Tutino's take: Rest for the weary
recent or otherwise. And it's so perplexing because prior to the match the boys seemed relaxed, focused and ready to go. When the opening whistle went off none of the above applied to the Galaxy.
Flat, out of rhythm, and lost are fitting terms to describe this match. Colorado controlled the middle of the park from start to finish and the Galaxy had no answers. The club was too slow in their transitions from sideline to sideline. Gone were the combinations through midfield, launching Cobi Jones or Jovan Kirovski up the wings.
"The trio of [Jeff] Cunningham, [Jean Phillipe] Peguero and [Alain] Nkong did very well and caused our defense problems," said head coach Steve Sampson. "I think the vertical movement and their great physical speed made the difference." Turns out Nkong was named "Man of the Match."
The Galaxy found themselves bottlenecked when trying to move the ball down the wings and when they would attempt to move the ball back into middle of the pitch, two and three Rapids' defenders would take away the passing lanes. Does anyone trail the play and show to the ball anymore? Credit to the Rapids for their aggressive play. They simply outhustled the Galaxy.
Seven minutes in, Cunningham first beat Paulo Nagamura and then an overly aggressive Ugo Ihemelu to put the home team on top. That's where any confidence from the Galaxy went out the window. Twenty-three minutes later, Peguero put a move on rookie Troy Roberts that he won't easily forget. Peguero undressed Roberts, juking him to the inside and then sliding the ball into the penalty area and firing a shot past Hartman. 2-0. Game over. Chalk the move up to growing pains for a young defender. I don't think Roberts will find himself in that position again. "I think that we have to look to try and possess the ball a bit more and try a gain some more confidence on the road," said Albright in our pregame interview. What they knew going in, did not materialize on the field.
If this team has members that actually need rest then it's time to rest them. If Landon Donovan needs a blow, give it to him and do it as soon as possible. Tell him to take a day against Chivas USA Wednesday night. If Peter Vagenas needs a game off, give it to him. If Cobi needs to give that Achilles tendon a break, then Mr. Jones, here's a bag of ice. Take the night off. Marshall, make sure that hamstring is good to go before you return. Todd Dunivant, keep that motor running, but you'll need rest too. There is only one goal for a Galaxy team and that is an MLS Cup, plain and simple. This team has the talent, has the experience. It's time for it to be applied whether they play at The Home Depot Center or on the moon.
The goal is winning the Cup -- not hoping to earn a point away from home. Where's the confidence? Where's the swagger?
5 Qs WITH No. 5...You might have missed it, but I did have a chance to talk to Albright for the halftime show on 1540 The Ticket.
1: Favorite position on the field? "Right back."
2: Soccer hero? "Ahhh, my dad."
3: I guess this next question would have the same answer. The most influencial person in your life and career? "My Uncle Larry who coaches at Villanova." A lot of guidance? "Ya, a lot guidance, screamin' and yellin'. A lot of putting me in my place and kinda teaching me the game."
4: According to the folks back at home, are you a California Kid now? "They would say so probably just to give me some stick, but I still consider myself an East Coast guy." Come on, that should be a compliment. Oh, well.
5: I heard you had an interest in real estate. Is the California bubble about to burst or what? "Oh, I don't think there is a bubble in California, but, yea, buy, buy, buy." Sounds good. I'll start saving my pennies.
Thanks to Chris for playing along and to you for reading to this point of the column. Here's to hoping the Galaxy can find their form soon. And soon meaning this month.
Joe Tutino is in his seventh season as the English radio voice of the Los Angeles Galaxy. The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author's, and not necessarily those of the Los Angeles Galaxy or Major League Soccer.