Match Report

Match Report: LA Galaxy Fall 2-0 on Road to Columbus Crew at Field on Wednesday Night

COLUMBUS, Ohio (Wednesday, May 17, 2023) – The LA Galaxy’s two-match winning streak across all competitions came to an end with a 2-0 loss on the road to the Columbus Crew before 20,192 fans at Field on Wednesday night. 

LA Galaxy Against Columbus Crew
Wednesday’s match marked the 47th all-time meeting across all competitions between the Galaxy (2-7-3, 9 points) and the Columbus Crew (5-4-3, 18 points), with LA trailing the series 16-21-10. Against the Crew, the Galaxy hold a 16-19-10 record in league play and a 0-2-0 record in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. In 22 all-time meetings played on the road against Columbus, LA holds a 4-12-6 record. 

Packed Schedule
Wednesday’s match against Columbus Crew SC marked the fourth match in the span of 12 days for the LA Galaxy; an average of a match played every three days. LA played the first of three road matches across all competitions in the next seven days, with the Galaxy traveling to face D.C. United on Saturday, May 20. During the month of May, the LA Galaxy will have played eight games across all competitions in the span of 26 days, an average of a game played every 3.3 days. In the Galaxy’s last six matches played across all competitions dating back to April 22, the Galaxy hold a 3-3-0 record (8 GF, 9 GA).

Goal-Scoring Plays
CLB– Lucas Zelarayán (Cucho Hernández), 25th minute – Cucho Hernández delivered a pass down the left wing to Zelarayán, who cut inside on his right foot and fired his shot from inside the penalty area into the lower corner of the goal. 

CLB– Malte Amundson (Alexandru Mățan), 43rd minute – Alexandru Mățan dribbled down the right side of the penalty area and floated in a cross at the back post to Malte Amundson, who shouldered the ball in from close range. 

Postgame Notes

  • Wednesday’s match marked the 47th all-time meeting across all competitions between the Galaxy (2-7-3, 9 points) and the Columbus Crew (5-4-3, 18 points), with LA trailing the series 16-21-10. 
  • Against the Crew, the Galaxy hold a 16-19-10 record in league play and a 0-2-0 record in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.
  • In 22 all-time meetings played on the road against Columbus, LA holds a 4-12-6 record.
  • In the Galaxy’s last six matches played across all competitions dating back to April 22, the Galaxy hold a 3-3-0 record (8 GF, 9 GA). 
  • Wednesday’s match against Columbus Crew SC marked the fourth match in the span of 12 days for the LA Galaxy; an average of a match played every three days.
  • During the month of May, the Galaxy will have played eight games across all competitions in the span of 26 days, an average of a game played every 3.3 days.
  • In six matches played on the road during the 2023 campaign, the Galaxy hold a record of 0-4-2 (1 GF, 10 GA).
  • Riqui Puig recorded a team-high three dribbles completed, six duels won and 58 successful passes (81.7% pass accuracy). 
  • In 45 minutes played as a second-half substitute, Tyler Boyd finished the match with a game-high three chances created. 
  • Julián Aude won a team-high eight possessions and recorded three duels won and one interception. 
  • Calegari recorded two successful dribbles, six duels won, seven possessions won and 54 completed passes (90% pass accuracy). 
  • Jalen Neal completed a team-high 66 passes (93% passing accuracy), two interceptions and won seven possessions. 
  • Efraín Álvarez made his 98th career appearances (47th start) across all competitions for the LA Galaxy in the match against the Columbus Crew. 
  • Eriq Zavaleta, who made his first start of the 2023 campaign, appeared his 148th career MLS regular-season match (113 starts) in the match against Columbus. 
  • In 15 career regular-season matches managed against the Columbus Crew as head coach of Toronto FC and the LA Galaxy dating back to 2015, LA Galaxy Head Coach and Sporting Director Greg Vanney holds a record of 5-5-5. 

Next Game
*Next up, the LA Galaxy travel to face D.C. United at Audi Field on Saturday, May 20. The match on May 20 kicks off at 4:30 p.m. PT and will be broadcasted live on MLS Season Pass on Apple TV.

