FC with several starters missing. LAFC on the other had won two games in a row.

The Galaxy desperately needed an improved performance and a good result.

“Well, I thought we played a lot better this week than we did last week in Seattle for sure. Defensively, we shored some things up,” said Sigi Schmidt.

“We just got closer to people. We closed people off. We did a better job of communicating and rotating. They have a midfield that does a lot of rotating and we did a better job of stepping up and rotating there. Sebastian Lletget did a good job of pressing high and early at times, so that helped our defense. We were more organized. Our wide players got up more. Ashley got forward more than Pontius, we’d like to see Pontius get forward more naturally and that’s something we continue to work on.”

The Galaxy clamped down in the midfield. The marking and gap control was much better. The defenders (a five-man backline at times) kept things simple, clearing the ball when in doubt and swarming to prevent LAFC from moving it quickly. They won possession and moved the ball upfield without hesitation.

While they played Route 1 soccer for long stretches to Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Ola Kamara. They outpassed the visitors in the attacking half, final third, and had more crosses. Their conversion rates were lower as the midfielders were unable to connect enough times.

“I think everything was good until we came to their box. The last pass was not good at all. This game we could win easy, it was an easy game. We were much better than them and we had good chances but the last pass was totally opposite of what it should be and we could have scored three or four goals easily,” said Ibrahimovic.

The Galaxy were missing players in the midfield. Sebastian Lletget put in a decent shift, but Romain Alessandrini was missed in the attack.

“I thought we could’ve done a better job, including myself; I don’t know if I was tired or fatigued… I definitely think it’s a shame they got the penalty, it was a clear penalty, but I thought we had them until that point,” Lletget said.

Giovani and Jonathan dos Santos are also out with injury. While both have been maligned by fans and pundits this season, they’re both better than Servando Carassco and could have helped connect one of those final passes.

With seven games left, Sigi Schmidt and his team travel to Real Salt Lake next weekend. They’ll need to maintain their level defensively and complete a few more final passes to get a win and ultimately make the playoffs.

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