Just how bad LA Galaxy are: Zlatan500 was spectacular, but it mattered now

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TORONTO, ON - SEPTEMBER 15: Zlatan Ibrahimovic (9) of LA Galaxy argues with Michael Bradley (4) of Toronto FC during the second half of the MLS regular season match between Toronto FC and LA Galaxy on September 15, 2018, at BMO Field in Toronto, ON, Canada. (Photograph by Julian Avram/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Editorial (September 17, 2018)This past Saturday at BMO Field, LA Galaxy forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored his 500th goal, what is being dubbed Zlatan500. It was a prototypical finish from the Swedish star, a spinning back kick to direct the ball off the post and into the net past a helpless goalkeeper, Alec Bono.

Just how bad LA Galaxy are: Zlatan500 was spectacular, but it mattered now

Unfortunately for Ibrahimovic and the LA Galaxy, it mattered not. The visitors lost the match 5-3. Ibrahimovic’s goal came when the Galaxy were down 3-0 and they were able to tie the match 3-3. Poor defending and tactical issues led to a three goal deficit to start the game. The same issues led to the Galaxy squandering what could have been a draw or more.

The Galaxy defense continues to be the Achilles Heel of this team. The departure of Sigi Schmidt as head coach to make way for Dominic Kinnear didn’t seem to impact that on Saturday afternoon. Granted, Kinnear has only had a week as the manager, but the Galaxy only have five games left in the season. Excuses ring hollow and time is of the essence at this point.

The back four (at times a back five or back three) this year has consistently been unable to develop chemistry. Tracking runners and working together has been a problem. Individual mistakes and simply getting dominated by an opposing striker have also hurt them.

The central midfield has contributed to the downfall of the club as well. Jonathan dos Santos and Perry Kitchen are one of the most talented pairs assembled in MLS but have individually and collectively under-performed. Neither has been able to be the shield in front of defense to stop the bleeding.

Often, the biggest mistake on a goal conceded has not been anything the back line or the goalkeeper did, but issues with the midfield. From front to back, the Galaxy are too easy to pass through. Midfielders don’t track back and often provide little inhibition for opponents trying to get forward.

All of this was on display on Saturday.

Ibrahimovic has been a global superstar level addition to the Galaxy. He’s singlehandedly won results for the them. He’s scored many fantastic golazos. He can’t do everything though. He did something spectacular on Saturday and it was a milestone. In the end it mattered not. So much so, the Galaxy refused to bring it up.

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