LA Galaxy Beat Colorado Rapids: Three Big Takeaways

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June 17, 2017 - Romain Alessandrini #7 of Los Angeles Galaxy celebrates his goal during the Los Angeles Galaxy's MLS match against Houston Dynamo at the StubHub Center on June 17, 2017 in Carson, California. The match ended in a 2-2 draw. (Getty Images Sport/Shaun Clark)

Editorial (June 24, 2017) – The LA Galaxy got another big road win on Wednesday, beating the Colorado Rapids 3-1. Jack McBean scored a brace, his first two goals of the MLS season.

LA Galaxy Beat Colorado Rapids: Three Big Takeaways

This was a battle between two teams thriving in the atmosphere of this game. The Rapids had won five straight home games, coming from behind in three. The Galaxy just had a four game stretch on the road in which they went 3-0-1. Something had to give, and it was the Rapids. Here’s three big talking points from the match:

Serna And Gatt Led A Dynamic Attack:

The Rapids had the better of the chances in the first half, outshooting their opponets 12-6. Josh Gatt and Dominique Badji had chances in on goal in the first three minutes, but they could not convert.

Even after giving up the first goal, the Rapids had the better of the chances in the half. Dillon Serna and Gatt both made excellent plays on the goal. “Serna had a very good performance. I think him and [Joshua] Gatt were both bright spots in a team that didn’t get forward a lot. Serna has been waiting on an opportunity, working hard and tonight he showed his level on both sides of the ball. Offensively, he brought players into the game, put in a couple good balls, took some good shots, and obviously scored a fantastic goal,” said Rapids Head Coach Pablo Mastroeni.

The two were dynamic on the wings, cutting inside to create chances and shoot. This was Gatt’s best performance of the season. Serna is on a decent run as well now that he’s getting more of an opportunity.

Rapids Defensive Issues And Difference In Energy:

Unfortunately for Colorado, it wasn’t enough on either end of the field. The defense made poor efforts on all three goals. Axel Sjoberg could have cleared the ball and avoided the turnover that led to the goal. Jack McBean did well making the defense uncomfortable throughout the evening. He challenged the center backs in the air and varied his runs to keep them guessing.

“It looked like we weren’t on the front foot defensively and what looked really successful for us in the early stages was threatening their backline. I think we gifted them three goals and it was one of those games that got away from us. We have to regroup here quickly and head out to Atlanta tomorrow,” Mastroeni said.

He add “I don’t think we won enough second balls and really some tired decisions. They kept threatening over our backline and setting up camp right around midfield quite a bit. For us, it has to be energy, it has to be attitude and mentality.”

In the past five home games, the Rapids have thrived in the final 30 minutes of play. In this game, they wilted. The team looked tired and the 70th minute PK took the air out of their game.

Jack McBean And Jose Villarreal Made The Most Of Their Opportunity:

As stated above, McBean had an excellent performance. He also buried his chances, recording his first and second goal of the MLS season. The kid worked his butt off and gave a normally organized defense reasons to be nervious. He had a great finish on his first goal, making a split second decision to shoot on his first touch. While Joao Pedro did most of the work on McBean’s second goal, McBrace did well to get open and beat three opponents to the ball.

McBean had help though. Jose Villarreal started in the No. 10 role in this game and had his best MLS game in years. While he wasn’t credited with an assist on the first goal, he helped create the turnover in McBean’s direction. Villarreal worked both sides of the field well and took most of the set pieces for the Galaxy. His service was decent given the elements.

“It’s special. The other guy that plays that position is a special player. I look up to him so to be able to get that time and to get that number ‘10’ position is great. Anything to help out the team and overall just great team performance,” Villarreal said.

“Like I said, I had a good season last season. I wasn’t on the mainstage but I know what I can do and it’s more of a matter of my mindset and doing it myself rather than other people getting into my head. It’s a process and it feels good to get rewarded,” McBean said. These were performances the kids and Head Coach Curt Onalfo had been hoping for.

One Final Observation:

The Colorado Rapids made three substitutions in the 68th minute. Head Coach Pablo Mastroeni historically has left his subs for late in games and sometimes doesn’t use all three. For the first time in this writer’s time watching professional soccer, a team used all three of their subs at the same time in a competitive match. I’ve only seen that in FIFA and rec league games with unlimited subs. MLS gonna MLS.

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