Talk about two teams who can look great one week and terrible the next.
The Los Angeles Galaxy looked like a pub team in losing to Toronto a week ago, but took the field at Home Depot and rattled off three unanswered goals against a Rapids team that had looked so impressive a week earlier. It shouldn’t have come as that much of a surprise considering the Rapids’ inability to put together two straight good performances.
SBI Correspondents Nathan Henderson-James and Craig de Aragon watched the action on Saturday and shared their thoughts with us:
Galaxy rebound with an impressive effort vs. Rapids
By NATHAN HENDERSON-JAMES
What I love about MLS is the fact any team can play like complete and utter pig slop one week and then come back and look like an actual real life professional futbol team the next. Witness the Los Angeles Galaxy.
Last week they wandered around BMO Field like a bunch of lost and befuddled North Korean tourists. On Saturday night they pushed the Colorado Rapids, winner of the previous two against the Galaxy (MLS and US Open Cup games), around the field at will for 75 minutes. Though their reluctance to kill the game off over the last 15 minutes gave fans like me a fit of both frustration and heart palpitations, overall the G’s looked a lot more like the team that demolished Chivas USA and FD Dallas rather than the plodders who were embarrassed in Colorado and Toronto.
Last year I was very down on Edson Buddle, but this year, free of injuries and the recipient of the play of David Beckham and Landon Donovan, he is once again an attacking threat. But I’m still not impressed with Alan Gordon. Red carded in the dying minutes of the first half, his absence in the second half really opened up a lot of space for the rest of the Galaxy offense (Colorado going to three in the back also helped).
And congratulations to Ely Allen for scoring his first MLS goal. It was a clinical piece of finishing on the end of a great run. This is encouraging play for the rookie, who has often looked lost over on the left side.
But what is the future for this alternately exhilarating and frustrating team? I have no clue. They have scored 25 goals this year, tops in the league. And they’ve let in 21, second worst in the league. In eight of 11 games they’ve scored two or more goals and have two games of five goals each.
And with Franklin and Xavier both in the line-up the G’s are 4-0. Xavier is playing extremely well. If he keeps this up, the Galaxy defense will gradually become less porous. And very quietly Sean Franklin continues to make his case for Rookie of the Year.
But without Donovan and Beckham this team plays like a PDL team strung out on smack. Imagine Hollywood United with a roster of former child stars: Danny Bonaduce, Lindsay Lohan, Britney Spears, Tatum O’Neal, Leif Garret, Erin Moran, the entire youth case of Different Strokes, and two more train wrecks of your own choosing.
Upon looking at the international calendar and the MLS calendar I’m feeling a bit of trepidation. Unless something else happens, like the team gelling as a unit or new impact players arriving. Let me just note that Saturday’s bench included Greg Vanney, Joe Franchino, and Ante Jazic. If there was any substance to Tim Leiweke’s promise of help over the summer, there’s some trade bait right there. Though you know how high-priced 30-somethings just fly off the shelf in MLS.
Next week the Galaxy travels north to Oakland to play San Jose (I love MLS where Los Angeles plays in Carson, Dallas plays in Frisco, Chicago plays in Bridgeview, Salt Lake will play in Sandy, and the future Philadelphia might play in Chester) to test themselves again against one of the stouter defenses in the league.
Which team will show up? The one that moves through defenses like a chainsaw through a horror movie cast? Or the one that flops around the field like a blind double amputee looking for a wheelchair? Well, if the team from the first 75 minutes makes the trip to the Bay, then I think it will be the former. If not, bring a first-aid kit for what is sure to be a Class A eye-bleeder.
Inconsistent Rapids leave it too late in loss
By CRAIG de ARAGON
Apparently the Colorado Rapids game shorts did not make the trip out to Los Angeles on Saturday night; and well, neither did the team, at least for 70 minutes and ended up coming short, losing 3-2.
Everything felt weird about this game. My dinner didn’t taste right, the couch wasn’t as comfy as usual, Preston Burpo was wearing capris and the Rapids had royal blue shorts on. The weirdness didn’t stop there; the start of the broadcast showed the announcers in front of a green screen with the image behind them being an overhead view that made them look like they were floating. One aside, we all know you’re not in Los Angeles, don’t try to hide it, just show yourselves in the studio and get after it. All night it was an odd struggle to conceal that the broadcast team wasn’t actually at the Home Depot Center. Not to mention the first 5 minutes the camera was as bumpy as if Dad was holding it on Christmas morning making it so that the announcers couldn’t see who was on the field. Making matters worse was they mispronounced the ones that they did see.
I’m not big on auras, energy or any other of that hippie stuff, but something just wasn’t right. To have that gut feeling and then to see the Rapids give up an early goal in the first 5 minutes made this game look like it was shaping up to be a forgettable one. One that I was glad was on so late in the evening so that no one would be awake to watch.
It’s hard to believe that something as simple and inconsequential as shorts would have such an effect on the game, but I think that’s what I’ll blame this loss on. The Rapids were forced to wear Chivas’ shorts, shorts of a team that had just been shut out a few days before. They looked unmatched, like a 9 year old that was just given the reigns to their closet. The player’s attitudes looked liked they might have been affected by the unpleasing aesthetics that they were asked to display.
Have you ever put a sweater on a dog? If you have then you know after the initial fight and obligatory display of disapproval, they finally give in and let you put it on. Once they do, they kind of mope around for a while with a look of shame on their face. Their gait is slower; they drag their head, and generally look embarrassed. That’s what the Rapids looked like for 70 minutes. It was only until the Rapids’ shameless chihuahua Omar Cummings came into the game with no qualms about being dressed in a proverbial argyle sweater, that the Rapids came to life.
The story was the same as it has been in most of the Rapids losses…get down early, battle late and come up just short in the end. Through these losses I have been pretty lenient and pretty supportive of Fernando Clavijo’s managerial decisions, but something has to be done so that the boys don’t wait until the game is too far gone to play well. The talent is there, the scoring is there, but alternating wins and losses doesn’t cut it anymore. This week I’ll cut them a little slack, you know, the blue shorts…but I’m running out of things to blame the losses on.