Wednesday, April 13, 2011
GALAXY: Woodwork is not a friend
By Scott French
|The Galaxy will be without Juninho for Sunday's game at Chicago after he picked up a red card Wednesday at Toronto.|
The Galaxy settled for another draw Wednesday night, their third of the season -- and the third time they've shared the points when they deserved all three.
L.A. is making a habit out of not getting everything it can from a game, and the Galaxy can lay some of the blame on the goal frame in their 0-0 tie against Toronto FC on a chilly night at BMO Field.
Chad Barrett and Todd Dunivant, both former TFC regulars, struck the crossbar with shots, and David Beckham sent a free kick into the right post as L.A., struggling to score goals, failed to hit the net for the first time this season.
The Galaxy (2-1-3) fell further behind Western Conference leader Real Salt Lake (4-0-0), which beat second-place Colorado (3-2-0) on a stoppage-time finish by Fabian Espindola -- after Javier Morales hit the right post with a free kick. It's the kind of clean-up L.A. needed.
"We didn't have the answer at the end," Dunivant, whose deflected shot hit the top of the bar in the 61st minute, told GolTV Canada after the final whistle. "We had a lot of good balls in, a lot of good chances. ... It's frustrating, but we kept a clean sheet to give ourselves a chance."
L.A. is 0-0-2 on its three-game trek but heads to Chicago for Sunday's game without Beckham, who picked up a one-game suspension with his league-leading fifth yellow card of the season, and fellow starting central midfielder Juninho, who was expelled with his second yellow card of the night deep in second-half stopppage. Landon Donovan has been in L.A. for both games because of an inflamed right knee, and no decision has been made on whether he'll meet the Galaxy in Chicago.
A quick look at the Galaxy's draw:
BEST PLAYER: That 44th-minute yellow card aside, Beckham was quite good, especially on set pieces. L.A. nearly tallied four times through their auxiliary captain, on the free kick off the post, of course, but also on perfectly weighted crosses that left Mike Magee in the 17th, Omar Gonzalez in the 51st and Barrett in the 81st with open shots. Magee and Barrett's headers were off target, and Gonzalez whiffed trying to get a foot on the ball at the left post.
Beckham's propensity for yellow cards is troubling. He's just one off his MLS high, six, accumulated over 25 games in 2008. The press box wiseacres thought he was looking to get suspended from the Galaxy's game May 1 at FC Dallas so he could attend the royal wedding two days earlier. He'll likely need a red card next week against Portland to make that trip.
Others who impressed included both goalkeepers, especially Toronto's Stefan Frei; Galaxy right back A.J. DeLaGarza, who made big plays in the back all night; Toronto midfielder Jacob Peterson, almost as dangerous as Beckham on dead balls; and winger Mikael Yourassowsky, who brought life to the home side when he came on with 25 minutes to go.
BEST GOAL: There weren't any, of course, but two really fine near-goals were almost enough for the Galaxy. Barrett, looking for his first goal with the Galaxy, for a strike against his former club -- and for a chance to put a dent in his reputation for poor finishing -- ripped a blast off the bottom of the crossbar in the 13th minute. Beckham's bending, dipping free kick in the 70th got around the TFC wall but couldn't sneak inside the right post.
BIGGEST STRUGGLE: The Galaxy certainly created enough scoring opportunities -- seven good ones, the first just 35 seconds in, when Sean Franklin challenged Frei by latching onto a low Magee cross from Barrett's slight touch -- and they're getting off some good shots, but the ball just isn't going in. They've scored no more than one in any game; three have come from Beckham set pieces and the other two from great Juninho finishes.
Juan Pablo Angel has scored just once, at the end of the disaster in Salt Lake, and he wasn't an issue in Toronto. We expect he'll get his goals, but the chemistry he needs with the suppliers around him hasn't yet developed. He seems unsettled, and that might not change until his family gets to Southern California sometime next month.
Barrett's finishing has been poor, but we expected that; he had a pretty good game against TFC, but it would have been much better had he put away both his opportunities.
WORTH NOTING: Former Galaxy forward Alan Gordon missed the game because of a groin strain sustained against San Jose last weekend. Captain Maicon Santos, formerly with Chivas USA, was scratched because of illness. ... TFC has drawn its last three games. ... Beckham's yellow card was on a late challenge against Julian de Guzman. ... L.A. didn't have Jovan Kirovski, who was red-carded following Saturday's D.C. game after confronting referee Abiodun Okulaja over the penalty-kick call that gave United a 1-1 draw, but Chris Birchall, returning from a red-card suspension, stayed on the bench.
NEXT: L.A. plays Sunday at Chicago, 1 p.m. PDT (TV: Galavision live, Fox Sports West on delay at 3 p.m.).
BMO Field (Toronto)
Toronto FC 0, Galaxy 0Donovan Ricketts; A.J. DeLaGarza, Omar Gonzalez, Leonardo, Todd Dunivant; Sean Franklin (Paolo Cardozo, 88), David Beckham, Juninho, Mike Magee (Bryan Jordan, 75); Juan Pablo Angel (Miguel Lopez, 84), Chad Barrett. Unused subs: Chris Birchall, Frankie Hejduk, Josh Saunders, Michael Stephens.
Toronto FC: Stefan Frei; Dan Gargan, Ty Harden, Adrian Cann, Danleigh Borman; Jacob Peterson, Julian de Guzman (Mikael Yourassowsky, 66), Tony Tchani; Javier Martina (Joao Plata, 85), Gianluca Zavarise (Oscar Cordon, 80), Alen Stevanovic.
Yellow cards: Beckham 44, Martina 67, Stevanovic 68, Jordan 76, Juninho 78, 94+. Red card: Juninho 94+.
Referee: Terry Vaughn. Att.: 22,453.