SANDY, UTAH— LA Galaxy Insider Adam Serrano offers his Three Points to LA’s season ending 2-0 defeat to Real Salt Lake. With the loss, the Galaxy lost the Conference Semifinal Series 2-1 on aggregate and have been eliminated from the MLS Cup Playoffs.
SET PIECES PROVE DECISIVE
Time and time again this season, set pieces stood between the LA Galaxy and victories and on Thursday, it doomed them to a long offseason.
In the 100th minute of play in first half stoppage time, Javier Morales whipped in a set piece that bypassed a slew of Galaxy defenders falling for Chris Schuler who beat Sean Franklin and Kofi Opare to the ball for a tap-in past goalkeeper Jaime Penedo. In all, the goal was the 15th that the Galaxy allowed on set pieces during MLS play in 2013. However, the goal wasn’t the only issue as LA found themselves unable to cope with RSL’s quick attacking restarts that frequently pinned the defense in their final third.
The Galaxy were also unable to find their own chances on the dead ball opportunities as LA amassed a total of nine corners on the evening, but none of which led to a shot on frame.
GALAXY OFFENSE STUTTERS AT THE END
The LA Galaxy needed their twin powers of Landon Donovan and Robbie Keane to step up, but neither were able to deliver as LA’s season came to a crashing end.
Throughout the match, the Galaxy appeared a step behind a desperate Real Salt Lake side that threw numbers forward and pressed LA from the outset. Trapped in their own half of the field, the Galaxy became increasingly focused on simply earning possession rather than being able to have the time and space to create chances for Donovan and Keane, who were well blanked by RSL’s defenders. With Keane and Donovan struggling to find space, LA relied on midfielders Robbie Rogers and Gyasi Zardes to create, but too often the pacey wingers were unable to crack the organized Salt Lake defense.
In the end, the Galaxy’s shot total was a dooming stat as out of 21 chances at goal, the Galaxy were able to put just two on frame, each of which were saved by RSL goalkeeper Nick Rimando.
The LA Galaxy’s bid for a third straight title ended along the Wasatch Front leaving the team to pick up the pieces.
Although the team’s bid ended prematurely, as did their streak of four consecutive seasons in the Western Conference Championship, the team did allow a series of young players to get an opportunity to shine. Over the course of the year, Bruce Arena and Co. were able to give valuable minutes to a host of exciting young talents such as Gyasi Zardes, Kofi Opare, Greg Cochrane, Jose Villarreal and Jack McBean.
However, with the team missing out on the title, it promises to be a long offseason for the four-time MLS Cup champions to recover and rebuild ahead of the 2014 campaign.
Adam Serrano is the LA Galaxy Insider. Read his blog at LAGalaxy.com/insider and contact him at LAGalaxyInsider@Gmail.com