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Plenty of Possession but no Goals in 1-0 Galaxy Loss to Orlando

Los Angeles Head Coach Greg Vanney was a calm but serious figure in Saturday’s press conference after his team’s 1-0 loss at home against Orlando City.

The second-year coach has his team playing more attractive football than last year, creating more chances and controlling matches against teams like Seattle, all for the Galaxy to lose either through defensive mistakes or not taking their chances.

Saturday’s loss against Orlando City was of the same script as the Galaxy dominated possession and had plenty of chances to score three or four goals, just for one Orlando counterattack goal to seal all three points for the visitors.

“We’re four games into the season. We still have a lot of growing to do as a group. But, for sure, one of the things we need to improve on is just the timing and the final action. Not bailing out of attacks for low percentage situations, and work better for high percentage situations. But, yeah, some final quality Final action stuff. We need to continue to build on every phase of the game,” Vanney said in his assessment of the Galaxy’s performance.

“So, we’ve got to remain disciplined even if things aren’t in our favor right off the bat. Trust the process. Stick to our roles. Just stick to what we’re trying to do to create chances…  And then we’ve got to have more execution obviously in and around the goal and those final actions.”

The Galaxy started brightly with three corner kicks in the first eight minutes of the game. The constant pressure to Pedro Gallese’s goal forced the Orlando Keeper into saves first on Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez and then Victor Vasquez. Kevin Cabral will want some chances he spurned back.

But a breakneck counterattack goal the Galaxy failed to deal with in transition would be their undoing, as Nick Depuy lost Ercan Kara on 10 minutes on the right side of the Galaxy’s defensive third. Kara’s cross found Facundo Torres perfectly for the Uruguayan to guide a header home for his first MLS goal.

But despite the Galaxy having 80 minutes to get a result, their inability to finish was the downfall.

An injury to Douglas Costa forced the Brazilian off at halftime and further complicated matters for the Galaxy, depriving them of a creative force on offense.

All afternoon, the Galaxy would get to and attack Orlando’s final third, only to be repelled time and time again. L.A. did find a way through, though a matter of inches denied them the tying goal.

Galaxy midfielder Sacha Kljestan spoke of the Galaxy’s concern over not producing the expected goals as a team in the first four matches, but also touched on positives in L.A.’s performance. 

“It can be frustrating, but on the bright side we controlled all four games through possession so far. We have yet to face a team that is controlling more of the ball than us or controlling the midfield. So that‘s a very big positive for us because that’s the way that we want to play.”    

For as much as Kljestan spoke of the positives, controlling matches doesn’t automatically translate to winning three points. 

Galaxy fans might be satisfied to have fewer chances, cede some control, but win some matches.

In an ideal world, Los Angeles would be able to combine their control of games and score the goals their good play deserves. 

If not, these four games may not be the exception but the norm in Los Angeles this season.

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