FRISCO, Texas – Frustration was evident on the faces of every member of the LA Galaxy after their 1-0 defeat to FC Dallas on Saturday evening, but the lone bright spot against FCD was the play of rookie Greg Cochrane.
The rookie from Louisville made his professional debut, playing the full 90 minutes at left back, in the loss to Dallas. He replaced Todd Dunivant, who had started the first eight games of 2013, in the lineup after the first choice left back picked up a knock in a midweek CONCACAF Champions League match against C.F. Monterrey.
While he had been used primarily in midfield since joining the club for the start of the preseason in late January, Cochrane was an energetic presence throughout his 90 minute showing on the left side of defense.
“I thought that I did alright. I just tried to not do anything too crazy since it was my first game. Just connect passes and keep the ball rolling,” Cochrane told reporters after the game. “Obviously, it’s a disappointing result, especially as my first game. Not getting one point out of that game is frustrating.”
Cochrane’s impact on the defensive end showed on the stat sheet. The rookie notched an impressive seven clearances as well as an interception and a blocked cross. Where he was most effective, however, was containing FC Dallas winger Jackson who struggled against the Galaxy.
“I noticed that he was pretty quick so I tried to get to him once he got the ball to make him play backward,” said Cochrane. “If I didn’t get to him then I would drop off and just try to keep him in front of me and prevent him from getting behind me as much as I could.”
WATCH: Cudicini saves Dallas PK
Shutting down the Brazilian speedster wasn’t the only defensive success for the rookie. In the 60th minute, LA ‘keeper Carlo Cudicini made a diving stop on a Kenny Cooper penalty that rebounded back toward the penalty spot. The quick thinking rookie was the first to react and cleared the danger before Cooper fired the rebound on frame.
“It was a rebound and I did everything that I could to get it out of danger and luckily, I did,” said Cochrane.
The defender wasn’t limited to just the defensive side of the ball as he had several dangerous forays forward. Repeatedly Cochrane was able to find space behind the Dallas defense and send in probing crosses. Although none led to chances, Cochrane was encouraged.
“I’m a little disappointed because we had a pretty good chance in the second half where I didn’t hit the cleanest cross but that’s going to happen sometimes,” the rookie said. “All of them are not going to be perfect, but I hit a couple of good ones, but no goal came from it.”
Three points didn’t come for the Galaxy, but Cochrane received plenty of praise from head coach Bruce Arena who said that the rookie “played very well” on the night as well as his teammates.
“I thought he did well. I didn’t think that he really made any bad mistakes, he was solid and that is a testament to our entire coaching staff,” said Landon Donovan. “They not only draft well, they get these guys ready so that if we need to play them. They’re prepared and they’re ready so I really think that he did a good job.”
Cochrane’s strong performance and versatility will likely see him remain a crucial member of Arena’s depth chart in the future, but the diligent rookie is still looking to continue his development.
“I’ll definitely build off of it,” said Cochrane. “Being my first game, it’s only upward from there and maybe next time we’ll get the three points.”
Tough loss tonight. Definitely bounce back next weekend. Congrats to @gregcoch for first MLS career game. Good showing by the youngster.— Sean Franklin (@SFranklin5) April 14, 2013
Thank you everyone for all the support on my MLS debut. I really appreciate it. The loss is a buzzkill. But time to focus on the next one!— Greg Cochrane (@gregcoch) April 14, 2013
Adam Serrano is the LA Galaxy Insider. Read his blog at LAGalaxy.com/Insider and contact him at LAGalaxyInsider@Gmail.com