Ethan Zubak – game changer.
Never have I been more thankful for soccer’s return – it made me giddy to watch. The LA Galaxy made some positive acquisitions in the offseason indicating that new coach Greg Vanney knew exactly where his holes were. Thus far though, the biggest hole appears to be in attack. For 60 minutes, the Galaxy still didn’t look like they had any ideas, and Chicharito still looked like he was playing one card short of a full deck. 60 minutes of meandering upfield, and then standing around when the 18-yard box was broached. When the Galaxy finally played some one touch football that wasn’t at the pace of a snail – hey, a goal! Not only a goal, but a Chicharito goal.
The Ethan Zubak substitution led to a better balanced Galaxy attack. Chicharito needed support, and the minute he got it (at pace), the Galaxy left with three points.
Nick DePuy also had a very good game, which left me wondering if Derrick Williams will be an immediate insertion. The veterans in Kljestan and Vazquez also made a difference in this game, Vasquez looks like an astute addition.
I’m not convinced the Galaxy’s problems are over, but starting the season on a positive note is a welcome change of pace. On the road, no less.
· Jonathan Bond – diving save in the 32nd minute on an Higuain curler. Nice save to start the second half. Another save on an Higuain run in the 82nd minute. Understandable winner of the starting job.
· Chicharito – heavy touch squandered a shot in the 25th minute. Another heavy touch to a wide open Lletget to end the half squandered what should have been a shot, and led to Miami’s first goal. Finally scored in the second half with a very nice touch and finish, off a lovely Zubak squared ball into the box. With the monkey off his back, scored a second quintessential Chicharito goal off the back post. HUGE game, and hopefully gives him some much needed confidence.
· Nick DePuy – good last ditch clearance in the 16th minute. Even better last man tackle in the 20th minute on Higuain. Topped that with yet another emergency tackle to end the half. 80% winner of duels. Man of the Match – without him the Galaxy wouldn’t have been in a place to win.
· Sacha Kljestan – standing by himself on a late run into the 18, took advantage and scored a lovely curled goal.
· Ethan Zubak – provided the assist within minutes of being inserted after being his man. Actually gave some movement and definitive press up the left hand side. His energy and effort made a difference in providing Chicharito support in the middle.
· Sebastian Lletget – nice cross into Chicharito muffed. Layoff to Kjlestan that he promptly took advantage of for an assist. I think he can do more based on his USMNT efforts.
· Oniel Fisher – good block of a ball into the box in the 5th minute, great defense on Pizarro, stayed strong on a run through the center. Gave up a dangerous freekick in the 40th minute and kept Higuain onside for Miami’s first goal. Served in the ball that led to the third Galaxy goal. No idea what he was doing on the freekick at the very end, apparently decided not to defend. Moments of glory, moments of horror – it balanced out.
· Daniel Steres – stood up Higuain in the box, but appeared a little less surefooted than his compatriot.
· Jonathan dos Santos – fantastic long ball pass into Chicharito in the 5th minute. Stripped in the 20th minute leading to a dangerous Miami attack.
· Jorge Villafaña – victim of a Pizarro acting job on the penalty. Did cause the squeaky bum free kick to end the game.
· Victor Vazquez – involved in what little attack there was, provided some smartness on the pitch with decent balls into the box.
· Cameron Dunbar – shades of Landon Donovan as this kid took off for goal in the 90th minute. Forced the keeper into a save. This star looks bright.
· Adam Saldana – Stripped in the 22nd minute on the center of the pitch, forced Bond into a save moments later.
· Samuel Grandsir – stripped in the 32nd minute when he was too casual on a clearance (and too lazy once stripped), bailed out by Bond. I expected more from this addition, but hey, it’s only one game.
· Carlos Harvey – dangerous strip in the 18.
What do you think? Leave a comment below.