Los Angeles – The Los Angeles Galaxy continues to do their best Dwayne Johnson impersonation by reaching new lows in hitting rock bottom. Their 1-0 home loss to Charlotte FC on Saturday, May 27, 2023, piled more MLS misery on LA and proved rock bottom is a moving line in the sand for this team.
Now firmly in last place in the league, they fell to their ninth defeat in 14 games. They lost club captain Javier “Chicharito” Hernández to the first red card in his career in the 85-minute, which means he’ll be unavailable for the Galaxy’s midweek game against RSL. And the players were called out by supporter group, Angel City Brigade, post-match as they went over to acknowledge them in a confrontation that looked heated on video, but which Head Coach Greg Vanney described as a “cordial conversation, to be fair.” After the high of a 2-0 U.S. Open Cup win over LAFC during the week, the Galaxy fell right back to earth and experienced more MLS misery.
LA Galaxy Post Match
— LA Galaxy (@LAGalaxy) May 28, 2023
Chances Wasted, Again, Again
It may seem like a broken record. All year, the Galaxy has done well to dominate possession, but they haven’t created many chances. When they do, they don’t put those chances away. Against Charlotte, it was more of the same.
There were numerous points in the first half of this match where the Galaxy had numerical superiority while on the attack, only to play the wrong ball and kill the movement. When Galaxy players didn’t lose the ball, they would dribble into traffic and force a bad pass.
A sequence in the first half shows this. With a streaking Chicharito running down the middle, Tyler Boyd received a ball wide on the right wing. On a two-on-one break, Boyd had only to play the cross low and driven cross across the face of goal to Chicharito. Instead, Boyd played an over-hit cross that was much too high to control, and the play ended. Toward the end of the half, the Galaxy had a farcical sequence in front of goal, which seemed more slapstick than soccer. Again with an advantage in numbers, they managed to waste an open net and a chance to grab the lead. It was indicative of the Galaxy’s attacking display in the game and over the season.
“At the end of the day, this game is about taking your chances when you have chances. And, we certainly had some. We didn’t take them. And, we just didn’t take them well. At all. It wasn’t a matter of we didn’t take them. We just didn’t take them well at all,” Vanney said of the wasted chances in a post-match presser. Later, he would go on to say the Galaxy should have won the game, save for the wastefulness.
“Which, again, tonight, we had chances to score. We had chances to put ourselves ahead of the game. We had chances to win the game.”
One Is Enough
Of course, when a team isn’t scoring, it puts massive pressure on a defense. Any mistakes become compounded and conceding a goal becomes an emergency. With pressure mounting and numerous chances having gone begging for LA, Charlotte was able to peg them back for a corner kick.
New Charlotte signing Justin Meram’s corner was played into a dangerous area and went through Boyd and Chicharito. Raheem Edwards fell asleep at the back post and allowed Karol Swiderski to poke the ball home from close range for the 1-0 Crown lead in the 73-minute. Despite the Galaxy pouring everything forward, which culminated in a dizzying Riqui Puig run that narrowly missed, they were unable to find the tie. The 1-0 loss gives the Galaxy a 3-4-1 record at home this season.
Galaxy midfielder Mark Delgado blames the team’s lack of focus for the slide. “I would say we’re not all there just from start to finish. As you can see, we can play a lot of the game, and there’s a lot of the game that we turn off or force things,” Delgado explained of his team’s performance.
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) May 28, 2023
Endline Cordial Conversations
Following the loss, Galaxy players went over to acknowledge the team’s only remaining supporter group, Angel City Brigade. The ACB met them with chants of “We want better,” and “We deserve better.” To Vanney and the players’ credit, they stood there and took it and listened to the fans’ concerns.
When asked post-game, flanked by Club President Chris Klein in an apparent show of support, Vanney claimed the conversation was cordial. “It was a cordial conversation, to be fair. They expect more. They want more from the group. But, it was kind of back and forth, just about, well… about the same things.”
When asked if there was any resolution to the talks, Vanney attempted a conciliatory posture, rather than the defiant mood which saw him call the Klein Out boycott by supporters, “noise.”
“Yeah. It was fine. I mean, at the end of the day, when you walk away from there, once again, it’s a reiteration of we’re all on the same team. We all want the same thing. When we walked away, they started chanting ‘L-A Galaxy,” Vanney said of how the talks ended.
And while things might have ended pleasantly enough in last night’s conversation between players and the ACB, the reality is, there is very little that is going right for the Galaxy at the moment. Their league form gives no one confidence that they’ll be able to go to Real Salt Lake on Wednesday and pick up a win. If the Galaxy can’t find a victory, it’ll mean more MLS misery for LA.
— Darryl Satcher (@DarrylSatcher) May 28, 2023
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