Musings on the Los Angeles Galaxy Match: California Drawing


by Jason Goodbody

St. Louis CITY SC left Carson, CA and its match with the LA Galaxy as it always has and maybe forever destined, with a draw. 

In its inaugural season last year, CITY SC and LA Galaxy tied 1-1 in their first match at CITYPARK and subsequently drew 2-2 at Dignity Health Sports Park the second game. In both matches last season, St Louis took the lead first. This time, The Galaxy drew first blood (I'm not referencing Tomas Totland. We'll get to that later) and the back and forth commenced with the match ending in a 3-3 tie. A good tie despite the good guys having a victory in its sights near the end of the game. Leaving the west coast with a point against a fellow top half of the West team keeps CITY still undefeated and sharing third position in the conference after 4 games. But it was a battle and I'm sure both clubs are contemplating appealing the game to MLS officials asking that both teams take home 3 points.

Löwen out for a few weeks or maybe forever… Carnell says "whatevs"

In the pre-game press conference, Coach Bradley Carnell, in "oh, by the way"- fashion, told the pressroom that CITY midfielder and grand connector Eduard Löwen was going to be out of commission for a few weeks with a "hamstring thing". He corrected himself by saying that they would "…review after two weeks and see where we are".

Journeyman journalist Tom Timmerman represented us all with a "wait, what?" moment saying (also for us all) that this may change things. Carnell shrugged and said "not necessarily". And we all chuckled incredulously upon hearing this.

Listen, I know that this team is built around the philosophy of the collective, and that the total is greater than the sum of its parts. But like any "sum of parts" we are familiar with in our daily lives, some of those parts are more critical than some of the other parts. As an example, "Sarah" who works on that one big project we are all counting on is technically a "part" of the sum. But you and I know that once she goes on maternity leave in April, we are all screwed. And like "Sarah", we hope he takes the necessary time off to recover, but wouldn't be mad if he showed up next week saying he had to get out of the house and his in-laws are in town helping out with his….hamstring.

Parker also out

So once we all recovered from the Löwen news dropped on us a few days prior, many of us then looked at the starting 11 announcement the team put out on the day of the match, then looked at the bench, then realized we had a Tim Parker–sized hole for this game. The reigning second place finisher to MLS defender of the year was left off the roster due to precautionary measures for a back twinge he experienced in practice that week. Fellow center back Josh Yaro was to take his spot and despite being a serviceable replacement, Parker's leadership and red-headed temper encouragement were obviously and painfully missing during this game as we will explore later.

Goalposts doing goalpost things

The goalpost defense was once again strong this game, saving CITY several times during the first half. These repeated deflections on Bürki's end had the assistant referee apparently assuming that these posts delivered similar heroics during Klauss's shot on Galaxy keeper John McCarthy near the start of the second half. Klauss collected the ball off of a perfect feed from Aziel Jackson and sent it with pace off of McCarthy's outstretched hands (not off the post) and into the side netting. The line judge must have blinked and missed the deflection because despite Klauss' objections, the linesman called for a goal kick. I just assumed there was a language barrier as Klauss was waving his arms around in Portuguese as it was obvious to us all that it should have been a corner. Moments later, after a long ball by midfielder Marco Delgado, Markanich got blown past again by Joseph Paintsil and the Galaxy scored, taking the lead 2-1 in the 52'. MLS, #PayTheRefs

Left Back developments

Anthony Markanich has been a serviceable left back, brought on mid-season last year as a long term development project thrust into the starting role as an attacking defender. With the off-season acquisition of Danish left back Nikolas Dyhr, it was just a matter of time where Markanich's starting days would end and it was likely this game showed that those days have emerged.

It wasn't just that Markanich repeatedly got torched by Ghanaian speedster Joseph Paintsil (Paintsil's best attribute is torching left backs) it's that he didn't adjust to avoid getting repeatedly torched by Paintsil. This is not on Marchanic alone. Coach Carnell, and the back-line defensive leadership of Joakim Nilsson and Josh Yaro, and even Roman Bürki, bear some responsibility. Someone needed to look over and say "hey (whatever they call Anthony Markanich in the heat of the moment as his name can be a mouthful), don't do that".

Then Dyhr subbed in and Dyhr is fast—faster than Markanich it seems— but nowhere near as fast as Paintsil who was signed by Galaxy for a reported $9 million transfer fee from Belgian powerhouse club Genk this year for being super fast. But top tier defenders don't always need to outrun speedy wings. Good defenders just need to know where they and their mark is at all times and know how to make great angles on their runs to cut off attacks. And that's what Dyhr did and that's why he should break into the starting lineup moving forward.

The Marketing

As is typical in sports broadcasting, Apple TV commentators Keith Costigan and Mo Edu referred to players by last name throughout the match; "great save by Bürki", "Totland got his head stepped on", "Markanich trailing far behind Paintsil" (x5) , "Klauss almost nearly scores" (we've heard this a half-dozen times this year already), "Cáceres brutally assaults Adeniran on his breakaway in the 99th minute", and so on.

But for some reason known only to the LA Galaxy and Apple TV marketing teams, Riqui Puig, or as my TV closed captioning tells me is Ricky Pooch, or as our Apple TV game commentator Mo Edu tells us is "Rickypooj", gets the full name treatment. With the long-standing tradition of players begging to be known by a single moniker, Puig's image power brokers in Carson, CA have convinced the soccer world to refer to him as Rickypooj somehow. And so Rickypooj it shall be. Say it with me quickly…Rickypooj…Rickypooj. It's kinda fun to be completely honest…Rickypooj.

Scattershot Musings

  • Own goals are the best goals. John McCarthy punches the ball in his own net with a little encouragement from newly subbed-in Kyle Hiebert off of a corner in the 89' to put CITY up 3-2.  Kyle would have liked to have the credit and in our hearts we know that was his.

  • Riqui Puig (Rickypooj) is a cute little button. Also, he has a great head of hair kept near perfect by the fact that he also doesn't seem to sweat during the play of game, which is weird and unnatural.  He is the "shy one" in the LA Galaxy boy band. He's the quiet one when the bad boy and heartthrob members are dominating the interview; the Zayn Malik of the One Direction of MLS soccer teams.

  • Right back Tomas Totland got his head stepped on by Galaxy defender Maya Yoshida off of an LA free kick in the 41'. It looked awful and it wouldn't have surprised me if Totland got up, forgot who he was, and spoke nothing but fluent Spanish. He ended up fine and the red bandage they wrapped him with looked kind of cool. Rub some dirt on it and game on.

  • I just want to point out that Sweden has the second highest rate of bicycle usage in Europe with 21% reporting it as their main source of transport. I don't know if this matters but they say once you learn…… Joakim Nilsson doesn't forget, or something like that. What a shot on goal off of Samuel Adeniran's cross header.

  • For those who were on hand and live for the game, I hope you tried the must-have Michelada, a Bloody Mary made with beer instead of vodka. While an apparent abomination, it is actually so very good.  Make the trip, try it out, don't try it at home (you'll mess it up and hate me for the recommendation) 

See you next time.  #AllForCITY

Check out musings from the Austin FC match. 

Photos courtesy of St Louis City SC