COMMERCE CITY, CO – The Los Angeles Galaxy loses third straight game as they gave up a goal on either side of the half to lose to the Colorado Rapids 2-0 away from home Saturday night, their third loss in a row.
It means the Galaxy’s defensive trials continue, having now given up the first goal in nine of their last 12 matches, and have a 1-8-1 record when conceding first. They’ve now only won one match in the last seven attempts in the last month, and have a losing record for the first time all season.
L.A. Galaxy loses third straight to Colorado away 2-0
Colorado was winless in six matches themselves and fourth from last place, but it was the home side who came out and imposed their game plan.
Seemingly having done their homework on the Galaxy’s defensive deficiencies, their simple strategy of direct long balls over the top of the defense for their attackers to run onto, gave Los Angeles fits. It worked to perfection and earned the Rapids the win.
“We weren’t set and then moving together as a group and closing off and supporting each other. I just felt like we were a step behind it and just too far apart to help each other,” Los Angeles Galaxy Head Coach Greg Vanney confessed.
L.A. Galaxy defender Derrick Williams caused a bit of controversy by calling out his team’s effort and cohesion post-game in a sideline interview. The defender sees a disconnect between personal and the team aims that the club works on in training all week.
“We’re not playing as a team. The manager gives us clear instructions, and there are times when people don’t want to do that. Some people have their own agendas,” a frustrated Williams expressed, shaking his head
“I feel for the staff because they put so much work in and then when it comes to the game, some people just have their own agendas. It’s frustrating, and we can’t just keep going on like this because it’s not good enough, and we’re sick of losing. It’s just not good enough.”
A man who certainly had an agenda was Rapids Winger Jonathan Lewis. He was a menace for the Galaxy defense all evening, and his good work on the left side of the box was the catalyst for Colorado’s attack.
The winger’s pace forced Julian Araujo to stay put defensively, where he couldn’t join the Galaxy attack as much as he would like. In the 20th minute, Lewis finally beat Araujo to set up the Colorado lead.
Lewis looms large
Having received a long ball in transition behind the entire Galaxy defense and beating Araujo, Lewis held the ball up on the left wing and had enough time to pick his head up. He spotted a trailing Diego Rubio at the top of the 18-yard-box, who received the pass and had enough time to set himself for a low-driven shot to the back of Galaxy goalkeeper Jonathan Bond’s net for the 1-0 lead. Both players had an inexcusable amount of times to set themselves inside the Galaxy box.
Diego Rubio with the cool finish from outside the box! pic.twitter.com/ZOJxnlqFx7
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) July 17, 2022
Four minutes later, the Galaxy caught a huge break when Colorado had a goal (perhaps?) incorrectly ruled out thanks to VAR.
An unmarked and streaking Gyasi Zardes got through the entire Galaxy defense to head home a thumping goal. Faced with the prospect of conceding back-to-back goals in three straight games, the Galaxy got lucky as the goal was called back for offside.
Catching and not taking the breaks
Despite another poor start, the Galaxy did have opportunities to tie the game. Although the Rapids looked much more dangerous throughout, it was the third straight game with more shots than their opponents for the Galaxy. Two great Kévin Cabral chances that the French forward did poorly with, and a fantastic reaction save off the line by William “Chilly Willy” Yarbrough, saw the Galaxy go into the half trailing 1-0.
The Galaxy had probably their best chance to even the match in the 73rd minute. Douglas Costa played a weighted outside foot pass to a streaking Daniel Aguirre on the left wing. The young midfielder put in a cross right across the goal line that no one was home to put into the back of the net.
Two minutes later, the Rapids would make L.A. rue their missed chances. Another defensive mistake, this time by returning left-back Chase Gasper, caused the letdown and Lewis was at the heart again.
Lewis capitalizes as Galaxy loses third straight game
The winger’s awareness allowed him to intercept Gaspar’s lazy back pass and beat Nick DePuy for pace on the right side. Having nowhere to go but the byline, Lewis pulled off a sumptuous back heel to former Galaxy man Gyasi Zardes for his second assist of the night. Zardes collected the ball in stride and fired home, while Bond could only watch his strike settle into the bottom left of the net to make it 2-0.
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) July 17, 2022
There would be no ruling this Zardes goal out, and the game would finish 2-0 without the Galaxy’s usual late flurry of trying to get back into the game.
They are now winless against Colorado in the last 8 matches and haven’t won in the Mile High City since June 21, 2017.
Vanney gave his thoughts postgame on the performance.
“We just got disconnected as a group. And then I felt like our movement… We weren’t very dynamic on the night. Things were just a little slow and disjointed, and they were able to play through us and win some of those duels. I thought they were quicker than us in midfield, shiftier a little bit in midfield and I thought Gyasi [Zardes] was a handful of just holding up balls and laying them off to people. We didn’t deal with that great.”
Indeed, the Galaxy did not deal with Zardes or Lewis well. Between them, they had six of the 10 Rapids’ shots on goal, and each should have added another goal on the evening. Zardes in particular will still be wondering why his first-half strike didn’t count.
The two goals scored by Colorado on Saturday night now make 13 goals conceded in the last seven matches since June 18th for Los Angeles; a stark contrast from the paltry six conceded in the season’s opening seven.
The result leaves L.A. in seventh place on 27 points, while a Timbers or Vancouver win could see them end the weekend in eighth place and below the playoff zone for the first time all season.
“No, I’m not happy with where we are at right now. I think we can be much better, I believe in our group very much. I’m very optimistic about our group. I think we have a great group of players that we just need to raise the confidence and raise the consistency level of our group. And if we do, I really believe that, that we are a championship-calibre team, we just need to show it, and it takes all of us,” Veteran midfielder Sacha Kljestan shared.
“It takes all of us stepping up. It takes all of us raising our hands and being accountable in front of the group. And so, the more that we can do that, the more successful we will be. But I’m very optimistic about our team. It might sound crazy with where we are right now and the results in the past five games, but that’s me. And that’s what I believe in.”
The Galaxy will have a chance to make their fans, believers as well, at home next Sunday. They’ll try to correct course against 11-placed Atlanta United and avoid a fourth straight loss. Los Angeles has 14 games to save their season before another Deadline Day disaster. The game kicks off at 9:55 p.m. ET at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California.
Photo Credit: LA Galaxy on July 16, 2022.