2023 MLS Regular Season 
LA Galaxy (2-7-3, 9pts) at Columbus Crew (5-4-3, 18pts)
May 17, 2023 – Field (Columbus, Ohio)

Goals by Half                1          2          F
LA Galaxy                     0          0          0
Columbus Crew            2          0          2

Scoring Summary: 
CLB: Zelarayán (Hernández), 25
CLB: Amundson (Mățan), 43

Misconduct Summary:
CLB: Ramírez (caution), 46
LA: Puig (caution), 82
LA: Chicharito, 88

LA: GK Jonathan Bond; D Calegari, D Eriq Zavaleta, D Jalen Neal, D Julián Aude; M Daniel Aguirre (Gino Vivi, 77), M Uri Rosell (Mark Delgado, 45), M Riqui Puig, M Efraín Álvarez (Gastón Brugman, 61), M Raheem Edwards (Tyler Boyd, 45), F Dejan Joveljić (Javier “Chicharito” Hernández, 61)

Substitutes Not Used: GK Jonathan Klinsmann; D Martín Cáceres, D Kelvin Leerdam; M Memo Rodríguez

TOTAL SHOTS: 9 (Chicharito, Joveljić, 2); SHOTS ON GOAL: 2 (Chicharito, 2); FOULS: 11 (Three players tied, 3); OFFSIDES: 3; CORNER KICKS: 6; SAVES: 1

CLB: GK Patrick Schulte; D Philip Quinton, D Gustavo Vallecilla (Jimmy Medranda, 71), D Malte Amundsen, D Steven Moreira; M Darlington Nagbe ©, M Aidan Morris, M Lucas Zelarayán (Mohamed Farsi, 45), M Alexandru Mățan; F Cucho Hernández (Jacen Russell-Rowe, 78), F Christian Ramírez (Sean Zawadzki, 65)

Substitutes Not Used: GK Evan Bush; D Jake Morris, D Keegan Hughes; M Isaiah Parente, M Max Arftsen 

TOTAL SHOTS: 10 (Hernández, 4); SHOTS ON GOAL: 3 (Three players tied, 1); FOULS: 11 (Three players tied, 2); OFFSIDES: 1; CORNER KICKS: 1; SAVES: 2

Referee: Ted Unkel
Assistant Referees: Cory Richardson, Meghan Mullen
Fourth Official: Justin Howard
VAR: Katja Koroleva
Weather: Clear, 67 degrees
Attendance: 20,192

_All statistics contained in this box score are unofficial


On his thoughts on the first half, the changes he made and how he thought the team performed in the second half:
“The biggest issue for us in the first half was our impatience defensively. They have good concepts and possession, and a lot of players who are very comfortable on the ball. And, we were kind of edging out to kind of press, but we weren’t really pressing at times. And Ra [Raheem Edwards] was too high. He needed to be a little lower. So, our two central midfielders were just so stretched out trying to get to things, and our outside backs and our backline was stretched out trying to get to their wingbacks. And that was the adjustment in the second half, was we just needed to stay a little bit more connected and be a little bit more patient and choose our moments to press the ball more wisely. And the first half, we just kept getting ourselves stretched out, and they just were able to play through us. And play behind us. And play anywhere they wanted to, really. And, then when you’re stretched out on the defensive side and you cover the ball, you’re not really in position to help each other out when you would actually win the ball. So, I felt like, one of the big differences between the first and second half was just our… we were more patient defensively. We were more calculated in the right moments when we were trying to recover balls. And we won a lot more balls in between the lines and not in sort of the midfield zone, versus in near our goal. And I thought that led to us having attacks from better areas. We had our fair share of looks inside of this game, I thought. Not a ton, but we did have some really good looks. I think a red card nowadays is a tackle above the waist instead of below the waist and above the knee. But that’s a sliding in and studs mid-thigh. So that one baffles me a little bit. There’s some other calls inside of the game that baffle me. But, ultimately, the game came down to a little bit of our impatience I thought, in the first half. And then we got ourselves behind the game. The second one that they scored, we should have fouled them at midfield and ended the play. We had the chance against the sideline to foul because we were stretched out and our center back was out of his position. And we need to commit a foul there and end the play and get everybody behind the ball. We probably would have survived that situation.”

