Three points were in high demand on Saturday night when the LA Galaxy faced off with Real Salt Lake. But after scoring the first goal, LA conceded six of the next seven scored to lose by a score of 6-2.
This latest defeat puts the Galaxy on the outside looking in when it comes to the MLS playoffs. Losing three more points slipped LA into the eighth spot behind the Vancouver Whitecaps and Portland Timbers. There’s only six matches remaining in the season and with how leaky the defense has been, playoffs might be out of contention at this point.
Servando Carrasco talked about the importance of this match to the media say, “every game is different, but there is a little bit of pressure.
“We have to embrace that pressure and the fact that we are the Galaxy. The expectation is that we are going to be in the playoffs.”
Sigi Schmid made a couple of changes to his starting lineup from their draw with LAFC. Jonathan Dos Santos replaced Sebastian Lletget, while Rolf Feltscher moved over to Chris Pontius’ right wing back spot. With Feltscher moving further right, Dave Romney slotted into the right side of the defense.
Galaxy Start Hot, But Defense Slips Up
A mere 40 seconds had eclipsed when the Galaxy opened the scoring.
Ibrahimovic held the ball up at the top of the box before playing a pass towards an over lapping Ashley Cole. The left back continued his run into the area and sent a cross towards the far post. There waiting was recent Mexican National Team call up Jonathan Dos Santos. He did not wait for the ball to come down before slapping a right footed volley past Nick Rimando.
The Galaxy’s lead, however, lasted just 12 minutes. Michael Ciani could not intercept a pass when he stepped forward, leaving a gap behind him. Space opened up and that allowed Albert Rusnak to turn quickly with the ball before beating David Bingham.
Real Salt Lake took the lead for good three minutes into first half stoppage time. Again, Ciani misread the flight of the ball played behind the Galaxy defense. The error led to a sublime goal from Damir Kreilach. He took a pass down off his chest, lifted it over Bingham, and headed his effort into the empty net.
Real Salt Lake Keeps Piling On
The match should have been leveled 30 seconds after the restart. Servando Carrasco sent in a cross towards the far post, where Ibrahimovic was making a run. The Swedish striker leaped up and hit a strong header down. Rimando, though, was lucky as only the kept the match at 2-1.
“We came out at the start of the second half, we were right there on 2-2 with a header that goes off the post,” Schmid said following the loss. “Rimando is beat off the play. Six inches the other way we score a goal.”
Ola Kamara should have scored, as he was one on one with Rimando. But the assistant referee wrongly ruled his goal offside. On top of it, the referee blew his whistle, which prevented the chance of VAR to be used.
Jefferson Savarino doubled his team’s advantage moments later. He cut the ball back onto his stronger foot inside the area before unleashing a shot on goal. Ciani dove to try to block the attempt, but it bounced off of him and floated over the Galaxy goalkeeper.
The goals kept coming. A minute after the hour mark, Kreilach got his second of the night. Savarino played a square ball to Rusnak with the Galaxy defense trailing behind. Rusnak’s initial save was stopped by Bingham, but the shot rebounded back off the shot stopper. The Czech continued the play before feeding Kreilach with a deadly pass in the box.
Alessandrini made an instant impact when he come off the bench in the second half of play. Dos Santos played an excellent ball out to the right flank in the 64th minute. The Frenchman immediately went on the attack and ran straight at an RSL defender. He hit a powerful left footed shot that deflected into the net to cut Salt Lake’s lead in half.
The 21-year-old Savarino race onto a ball down the right flank. He sent a delivery towards the box and Rusnak smashed a stinging volley past a diving Bingham for Real Salt Lake’s fifth goal of the night.
Real Salt Lake wrapped up the match for good in the 71st minute of play. Savarino, who was a thorn in the Galaxy defense’s side all night, darted towards the area from the right. He slid a square pass towards the six-yard-box where Kreilach tapped the ball into the net.
With six matches remaining, the Galaxy’s playoffs hopes are looking slimmer by the match. Things will not get any tougher next weekend, however. They go on the road again and take on Jozy Altidore, Sebastian Giovinco and Toronto FC. This match will kick off at 4:30 PM.