The Galaxy may have hit rock bottom, losing to rival Chivas USA 1-0 on Saturday night in front of a tarped off, Chivas USA "home crowd" at the Home Depot Center.
The struggling Galaxy side came into the match-up against Chivas USA in 7th place in the West, barely in front of rival Chivas USA, and left the game looking confused, bewildered, and unsure of where to go from here.
The first half of the game lacked any cohesion by either side. Galaxy Head Coach Bruce Arena started a lineup sans Robbie Keane and David Beckham. Keane will be joining Ireland for the Euro Championship and Beckham flew to England this week ahead of the game to help carry the Olympic torch. With Beckham out the Galaxy attack has looked lost this year and tonight was no different, with L.A. lacking any aggressiveness in the 1st half. Chivas USA midfielder Miller Bolanos provided a decent strike off the post late after a bad giveaway by Juninho, however there were few highlights.
The second half started fast and furious for the Galaxy sending several shots on frame, but the game was decided in the 70th minute as Galaxy GK Brian Perk collided with newly acquired Chivas USA striker Juan Agudelo on a cross that eventually fell to Jose Correa who struck the ball on goal, resulting in a hand ball and red card for Galaxy defense Junior David Lopes. Correa buried a PK and put Chivas up for good, 1-0.
Beckham and Barrett came on late and the Galaxy mounted a furious attack down a man, but it was too little too late.
The Galaxy seem lost with bad home losses, sloppy play, and constant line-up changes. 2012 may be the classic example of a championship hangover. L.A. will be without Keane for the Euros, most likely Donovan for World Cup Qualifying, and all indications point to Beckham joining England for the Olympics. In a season where the Galaxy were expected to follow up one of the best seasons in MLS history with a CONCACAF Champions League title and another MLS Cup, Bruce Arena will be tasked with finding a way to simply get this team in the playoffs.
MY THREE TAKEAWAYS
1. Juninho has been a major disappointment. His giveaway in the first half should have led to a Chivas USA goal. He is nonexistent on offense. His decline in play is a major set back and something that is hard to explain. Juninho needs to get it together or sit down.
2. A jet lagged Beckham is better than no Beckham. Maybe Arena is trying to prepare the team for the absence of the big three with the line-up tonight, but the problem with that mentality is that this team is falling farther and farther behind in the race for the playoffs. The Galaxy need three points and as of now they are completely lost without Beckham on the field. Maybe some people will have an issue with the fact that he flew to England to participate in the Olympic ceremonies. Either way, he was a force when he was on and should have played more.
2. Bruce Arena commented to the ESPN crew that he expected the game to slow down in the 2nd half, which is sort of mind boggling. It is time for the Galaxy to show urgency and to attack. Ultimately no one can argue with the results that Arena has produced, but coaching will be questioned when a team with this much talent is not producing. Can Arena right the ship? We shall see. It is only May and there is a lot of season yet to be played.