On struggling with offense on the road particularly, with only one goal being scored on the road, and what needs to be fixed to get that going:
“I mean, we can… we didn’t take some of the finishes. Danny [Daniel Aguirre] had a really good look at hit it wide. We had a couple, like, really good looks that we just need to finish those chances. But, I really do think that, again, how we defend on the road and being a little bit more patient defensively will mean that we recover balls in better areas, which gives our attack more of a chance. I just think that will help us a lot. In terms of where we recover balls. How much work we actually put in to recover the ball. All those things. We need to be more efficient defensively and recover, which will help our attack, will help us to start attacks from better areas. It will help us to have more energy to recover the ball and look to go forward. It will give us a bit of an attacking transition because in the first half, we were recovering most of the balls deep in our half. And by the time you recover the ball, you’ve got to break down 10 men, you’ve got to cover almost the entire length of the field. It becomes an exercise on the attacking side. So, it’s a combination of efficiency in front of the goal, but also, I think, efficiency on the defensive side. So we have more… we’re in better positions when we transition and we have more energy and we’re in better spots to attack out of it. So, for me, it starts on the defending side.” 

On what goes into the decision to rotate the lineup, and how difficult it was to start with this lineup:
“Honestly, it was a difficult decision. I was mulling it over and processing it. Before we even came into the week, I had sort of a plan going into this week based off of the travel. The short turnaround is going to be on both ends. The travel from LA to Columbus. A little longer. The day is longer. The guys are recovering from the last game. We’re going into a long week. I felt like we had some guys who were, in the end, they felt great, which was tough to leave them out, because there were a lot of guys who I left out who felt like they were ready to play, and they felt like they were ready to play. But we have four games in 10 days that we’re trying to also manage. And some guys have had little knocks or things that they’ve been managing over the course of time, and so… I also need to see what some of our other guys can do for us and how they’re going to contribute to this team during this stretch. My calculation was this was going to be the longer of the two travels. The less amount of time to recover, just because of the travel and everything, and we’ll have a shorter trip tomorrow. It’s just a one hour hop over to D.C. We’ll have a day to train. We’ll have… it’s the same amount of time, just not the same length of travel per say. I knew Columbus was going to be a team that was good with the ball. Wilfried’s [Wilfried Nancy] teams are always good with the ball, so it was going to be some defensive work inside of this. So, I was trying to also kind of manage our group going into the weekend. So, we’ll try to put the best team together we can for the weekend and we’ll look to take some points, or something out of D.C., and then come back and prepare for the next one. The other challenge was we had momentum in terms of the last two results, so that became a challenge, too. You’re managing a plan that you’re doing unemotionally before the trip starts. And then when you win, your emotion is, okay, I want to stick with this group, and put them back out there… but, that’s where the calculation becomes difficult. But I also don’t… we’re at the beginning of a long stretch of game, and I don’t want to put anybody at risk at the beginning of this process because we have a longer process still on the other end here.” 

On what he liked from players that haven’t seen the field much yet this season:
“Uri [Uri Rosell], Danny [Danie Aguirre], Eriq [Eriq Zavaleta]. I think with Efra [Efraín Álvarez], he can get us out of some situations. We still need to get… there still needs to be more danger inside of what he does on the attacking end. He can get us out of things in tight spaces and get the ball across the field and can hit some final passes, you know, but, sometimes in that wider position, just getting a threat behind or getting him into deeper areas, doesn’t happen as often. So, Danny, I think Danny always puts in a solid workman like shift and has good moments. So, I think, again, for him tonight was similar. Uri was in a tough scenario. I don’t think Uri necessarily did anything wrong, I just think we were so stretched out in the midfield from the way we were defending in the first half, he just was left with so much space to cover, and that’s not his strength. His strength is about game reading and when it’s in tight spaces, he gets into tackles, he recovers balls for us and he keeps the game simple. And because we were stretched out, he was having to cover a lot of territory, and that’s why I came with Mark [Mark Delgado] because Mark is a little bit more of a guy who can cover some territory. And if we needed to step out, Mark can step out a little quicker. But, I think, Uri, just inside of this particular game is wasn’t set up in a good way for him because again, we were too opened up. And, Eriq, by and large, I think there were some solid moments. I think he’s got a foul in the one that leads to the second goal. But, in general, I thought it was a fine performance. But, again, all the guys are fine, but collectively, we were too far apart defensively. And that exposes everybody because that’s not where we want to be when we’re defending as a group.”

