Galaxy Cough One Up For Crew

An absent David Beckham. An invisible Landon Donovan. A Galaxy loss.

The Galaxy went meekly down 2-0 to the Columbus Crew Saturday even though the co-MLS leaders rested the likes of reigning MLS MVP Guillermo Barros Schelotto, former Galaxy striker Alejandro Moreno and Rolling Hills Estates’ Robbie Rogers ahead of Tuesday’s CONCACAF Champions League game against Costa Rica’s Saprissa.

They didn’t need them against a Galaxy team that yet again illustrated its lack of venom in front of goal, strikes by Eddie Gaven and Steven Lenhart on either side of halftime giving the home team a comfortable victory.

The Galaxy’s best attacking moment: midfielder Chris Birchall’s stinging shot that smacked off the woodwork in the 68th minute.

The Galaxy’s worst defensive moment: the glacial Gregg Berhalter verses Lenhart on the second goal. How many times are we going to see that complete lack of pace/awareness lead to a goal?

Key stat: 23 Galaxy fouls, their highest in a game this year (but that wasn’t sufficient to throw off Columbus apparently).

Key omission: Chris Klein, who saw his MLS record streak of consecutive MLS games snapped at 141, the first time in four years he had missed a game for his club.

Quotable:

“We weren’t going to beat them tonight,” Galaxy coach Bruce Arena told The Columbus Dispatch. “We were just second all night.”

Game story.

Galaxy XI: Donovan Ricketts, A.J. DeLaGarza (Alan Gordon 54′), Gregg Berhalter, Omar Gonzalez, Todd Dunivant (Eddie Lewis 62′), Stefani Miglioranzi (Jovan Kirovski 34′), Chris Birchall, Sean Franklin, Landon Donovan, Brian Jordan, Edson Buddle.

Updated playoff standings.

Next: Chicago Fire 8 p.m. Friday at Home Depot Center (and live on ESPN2)

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  • Nell

    You can say what you want about Donovan being invisible – but he wasn’t invisible to me. I saw him him making run after run after run…but his teammates wouldn’t or couldn’t get him the ball. On one scoring chance, Donovan started the counter attack from the opponents 18, passes it up, the ball gets sent across the field for Franklin(?) to cross it in…and there’s Donovan in the box. He got there before Brian Jordan did. The Crew didn’t mark Donovan out of the game – his own teammates did.

  • Studs Up

    Actually both Nell and Nick are correct to some extent. I say Donovan was Nick’s “invisible” man because he did not play well added to my belief that he was played out of position in the game. He has not been as sharp as he was earlier in the season. I don’t know if it’s fatigue or that swine flu thing but he has not been playing at the extreme level he was playing until the US @ Mexico game. He was blowing past defenders, shooting well and completing his passes then. But in recent games he is routinely stopped by defenders and his passes are blocked very easily.

    But in general Landon best position when you don’t have a creative central midfieder that can draw him into play is a withdrawn second striker in a 4-4-2 set up like last week. You basically flood the middle and count on his speed to break loose. When you play him wide without the players that can find him as Nell correctly mentions then you get can a result like last night. When he is playing wide in the middle and not going hard both ways he actually hurts his team. Poor Todd Dunivant had his worst game last night because Landon was not tracking back.

    Conclusion: I blame Arena for poor tactics.

    PS – what’s happened to Kovalenko?

    Nick replies: Dema was officially listed as questionable with right Achilles tendonitis before the game. He last started a game Aug. 19 against the Fire, but was replaced at HT. He’s played sparingly since around July 4.

  • Joseph D’Hippolito

    So Kovalenko has tendonitis in his right Achilles, hasn’t started in more than a month and has played sparingly in almost three months. And Beckham was out with — guess what, boys and girls? Achilles problems!

    If this club is more serious about soccer than about raping the fan…er, making money, then it should off-load Beckham permanently after this season. All this galavanting for three clubs is wearing on his health and adversely affecting his teammates here. Moreover, he’s played only one, maybe two, good matches since he returned. This is a multimillion-dollar superstar?

  • Inigo Montoya

    The key moment for me was substituting in Alan Gordon for DeLaGarza in the 54th minute. Woulda shoulda coulda.

    Alan Gordon was a weird choice for Arena, because he solved nothing. As Nell says, the problem wasn’t the lack of a target guy up top. Donovan was available much of the night.

    The problem was getting the ball to him. Chris Klein would have been a better choice than Gordon. Klein’s no speedster, but he has proven that he can push up and deliver crosses to Donovan.

    Arena was right that Columbus out-hustled the G’s all night. They were simply the better team: quicker, better organized.

    We’ve known for weeks that these three games — Columbus, Chicago, Houston — would be the true test. The first one didn’t go so well. The G’s don’t look like a top-tier team. Certainly better than the last few years, but not there (yet?).

    We’ll see what the Chicago game reveals.

  • Studs Up

    J. D’Hip,

    Isn’t it a bit of stretch, pardon the pun, to blame the Beckham/Lieweke duo for Dema’s Achilles problems?

    I agree that Beckham should be cut loose after this season since his impact on home attendance has worn off. But Galaxy performance woes pre-date the Beckham singing and may not be solved until they hire me as their coach. The PR position is yours if you want it.

  • Joseph D’Hippolito

    Studs Up, I’m not blaming the Beckham/Leiweke duo for Kovalenko’s Achilles problems. I’m using Dema as an example of how difficult it is to recover from Achilles problems. Chivas USA’s Ante Razov just underwent surgery to repair, among other things, an injured Achilles.

    I don’t think Beckham will play in a Galaxy uniform for the rest of the season, even if the club makes the playoffs. Besides, he wants to be healthy enough to have another chance to kiss up to Capell…er, play for England, which has a World Cup qualifier on Oct. 14.

    Beckham is a leaden albatross for this team. The sooner he leaves, the better.

  • Studs Up

    J. D’hip,

    I reflected your “adversely affecting his teammates” comment to the injury concerns of your opening statement. I guess I was the one doing the “stretching”.

    Peace/Paz

  • Joseph D’Hippolito

    No problem, Studs Up. And, yes, I would love to be Galaxy P.R. director when you become coach! >:)