After a dour, slow performance by the Los Angeles Galaxy, Dejan Joveljić thought he had saved LA for the second straight week with a 91-minute equalizer to tie the score 1-1 against Real Salt Lake, Saturday in Utah. VAR, however, would have other ideas, as Derrick Williams was judged to be offside and the Galaxy would earn their first loss in five games. Although a bitter pill to swallow, Galaxy Head Coach Greg Vanney was right after the game about the Galaxy “disappointing” in the 1-0 loss.
LA Galaxy “disappointing” in 1-0 loss at RSL
“I thought it was a rather disappointing day for most of it. From an energy level, speed of play level, things like that. I thought it was just a little slow. In the first half, we were playing a little bit underwater. The ball was not moving fast enough,” Vanney explained of his team’s performance in the opening frame.
First Half Troubles
Vanney would also place the blame for the team’s poor start on a bus that picked up the Galaxy late, allowing for little warm-up time.
But for as poor as they were or the tardy bus made them, the Galaxy improved in the second frame, showing much more intensity in the opening minutes. When they were at their best and looked most in control of the game, is when they conceded.
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) April 30, 2022
Coming off a corner kick by Pablo Ruiz, Real Salt Lake Defender Marcelo Silva rose between Galaxy keeper Jonathan Bond and Julian Araujo on 49 minutes to head home. It would be among the only opportunities for RSL, as Silva took full advantage of Bond’s miscue on coming for the cross to score.
The Galaxy would grab control of the game again, but could not find the tying goal. As mentioned previously about the Galaxy’s game so far this season, plenty of possession led nowhere. The final third cried out for a killer final ball that, as yet, no Galaxy player has been able to supply regularly.
Joveljić and Grandsir spark the Galaxy
Vanney would try to change the offense in the 61st minute by bringing on Sacha Kljestan, Samuel Grandsir, and Joveljić.
The two latter players immediately made the Galaxy look dangerous. The way Grandsir and Joveljić transformed the dynamic, will have Galaxy fans get even louder for them to start.
A beautiful back heel layoff pass to Grandsir from Joveljić forced a good save out of RSL keeper Zac MacMath and should have evened the score.
Moments later, deep in injury time, the Galaxy thought they finally got their equalizer through Joveljić.
Raheem Edwards would cross in a perfectly weighted ball in the center of the box for Joveljić, who brought down the ball gracefully with his chest, let it bounce once, and hit it on the half volley into the left corner of MacMath’s goal.
Second half stoppage time equalizer? Not so fast.
Was it offside at the RioT? 👀 pic.twitter.com/MW1tZJkwQn
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) April 30, 2022
VAR gonna VAR
And just when LA.thought they had escaped a dry game in the desert with a point, VAR overturned it for William’s being offside. The fact that Joveljić’s goal didn’t stand will matter little to G’s faithful, who will continue to ask for Joveljić to be included in the Starting XI. The Serbian finished the match tied for a game-high three chances created in only 29 minutes.
Joveljić’s no-goal will leave the Galaxy feeling hard done by a controversial call, but ultimately one that was probably made correctly.
Like Vanney, Midfielder Sacha Kljestan also pointed to first-half troubles as the culprit for the loss.
“I think in the first half, we weren’t really playing the way that we are supposed to be playing, and I think sometimes we’re trying to hit the final pass too early and too often,” Kljestan confessed.
Kljestan made no attempt to defend the poor performance, either. For him, a late bus did not equate to or justify the loss.
“These are excuses if we’re going to talk about altitude or being late to the game, and I don’t like looking for excuses. So maybe we had a slow start to the game today, but ultimately, I think, you know, we did enough in the second half I think to get ourselves back in the game and just unfortunately we weren’t able to score.”
Galaxy fans won’t want excuses either, and based on today’s performance, will keep asking for Joveljić to start alongside Javier “Chicharito” Hernández.
Vanney and Los Angeles have a week to figure out what went wrong in Utah before they travel to Texas to face first-place Austin FC on Sunday.
Photo with Los Angeles Galaxy permission.