On tonight’s performance following back-to-back wins, and the feeling in the locker room:
“This obviously… We always knew it was going to be a difficult game, coming here. They’re obviously a good team who are confident and comfortable at home. I think we were a little bit overwhelmed first half. Just defensively, we couldn’t get any kind of shape or pressure on the ball. Most of the game was played in our half. We were doing a lot of defending. Couldn’t keep the ball for long periods of time. And, then, second half, once we found our defensive shape and some sort of solidify and foothold in the game, the problem was, we were already two-nil down and some of the defensive shape, really, that we were looking for, that gave us some success involved actually being patient and not giving too much away. But, obviously, as the game goes on, we needed to give some kind of pressure on the ball and try and get back in the game.”

On how this team can improve some of the decision making on the field at certain times, the emotional toll that plays into the game and how to get the better of that:
“It’s difficult. I think, it was kind of a weird balance of situation in the game, where they played really high. So, there was a lot of space to kind of exploit behind. But then at the same time, if you don’t get that ball right, you’ve rushed it and you don’t get possession for very long and then they’re coming back at us. So, there were opportunities for us to get in behind and I think we had a few chances, maybe a few close offside calls as well. But, you’re right. Our decision making has to be better, especially when in possession. We’re just trying to force things and always trying to play a difficult pass when it’s not needed. Something that maybe looks good, rather than just safe and functional. Rather than being patient, we’re trying to hit through balls, balls over the top, diagonals. Kind of hopeful. Not really on. So, those are the kind of things that kind of kill momentum in the game and swing possession from one team to the other.” *
__On how from the young players on the back line like Jalen Neal and Julián Aude, Calegari and Jalen Neal are handling tough matches on the road in MLS: “Extremely well. I think Julián [Aude] and Calegari have both played in big leagues with raucous fans. I could tell you first hand that some of these Latin American fan bases are difficult to play against, and so they understand that playing away from home is not so easy. Jalen [Neal] has settled in quite nicely since he’s started. As a kid who is mature well beyond his years… I’m sure you’ve heard that 100 times from other people… I think there’s learning curves and experience that comes with all kinds of different atmospheres and different games. I think they’re gaining that, but I think that it’s something that they’re more comfortable with than the average young player for sure.”

On how he and the locker room are responding to the frustration of results: 
"Positive results fix everything. When you win, everyone thinks you’re the best team in the world and when you lose everyone thinks you’re the worst. It’s just the reality of the business that we’re in. Positive results along the way, positive momentum along the way are really important. Those guys hate losing and I’d much rather play with a bunch of guys that hate losing than a bunch of guys that don’t care. This is a group of players that want to win more than anything and believe in each other more than anything, and so you’re going to you’re going to get some frustration along the way with those things. I was frustrated tonight. I wish that Riqui [Puig] didn’t get so many yellow cards by yelling at refs because we need him to play every single game. And as we’ve seen, we’ve lost him already for a game for suspension. But he’s young and he’s learning and he’s frustrated. He gets kicked every single game, probably more than any player in the league and so I can only imagine how that feels. And Chicha [Javier “Chicharito” Hernández] is a leader for us and someone who’s not used to losing and doesn’t like to lose. I’ll take that over a bunch of guys who are comfortable being in the position that we are every single day.”

On what he’d say to Galaxy fans on the form of the team: “I think these Galaxy fans have seen a lot of success over the history of this club, and so this is not a start that they’re used to. I can tell you that there’s nobody here who isn’t trying every single day to the problems that we have and to create positive momentum and to create better nights for them. It’s difficult to go on the road in this league. It’s difficult to win games in this league; we’ve seen that. We’ve had some bad moments go against us, and I think we’ve found a way and a rhythm throughout the last few weeks that we can build off of. Whether they [the fans] believe in that or not; I’m not sure. But we believe in ourselves within this locker room. Until you start seeing guys who aren’t frustrated and who don’t care anymore… then I say to them believe in us. We believe nothing is lost yet this season. We’re not happy, we’re not satisfied with where we are and we’re going to continue to get better. We’re going to continue to watch film and every single player who steps on that field is going to give everything they can for the crest. We’ll live with what the results come at the end of the year and hopefully that ends in a trophy or two.”