LA heads home content, SKC disappointed to only leave with a point
When the referee Chris Penso blew the whistle to end the match, the Galaxy’s players walked to the locker room with a smile and exhausted. They were forced to play a man down after full back Ashley Cole picked up his second yellow card in the 70th minute. Los Angeles bunkered in and withstood the immense pressure from Sporting and survived the “Blue Hell” with a point.
However, Sporting KC was frustrated since they completely dominated the match and only had a 1-1 tie to show for it. Even before the LA Galaxy went down to 10-men the home side were in control of the match.
Kansas City won the battle of possession by more than 30 percent and completed 82 percent of their 500 attempted passes. Benny Feilhaber, Graham Zusi, Roger Espinoza and Brad Davis were pretty much doing what they wanted with the ball.
The offense of Sporting moved the ball around the pitch and even completed more than 70 percent of their passes in the final third. That number is high when LA was defending with eight to nine players at times.
Poor shooting for Sporting KC
With all their time on the ball Sporting did manage to create multiple goal scoring chances in front of their home fans. Sporting outshot the Galaxy 17 to four in the match.
However, their downfall was not LA’s goalkeeper Brian Rowe making back to back spectacular saves in the match. In fact, this was Rowe’s first game of the Major League Soccer (MLS) season that he finished a game with no saves to his name.
Instead it was their accuracy that doomed Kansas City to a 1-1 draw. Out of the 17 shots they took only one was on target. The Galaxy and Sporting both ended the match with only one shot on target apiece.
At least for LA they only took four shots in total. In the other hand, Kansas City leaving the match with more than 10 shots off target will leave a bad taste in their mouth for a while.
A moment of brilliance for Davis
However, in the 30th minute Sporting KC was able to pull ahead by a wonder strike from Davis. The play began with a long ball from Matt Besler. His pass flew across and dropped perfectly for Zusi.
The U.S. international midfielder did not waste a second in attempting to bring the ball down. Instead he positioned himself and headed the ball into an open space near the top of the right hand side of the penalty box.
Davis completed his overlapping run and was able to beat out Emmanuel Boateng and Jelle Van Damme to the ball. He ran with the ball into the box being closely followed by Boateng and Van Damme. He then created a small pocket of space by cutting back the ball back to his left foot.
By doing that Boateng was out of the play and Van Damme was attempting to regain his balance to close off Davis’s angle. However, before the Belgium center back was able to recover, Davis launched shot. His shot first curved past the leg of Van Damme and then the hands of the outstretched Rowe to give the Sporting the brief 1-0 lead.
Dos Santos shows his class and cools of the sold out “Blue Hell”
LA was able to muster up a response in just 12 minutes after conceding the goal. The play began after a SKC attack ended in the Galaxy’s penalty box with a poor header from Davis. Gyasi Zardes intercepted the header and then took off running down field.
Zardes’ hesitation with the ball made Zusi fall to the ground attempting to complete a steal. After eluding Zusi, the U.S. international striker had a bunch of open ground ahead of him.
Zardes took a few more strides with the ball, heading towards the middle of the field. Right before the Kansas City defense was able to cut him off, he unleashed a low long range through ball to a sprinting Giovani dos Santos.
Zardes pass bounced perfectly for Dos Santos into open space. Nobody was ahead of the Mexican World Cup veteran when he controlled the pass. He did not slow down and continued to run with power towards the goal.
As Dos Santos entered the penalty box, SKC’s defender Ike Opara had caught up and closed off the left side off the box. Sporting KC’s goalie Tim Melia came out quickly and blocked off a possible direct shot for the Mexican playmaker.
However, within the blink of an eye Dos Santos chipped the ball over the six-foott-one-inches keeper to level the match 1-1 at the 42nd minute.
Kansas City huffed and puffed but did not blow the brick house down
After Dos Santos tied the match 1-1 LA only generated two more shots for the rest of the game. It was clear that the Galaxy were attempting to hold for the point, especially after Cole was given his early marching orders.
However, Sporting KC went after LA and bombarded them with an attack that seemed endless. The home club created 11 shots after the Galaxy tied, but none of them forced Rowe to make a save.
Instead LA’s defense blocked four of those shots and the rest of them were simply off target. In result, the Galaxy left Kansas City with a point and Sporting have to count this game as a loss.
Will the Sporting KC slump ever end?
Sporting started the 2016 season on fire, earning 12 points out of their first five matches. However, since their 2-0 victory over the New York Red Bulls at Red Bull Arena on April ninth, Kansas City has picked up a total of two points in their next five matches.
They started the month of April in first place of the Western Conference and the Supporters’ Shield. However, the month of May starts with Kansas City in sixth place with 14 points. SKC’s head coach Peter Vermes will need to find a way to get his club back on track quickly before they fall any deeper in the competitive West.
The start of the road to recovery will take Sporting KC to the Lone Star State on Saturday. Sporting will be facing the Houston Dynamo at BBVA Compass Stadium.
LA’s momentum continues
The Galaxy has quietly built an impressive unbeaten streak that started in mid-March. The last time Los Angeles failed to pick up any points in match was on March 12th. The Colorado Rapids defeated LA 1-0 from a Marco Pappa last second goal at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. Since that defeat the Galaxy has won three and tied three of the next six matches.
They currently sit in fourth place with 15 points and a positive 10 goal differential. A victory in LA’s next match against the New England Revolution on Sunday at the StubHub Center might place them in first. For that to happen the first place Rapids, second place Real Salt Lake and third place FC Dallas need to either lose or draw in their next game.