Cheers turned to yawns on Thursday night as the LA Galaxy and Sporting Kansas City struggled to a goalless draw before 19,651 enthusiastic, if disappointed, fans.
While the two teams are only three points apart in the Western Conference standings, they were two teams heading in opposite directions going into the match. The Galaxy had only lost once in the last ten games, while SKC has just as many wins in just as many matches.
Despite the apparent divergence in form, it was Sporting KC which looked the stronger side for large swaths of the match. They held the Galaxy without a shot for the first hour of the night while putting together multiple half-chances, but never truly threatened the back of the netting.
Jimmy Medranda contributed two sparkling chances on the night, both off the volley from the edge of the area, but both left footed screamers went straight to the gloves of LA Galaxy goalkeeper Brian Rowe.
Rowe, who surrendered a result in the Galaxy’s last match with a howler on a Didier Drogba stoppage time free kick, quietly put in a strong performance on the night. It was only the 2nd clean sheet for the Galaxy on the season, and the first since early April.
While the LA defense held firm, the Galaxy offense looked woeful on the night. With starters Gyasi Zardes and Robbie Keane gone on international duty, and Steven Gerrard still hobbled with a strained hamstring, the Galaxy managed only one single shot on the night, none on target. The offensive output was so poor that team statisticians could not identify another match in the history of the club with no shots on goal.
Like the Galaxy, Sporting were also missing several starters. Matt Besler and Graham Zusi are with Zardes and the USMNT, and play Colombia Friday night in Northern California.
The Galaxy head into the Copa America Centenario break having seen their form slip; they have not won in four matches. They will resume June 18th at Toronto FC. Sporting will take some comfort in having outplayed the Galaxy in Los Angeles. They will resume play June 19th when they host FC Dallas.
MAN OF THE MATCH
While no-one stood too tall on this lackluster evening, Jimmy Medranda twice tested Brian Rowe’s alertness with rifle shots from the perimeter.
MOMENT OF THE MATCH
The Galaxy almost figured out a way to make everyone forget how uninspired they looked when Mike Magee went in hard on a challenge for a loose ball with SKC goalkeeper Tim Melia. The ball popped loose, and Sebastian Lletget gained control of the rebound and swung the ball into the goal, bringing the Stub Hub crowd to a roar. But jubilation was brief, as Lletget was ruled offside and the goal disallowed.
MATCH TO FORGET
Giovani Dos Santos form has been exceptional of late, but he seemed to be without ideas on the night. If you’re in charge of the offense, and your team can’t manage a shot, probably you’re doing something wrong.