LA Galaxy Post Match Talking Points, March 25; Shorthanded Galaxy Draw Again

LA Galaxy Forward Preston Judd Almost Won the Game for LA, but His Shot Hit the Post. (Photo Credit: LA Galaxy)
LA Galaxy Forward Preston Judd almost won the game for LA, but his shot hit the post. (Photo Credit: LA Galaxy)
Los Angeles Galaxy Striker Preston Judd started his first MLS game against the Portland Timbers, which ended in a scoreless draw on Saturday, March 25, 2023. (Photo Credit: LA Galaxy)

Portland – Los Angeles Galaxy fans will have to keep waiting for LA to get their first win in MLS to play after a scoreless away draw against the Portland Timbers on Saturday, March 25, 2023. After almost 70% possession and hitting the post twice, the Galaxy could not score against former goalkeeper David Bingham. Bingham would make sure the Galaxy would leave Rose City with no points and their third straight draw. These LA Galaxy post-match thoughts will recap how they earned the draw that felt like a loss.

LA Galaxy Post Match Against Portland

“I Believe That Children Are the Future”

Preston Judd grew up watching the Galaxy as a boy, so that makes Saturday the culmination of a dream for the 23-year-old. The forward played for Galaxy II over 50 times and scored 30 goals. For this, Judd was rewarded with a roster spot as the Galaxy’s third striker this season. And then thrust into his first MLS start after only four games.

Squad injuries and international duty forced Galaxy Head Coach Greg Vanney into handing Judd, Lucas Calegari, and Jonathan Klinsmann their first MLS starts of the year. In Judd’s case, his composed performance produced a game-high five shots taken.

He almost became an LA Galaxy hero five minutes into that match on one of those shots. The young forward used his body well to muscle out the Portland defense and had the ball fall to him kindly. It found him one on one with Bingham and Judd hit a low left-footed drive that hit the outside of the post and out of play.

It was the kind of moment, Judd will think about again and certainly want back. Despite hitting the post and drawing the match, the debutante seemed upbeat when describing the moment in the LA Galaxy post-match press conference.

“Yeah, so I got the ball in behind, and there was another defender, I think it bounced off a defender and came right to me,” Judd shared. “I saw the keeper was coming out, and I knew I had a good shot at it. I hit it the way I wanted to hit it. It’s just a matter of inches. Hit off the post the wrong way; hits the post, goes on the inside, it’s a goal. It’s a tough bounce, but I know if I get it again, I’ll put it away.”

Judd’s assured showing and that of newly-signed right-back Calegari, who had only a week of training with his teammates, is a welcome sight for Galaxy fans that are bereft of good tidings at the moment. Throw in Klinsmann’s performance, who made a key late save, and Vanney’s three young new starters can be happy with their evening. More time on the pitch under Vanney’s tutelage should help players like Judd and Calegari blossom.

Like Whitney said, “Teach them well and let them lead the way.”

READ MORE: 2023 LA Galaxy Season Preview: Riqui Shoots for MVP

Like Kissing Your Sister

The Galaxy should have won this match even though they were shorthanded. Portland was missing eight starters themselves and gave up 10 goals in the previous three matches before facing LA. So when the Galaxy came out hot in the opening minutes, a goal was surely coming. Only it never did.

LA dominated the opening exchanges and Gaston Brugman thought he had scored an incredible lob from outside the box in the fifth minute. Bingham got his fingertips to the shot and just did enough to tip it over the bar. Tyler Boyd had a shot well-saved a few moments later by the ex-Galaxy man. And while Judd did beat Bingham, he could not beat the post. Riqui Puig was thwarted about 10 minutes later as Bingham pulled off another diving save to push the Catalan’s shot around the post.

But for all the Galaxy’s trying they could not break through. It means LA has only scored two goals through four games. This is good enough for 12th place in the West. Vanney was asked if he was concerned about the lack of goals post-game.

“Yeah, I guess whenever you don’t score, whether it’s the first or second half, it’s a little bit concerning. I would take a step back and look at, again, I don’t think we played great in the first couple of games,” Vanney admitted. “I also think we have a little bit of firepower that is not on the team, inside the team today, and some of those guys have been missing all the games. So you know, yes and no. I’m not overly concerned about it because I know what we are capable of, and I know where we will be once we get — once we fill out the roster.”

But whether it’s through a lack of players or the players not executing, LA seems to be in the same spot through four games now as they were last year. Plenty of possession and little to show for it.

Mate Man and The Kid

Even though the Galaxy attack has only scored two goals this season, there is a silver lining, the defense. Since Jalen Neal’s introduction into the starting lineup, LA has had two shutouts and has only allowed one goal. Since Neal and Martín Cáceres lined up for their first start together against Sporting KC on March 11, the LA has not allowed a goal from open play. Against Portland, Neal was usually dependable.

The Lakewood native ended the match with 71 passes completed (93.4% pass accuracy) and recorded a team-high five clearances. The way the duo has gelled is encouraging for the Galaxy. While the offense isn’t producing goals, the defense isn’t conceding them either.

Defending the Badge

Jonathan Klinsmann takes the honors this week. The Galaxy backup goalkeeper made his first start since 2019 but didn’t miss a beat. While it’s true that he didn’t have much to do, when he was called upon, he saved the Galaxy. With the game opening up in the final moments, Klinsmann made himself big to smother a point-blank shot.

It was a huge save in a crucial moment of the match and Klinsmann was up to it. His ability to perform when it mattered is the only reason the Galaxy is leaving Portland with a point. This is encouraging news since Jonathan Bond will be out for another two-four weeks. This means Klinsmann is sure to start next week when the LA Galaxy takes on the Seattle Sounders at home on April 1, 2023.


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