By: Alex Baker
The LA Galaxy’s run of patchy form continued with a 2-0 home loss to Kansas City on Saturday night. An early goal from Davy Arnaud and a second half strike against the run of play from Jimmy Conrad, coupled with the home side’s inability to find the back of the net gave the Wizards a well earned three points. Meanwhile the Galaxy’s once formidable top-of-the-table lead is now in danger of disappearing altogether.
Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena was somewhat circumspect about the loss admitting that on the first goal, “they outworked us,” but calling the second goal “a bit of an accident.” Arena went on to cite two big saves made by Kansas City keeper Jimmy Nielsen as moments when things could have perhaps swung in the Galaxy’s favor. However ultimately the coach admitted that, “They made the plays tonight and we didn’t.”
Indeed the Galaxy failed to penetrate the Wizards’ final third for much of the first half. While every time Kansas City came forward the Galaxy’s backline appeared disorganized and in disarray. LA managed only two really threatening moments in the first half. The first came in the 18th minute when Mike Magee broke down the right flank and fired a ball across the front of goal that no one could quite get hold of. The second came 21 minutes later when Chris Birchall found space from 30 yards out and fired the ball just over Nielsen’s goal.
Kansas City’s first goal came in the 12th minute when Sierra Leonean winger, Kei Kamara crossed the ball in for Davy Arnaud who beat Donovan Rickets and slotted it in at the far post.
Kamara, who wreaked all kinds of havoc on the left wing, dusting the likes of Todd Dunivant and Leonardo with relative ease, was upbeat and confident following his team’s performance. “It’s just about winning games and that’s what we’re trying to do right now,” he said, adding that, “We’re shooting for the playoffs.”
The Galaxy started off the second half looking much better than they had in the first. Edson Buddle, who was closely marked throughout most of the match, found the space to turn and shoot in the 47th minute, eliciting a routine save from Nielsen.
Two minutes later Chris Birchall received a ball from Landon Donovan, broke inside and shot forcing Nielsen into his first dynamic save of the match. It was Chris Birchall’s pulling the trigger again nine minutes later when the keeper was once again forced to take action.
Kansas City punished the home side for missing their chances in the 70th minute when Jimmy Conrad received a ball in from a free kick in a good position and beat Rickets at the far post.
LA looked sloppy and disheartened for the remaining 20 minutes. Even well placed free kicks from Landon Donovan failed to connect with anyone and Kansas City defenders Jimmy Conrad and Roger Espinoza snuffed out most threats from the home side before they fully materialized. After four minutes of stoppage time the final whistle blew with the score line deservedly remaining 2-0 in favor of the Wizards.
Los Angeles Galaxy’s next league outing will be away to the Chicago Fire while the Wizards are away to the Philadelphia Union that same day.