Diop Struggles As LA Galaxy Unbeaten Streak Ends Against Sporting KC

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June 17, 2017 - Clement Diop #31 of Los Angeles Galaxy 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/Sportswire Icon/Shaun Clark)

CARSON, CA (June 24, 2017) – It was a tale of two halves at the StubHub Center on Saturday night. Sporting Kansas City defeated the LA Galaxy with two first half goals off mistakes from goalkeeper Clement Diop. The Galaxy mounted a late comeback behind Jose Villarreal and Dave Romney. They came up short and the match ended 1-2. The LA Galaxy unbeaten streak ends at eight games (all competitions).

The visitors started an expected lineup. Manager Peter Vermse had his team in a 4-3-3. Tim Melia was in goal with Matt Besler and Ike Opara at center back. Benny Feilhaber and Roger Espinoza led the midfield. Dom Dwyer started up top with Gerso Fernandez on his right.

After a road game on Wednesday, Galaxy Head Coach Curt Onalfo made some changes and started some of the kids. Clement Diop was in goal. Jelle Van Damme wore the Captain’s Armband at center back with Dave Romney. Jaime Villarreal and Rafael Garcia started in midfield in a 4-2-3-1. Romain Alessandrini was the No. 10 with Jack McBean up top.

First Half Howlers: Diop Struggles As Galaxy Unbeaten Streak Ends Against Sporting KC

Sporting started the match with good energy, attacking quickly in waves. Dwyer and Gerso were very active early on. It was the Galaxy however getting the first good scoring chance. In the 14th minute, Alessandrini brought the ball down in the box with a deft touch, but he could not get good contact on the shot. Melia made the easy save.

Kansas City would keep pushing and get rewarded. In the 23rd minute, Gerso got the ball to Espinoza in the middle of the field. No defender stepped up to pressure him, to Espinoza fired a shot on goal. Diop was well positioned, but he mishandled punching it out and it deflected into the back of the net.

Diop’s struggles continued. Ike Opara doubled the advantage in the 35th minute with a great bicycle kick. Matt Besler sent a hopeful ball into the box. The cross went to No Man’s Land; no defender challenged Opara in getting to the ball and Diop couldn’t punch it out. Opara went up and finished the play off.

The Galaxy had some nervous moments later in the match but the half ended 0-2.

Los Angeles has better energy in the second half. The build up was better and Alessandrini did well to create chances for himself and his teammates. Most of the shots were sent right at Melia and did not trouble the keeper at all.

The match slowed down as the Galaxy attack struggled until the 77th minute. Jose Villarreal won a corner then sent a dangerous cross into the box. It took several deflections before Dave Romney got a head on it and it bounced on the goal line. The play was whistled down as the officiating crew discussed the play. They ultimately ruled that the ball crossed the line and the Galaxy were back in the match, 1-2.

The Galaxy threw numbers forward trying to rescue a draw, but came up short. Sporting nearly sealed the game in stoppage time as Gerso hit the post off a counter attack. The match ended 1-2.

Once again, the Galaxy dug themselves a hole at home, with Diop at the center of the defensive issues. Brian Rowe is clearly a better option once healthy. For now, they’ll have to continue to navigate through a number of injuries and poor home form.

Kansas City are now unbeaten in four straight MLS games. They got a big road win and their defense did well to bend but not break in the late stages.

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