Decrepit Backline Dooms LA Galaxy in 3-2 Loss To Chicago Fire

Jo-Ryan SalazarSenior Analyst IAugust 2, 2010

CARSON, CA - AUGUST 01:  Collins John #15 of the Chicago Fire vies for position to the ball past Omar Gonzalez #4 of the Los Angeles Galaxy in the first half during their MLS match at The Home Depot Center on August 1, 2010 in Carson, California.  (Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images)
Victor Decolongon/Getty Images

If you thought I had lost my mind when I said that we haven't seen the worst from the backline of Bruce Arena's Los Angeles Galaxy, I suppose you may have to get your head on straight.

With that being said, I have come up with two conclusions: either I am hexing this backline for their inability to deliver in the clutch, or the culprits are hexing themselves for failing to deliver in the clutch.

For the sake of argument, let's go with the latter.

On Sunday, the Galaxy's defense of Sean Franklin, Omar Gonzalez, Gregg Berhalter, and Todd Dunivant set a new low (if not all-time) for themselves by giving up two goals in as many minutes (to Marco Pappa and Collins John) in the first five minutes of play.

I am confident this defense is playing like they want to get walloped by Real Madrid in Pasadena on Sunday. Actually, they probably will anyway. See my preview on that match later this week.

But it seems as if the Fire looked at the game tape from the debacle against Puerto Rico, and saw the weaknesses in the backline. And it shouldn't surprise anyone that Carlos De Los Cobos's club knew which holes to exploit.

Never mind that the shot selection, and passing by the Galaxy  was worth several head scratches on numerous occasions. And has Edson Buddle lost his scoring touch?

The No. 14 had a plethora of opportunities to get on the sheet, but for some reason unbeknownst to this pundit, he's lost his form. It's not a pleasant sight, and I am sure he knows it.

With the transfer window still open, if I am Bruce Arena, I have to look at getting someone who can bolster this back line, and end the dry spell they are putting on themselves.

The away leg to Bayamon is a suicide mission, and the friendly with Real Madrid is all but a foregone conclusion.

The Los Angeles Galaxy's defensive backline need to get their form back, and go back to the fundamentals ad nauseum. Otherwise, by the time the G's find their wheels en route to the postseason, it will be too late.


Youth Academy Update

Oh, the futility! Apparently the first-teamers weren't the only Galaxy side struggling on Sunday.

The Los Angeles Galaxy Under-20 did the rounds at the United Soccer League Super-20 North American Championships, but lacked the capability to finish where it mattered most.

For group play, the Galaxy were placed in Group C for this tournament.

Against the Brooklyn Knights, goals by Eder Arreola, Markus Dickerson and Andre Turoldo combined with a scintillating performance by Dickerson in goal gave the Galaxy a 3-2 victory over the Brooklyn Knights.

On Friday, they pitched a 3-0 shutout against Triangle FC through an Evan Raynr brace to go with an insurance goal from Ruben Valencia.

On Saturday, a goal from Arreola was enough for the Galaxy end group play unbeaten with a 1-1 draw against Cincinnati United Premier. That set up a semifinal date with the hosts Chicago Fire. The Galaxy bounced back with a 2-1 victory over the tournament hosts through goals from Raynr and Mario Alvarez.

The Young G's wrapped up tournament play against Columbus Crew Juniors Gold, the Crew's premier youth development side. A goal from Gyasi Zardes was not enough as goals from the Crew's Ben Speas, and Travis Wall deal the Galaxy a 2-1 defeat.

Well, this team can beat Puerto Rico in their sleep!

Real Madrid arrived in Los Angeles on Friday to prepare for the August 7 encounter with the Galaxy in Pasadena. The team is managed by Jose Mourinho, the same Jose Mourinho that helped lead Inter Milan to the UEFA Champions League crown.

“Mourinho is a winner,” said Cristiano Ronaldo. “His training sessions are spectacular. They have great intensity. We are all very happy to have him.

“We are very excited and working very hard. We have to keep this level of excitement up in order to win titles.”

Real Madrid will play against Club America on August 4 in San Francisco before their August 7 friendly with LA.

Chicken thief number seven: Marco Pappa

This was the spark behind the Fire's hot start. He sliced apart the back line in the fourth minute of play. You know, I'm starting to wonder if the match fitness of this defense is starting show its wear and tear.

Marco Pappa proved that the Puerto Rico loss was no joke. He preached it to the choir of nonbelievers on Victoria Street like a burly ordained minister selling salvation in his hands.

Testify, chicken thief.

A toast...to parity!

It's not very often that the best team in West is not the best team in the West, and the worst team in the West plays well enough in the manner of the best team in the West to topple the best team in the East.

Even more rare, the worst team in the West is Chivas USA, the Galaxy's shared tenants. With their 3-1 victory over the Columbus Crew, Major League Soccer preached another word over the weekend: Parity.

Ladies and gentlemen, a news flash: this MLS Supporters' Shield race is a long ways away from being decided. Case in point: this weekend.


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